WisDOT holds bimonthly solicitations to ask for consultant interest in its state highway and structure design projects. Firms submit Notice of Interest forms explaining their qualifications for each project in which they have interest. A schedule of these advertisements is available.
Bimonthly solicitations may also include local government projects. WisDOT provides this service to municipalities wishing to find qualified firms for local transportation engineering projects.
Occasionally, a special solicitation will be published to advertise a project not included in a bimonthly advertisement. Consultants on the Roster and/or the web notification list will be made aware of these solicitations via email.
Construction projects and full-service construction master contracts are advertised annually in the fall.
WisDOT also holds Design Opportunity Day each spring for Roster firms to present their qualifications to Department staff. The application for Design Opportunity Day is included with the January solicitation. In even-numbered years, WisDOT uses these presentations as the interviews for full-service design engineering master contracts.
Construction and design engineering
Firms looking for prime contracts in construction and design engineering must first register with the Department. The registration process culminates in a firm's inclusion on the Roster of Eligible Engineering Consultants. There is a biennial renewal process for all firms on the Roster, but new firms may register at any time.
Firms looking for opportunities to perform specialized non-engineering services such as survey, landscape architecture, historical and environmental investigations are not required to register with the Department. However, these firms may need to complete a Consultant financial report to establish an indirect cost rate.
WisDOT usually advertises master contracts for those services, rather than soliciting for interest on individual projects. Master contracts are used on an as-needed basis by WisDOT for a given period of time.
Occasionally, specialty service contracts for a project-specific roadway or structure are included in the bimonthly design and related services solicitation.
Disadvantaged business enterprises
Information about registering as a Disadvantaged business enterprise is maintained by the Office of Business Outreach and Equity Compliance.
Firms looking for subconsultant opportunities are not required to apply for the Roster of Eligible Engineering Consultants.
WisDOT does not make prime-sub connections, as prime vendors awarded the contract directly hire subconsultants for specialized services (although WisDOT approves the use of any subconsultant). To see the prime firms receiving contracts for design and related services, check the recent selections.
The Roster of Eligible Engineering Consultants includes addresses and other information about all firms registered for prime work for WisDOT. This may be helpful information to make firms typically receiving prime work aware of your qualifications and expertise.
Getting your chance
WisDOT receives 10-25 applications for most of its advertisements, meaning the competition for prime contract work is very tough.
Consultant contract selections are made using a Qualification-Based Selection process, per the federal Brooks Act. But because there are often 10 or more well-qualified firms applying for projects, even companies providing quality work to WisDOT in the past cannot be awarded every contract in which they express interest.
WisDOT attempts to balance contract awards whenever possible among established firms of all sizes, as well as new firms. The Department is also proactive in working with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises on federally-funded contracts.
Firms looking to break into the Wisconsin market may need to focus on smaller projects at first, or build relationships with firms already working with WisDOT through teaming or subconsultant opportunities.
Any firm looking to work with WisDOT should be well-versed on the Department's 'Doing Business' and consultant extranet sites, which include important contracting tools, policies and manuals.
For updates on changes in information published on WisDOT site, including announcements on policy changes and new solicitations, sign up for the Web email distribution list.
Although WisDOT uses communication tools like the Internet and email to make consultants aware of upcoming opportunities, it is your firm's responsibility to be cognizant of Internet solicitations and up-to-date on Department policies and procedures. This awareness will make it easier for your firm to show WisDOT the quality work you can provide.