President’s Message: June 2023

From ACEC Florida President Scott Martin, PE, LEED AP, DBIA

To the ACEC Florida Community,

Last month I highlighted the passage of SB 7026 during Florida’s 2023 legislative session. This bill included provisions that exempt Florida’s colleges and universities from needing to comply with Florida’s Consultant’s Competitive Negotiation Act (CCNA), codified as Florida Statute 287.055. Nationally this approach to project procurement is known as Qualifications Based Selection (QBS), and it requires public agencies to procure professional design services, including engineering and architecture, based on qualifications and not the lowest fees. In Tallahassee’s current climate of de-regulation, many viewed this as a precursor to rolling back QBS statewide for all engineering projects. In SB 7026, the Florida Board of Governors – which oversees the State University System – is given until October 1, 2023, to develop new rules by which they plan to hire design firms for new projects on campus.

Shortly after the end of Session, the Board of Governors held a listening session to gain feedback on the passage of this bill. Included in this meeting were members from many of Florida’s college and university project planning departments, builders, and designers that have helped develop Florida’s higher education campuses and infrastructure for decades. ACEC Florida’s Executive Director Allen Douglas and I attended in person, as did several leaders from AIA of Florida. ACEC Florida and AIA both conveyed the importance and benefits of maintaining QBS, touted the importance of the relationships many of our members have within Florida’s university and college planning departments, and pledged to work with the Board of Governors to craft common-sense rules for project procurement that will best serve the needs of all stakeholders.

ACEC Florida and AIA are committed to remaining aligned on preserving QBS. In the coming months, we will continue looking for opportunities to work with the Board of Governors to devise these new procurement rules. We aim to address the concerns and challenges faced by the university planners that led to the passage of SB 7026.

Last month leaders from ACEC Florida also met with Resiliency Florida to look for ways our organizations can collaborate on common goals. As outlined on their website, Resiliency Florida is “a non-profit organization made up of public and private partners dedicated to promoting the development of state and regional strategies and policy to adapt to extreme weather and sea level rise, and to advocate for increased investment by the state and federal government in critical infrastructure and habitat throughout Florida to mitigate impacts and develop adaptation responses.” Several ACEC Florida committees, including our Energy and Environmental & Water Resources committees, have common resiliency goals in the work we focus on. Committee members should be on the lookout for brainstorming sessions with Resiliency Florida members in upcoming committee meetings.

Finally, looking to the summer months ahead, I am very excited to join many of you at the FES|ACEC Florida Annual Conference held July 26-29th at the JW Marriott Marco Island. I attend several conferences each year focused on different facets of engineering and construction, but the FES|ACEC Florida conference truly brings together engineers from all disciplines and all corners of our state to gather, learn from each other, and discuss the issues impacting our industry. If you have yet to make your plans to join us, I strongly encourage you to do so soon. I hope to see you in Marco Island!

Yours truly,

Scott D. Martin, P.E., LEED AP, DBIA / Principal
Project Director

Design-Build Market Leader
Walter P Moore
201 East Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 700
Tampa, Florida 33602-5823
813.275.8112 p / 727.642.6212 c /

Published On: June 15th, 2023

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