024 The Designer Shortlist: Bond Project Post #3

post24Happy New Year everyone! I’m starting the year 2017 off describing the process that we used for shortlisting designers for the bond project. On all projects we typically receive 10 – 20 submittal packages from interested designers. Since we cannot interview all the teams that submit, we will shortlist up to six teams. Below I will describe the shortlisting process that we went through to determine which designers to interview on the bond project.


The submittals are delivered to our office and time-stamped by our administrative assistant, Mark. The time stamp ensures that we only accepted submittals that are submitted by the due date. The next day, we distribute the submittals to the selection committee and upload the electronic copies to a secure website. As discussed in a previous post , our selection committee is made up of key stakeholders throughout the University system.

Submittal Review

Prior to the shortlist meeting, each committee member does their homework and reads every submittal package. Some members make spreadsheets to rate the submittals, others write notes in the margins, and all of them bring (conscious or not) a repository of past experiences with design team members.

The Shortlist Meeting

At the shortlisting meeting, I write the name of each design team on the board. We discuss good and bad points of the teams based on the information in their packages. The goal of the section committee is to identify design teams, not only technically qualified, but also, teams with a good fit for the project and that have the experience navigating the requirements of NC State Construction Office (SCO). Some teams are marked off the list pretty quickly. Once we have narrowed the list to six or seven, we consider the relative strength of each team. As with every shortlist meeting, someone mentions the time and money ($10K – $15K) it will cost the design team to interview (more on this in the next post). After a bit of back and forth, we shorten the list and come to a consensus on which teams to interview.

Submittal Suggestions

If you submit for projects at the university, consider some of the suggestions below when you are putting together your submittal:

  • Each submittal must contain a minimum criteria as listed on the SCO website and also in the project brief.  Be sure the feature projects that you submit are relevant to the project in program, scope, and cost. I would prioritize projects that demonstrate that you’ve worked on a similar program, then similar cost/scope, and then university (SCO) work.
  • At the pre-proposal meeting, the project manager will present project specific criteria. Include information about how your team has experience with this type of criteria. For example, the bond project includes the demolition of an eleven story building in a tight space, so we looked for teams that had that type of experience. This does not need to be a feature project but should be included in the resumes and body of the submittal.
  • Be Concise. The selection committee will have 10 – 20 submittal packages to read. As the committee reviews your submittal they will consider that this is how you will convey information during the project design meetings.
  • Tell us how you chose your team.
  • Note with bold font or a table off to the side why the feature projects are relevant to the project.
  • Same with experience of each team member- note the relevance of past experience to the project- we can interpret or you can tell us.

I hope the information above offered some insight on the shortlisting process. Let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comment section or send me an email.   Since we can shortlist between 3 to 6 teams, do you think we should shortlist more or less?  The next post will review the designer interview process.


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