Building a consultant contract

Boilerplate | Signature page | Special provisions | Supporting documents | Submittal and approval

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) hires consultants for various engineering and related services. Once the Department determines the need for consultant staff and selects a qualified firm, the parties negotiate the scope and cost of the work. The consultants then submit the required contract documents for approval.

After contracts have been submitted they are managed through the Contract Administration and Reporting System (CARS.) 

This page documents the process for assembling a WisDOT consultant contract, work order or amendment. Work orders are essentially contracts using funds previously authorized through a master contract.

Always refer to this site before building a contract for the latest version of all documents.

For more information on building a consultant contract, or any other facet of the consultant contracting process, see Chapter 8 of the WisDOT Facilities Development Manual or contact the WisDOT Contract Administration Unit (WisDOT CAU).

Check each contract or work order thoroughly before submitting to ensure the necessary sections are included. Also check contract amounts, project IDs, and other information match between the different parts of the contract. Incorrect or incomplete information will delay the approval of the contract.

Standard pr​ovisions/Boilerplate

Before negotiations between WisDOT and the selected firm begin, the Department must choose the appropriate standard provisions or boilerplate for the contract. This step is not necessary when working on amendments or work orders.

Boilerplates are not to be altered, and the newest version must always be used. Boilerplate language not pertaining for a particular contract or additional necessary language are deleted/added through special provisions.

  • Do not submit master contract boilerplates with work orders.
  • Do not submit original contract boilerplates with amendments.
  • All other contracts should be submitted with the correct boilerplate.

Cover/signa​​ture page

The cover/signature page is always the first document in the consultant contract, work order or amendment submittal.

  • The following information should be included in the cover/signature page:
    • The legal name of the firm working with WisDOT, not the trade name.
    • At least a paragraph description of the work to be performed by the consultant.
    • The Department and Consultant contract representatives must be listed.
    • On amendments, state clearly the detailed changes in the contract in the cover/signature page. Simple explanations such as "additional work needed" are not acceptable.
  • The "All Services" section of the cover/signature page:
    • Should not conflict with the "Basis of Payment" special provision (noted below).
    • Only include information that applies to the current contract. For example, if the contract is lump sum, eliminate the actual cost, specific rate, etc. lines.
  • The DBE section of the cover/signature page should not be deleted, even if there is no goal or federal funds on this contract. Fill in the current dollar threshold and goal percentage where appropriate.
  • All of the "________" lines should be filled in on this document when submitted.
  • The Consultant will sign the cover/signature page first, then the Department designee (WisDOT Contract Manager for contracts over $3,000 and work orders/amendments over $50,000; Region/Bureau Director/designee on all other).

Special contr​​act provisions

Special provisions change the standard provisions/boilerplate to accommodate specific contract needs.  The special provisions supersede the standard provisions.

  • Submit any special contract provisions negotiated by WisDOT and the consultant that detail the contract's scope of services and supersede non-applicable standard boilerplate language.
  • Any provisions in the boilerplate that do not pertain to this agreement must be eliminated by special provision.
  • Typical special provisions for certain types of contracts are available.
  • All contracts and full-service work orders must include the latest PC special provisions.
  • The completion date of the contract should be included in the "Prosecution and Progress" section of the special provisions.
  • Special provisions in contracts and work orders should correctly reference
    • the date of current boilerplate version, and
    • the boilerplate language (Ex: Part II-B-2, "Design Study Report") being changed, replaced or deleted.
  • The "Basis of Payment" special provision should clearly state
    • estimated amounts and the basis of payment (actual cost, lump sum, etc.) for the prime vendor and all subconsultants,
    • basis for prime vendor payments to subconsultants (for example, WisDOT may pay Prime Firm X $10,000 actual cost which Prime X pays in lump sum to Sub Firm Y),
    • amounts for primes and subs for each project ID, contract phase or "if authorized by written notice to proceed" provision, as well as in total.
  • If an overhead rate is voluntarily reduced by a firm to comply with the construction contract net multiplier, language stating this fact must be included in the special provisions.
  • On amendments, the increase or decrease in work and total cost for the prime and each subs must be clearly stated in the Basis of Payment. Use language such as "no change" or "revised" on each applicable section.

Contract s​upporting documents

  • Complete all required supporting documents.
  • The Contract/Work Order and Amendment Submittal Letters, required to be submitted with every contract, include a list of these documents.
  • The information on the Contract Submittal Letter should match the information on the contract.
  • Although consultant fee computations can take many forms, all of the information on the example forms must be accounted for. Wage escalations, overhead costs, G&A costs, and profit/fixed fee should be easily seen without additional calculations by WisDOT staff.
  • Master contracts only require submittal of Contract/Work Order Submittal Letter and DT25 Form.
  • Note that separate fee computations are necessary for each project ID, contract phase or "if authorized by written notice to proceed" provision, as well as in total.
  • Include any other pertinent contract scope or cost information documents as requested by WisDOT staff during or after negotiations.
  • All contracts with WisDOT must accurately reflect firms' cost accounting practices. 
  • Expenses typically included a firm's overhead costs can not be charged as direct expenses on WisDOT projects.
  • WisDOT does not allow profit on subconsultants or direct expenses. "Subcontract administration" fees are not allowed unless the firm uses a "General and Administration" rate in its cost structure.
  • All expenses should be listed in detail, not grouped as "other" or "miscellaneous".
  • The firm's most recently audited rate (or the latest rate approved on a Consultant Financial Report) is the maximum rate to be used on a contract.
  • Amendment supporting documents must detail the change in costs, not just recalculate total contract costs.
  • Subconsultants should not be listed as direct expenses for the project.
  • A copy of each subconsultant's original proposal to the prime vendor should be included with the contract.
  • All supporting documents must be readable and legible. Forms may be spread over two or three pages (especially those detailing hours/dollars by engineering tasks) if necessary.

Submitta​l and approval

Subm​it Form DT25

Submit copies of contract

  • Send all copies of the cover/signature page, special provisions and required supporting documents to the appropriate region/bureau.
  • All submittals except amendments and work orders must include a copy of the boilerplate.
  • Determine the number of copies of the signed cover/signature page, special provisions and other supplemental documents. The number of copies needed depends on the type of the contract, work order or amendment.

Review and approval

  • The WisDOT project manager reviews and approves the information on the contract, work order or amendment before it is submitted it to WisDOT CAU.
  • Contracts estimated at less than $3,000, work orders less than $50,000 and amendments less than $50,000 are signed by WisDOT staff in the regions.
  • The WisDOT Contract Manager executes all other contracts, work orders and amendments on behalf of the Department. The WisDOT CAU notifies the region/bureau when the contract is approved.
  • The region/bureau then authorizes the firm to begin work.