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Consulting Engineers and Architects pen letter to Quebec government promoting quality based assessments for public contracts

"We need to put aside formulas that favour the lowest bidder to ensure the quality and sustainability of our infrastructure for current and future generations," AFG president and CEO, André Rainville.


One year after the withdrawal of a proposed amendment in the Quebec legislature that would have allowed Québec’s two largest public contractors to award professional service contracts on the basis of the lowest bidder, the Association of Architects in Private Practice of Québec (AAPPQ) and the Association of Engineering Consulting Firms – Québec (AFG) have penned an open letter to the  provincial government to take a stand for quality and sustainability.

“Over the past week, we have received the support of more than 20 experts and organizations who share our concerns related to this file’s deadlines and who wish to highlight the importance of selecting architects and engineers based on quality, not just the lowest price,” says Lyne Parent, AAPPQ’s executive director in a media release.

“We need to put aside formulas that favour the lowest bidder to ensure the quality and sustainability of our infrastructure for current and future generations,” added AFG president and CEO André Rainville.

In August 2018, a working subcommittee was mandated by Quebec’s Treasury Board to discuss the best methods of awarding public contracts in architecture and engineering. However, no meetings have been held since last December.

The government’s most recent gesture was the selection, in the Spring, of an accounting firm to assess the “perception” of some industry players on the methods of awarding contracts presented in last year’s proposed amendment despite a study already conducted and unveiled by the two associations on April 11, 2019.

This study, conducted by researcher and economist Martin St-Denis, from consulting firm MCE Conseils, aimed to understand whether the various quality-price models considered by the Treasury Board allow for the selection of a professional on the basis of quality or simply favour the lowest bidder. The findings of the study reveal that the formulas in the 2018 proposed amendment place so much emphasis on the price criterion that they all favour the lowest bidder.

In an open letter addressed to the government of Quebec, a group of some 26 signatories are calling on the legislators to take a position in favour of quality for the selection of architecture and engineering professionals in public contracts, and in this way optimize the design and lifespan of projects in a perspective of sustainable development.