A Request for Proposal is a public announcement that government agencies issue. The RFP invites businesses, like skatepark designers and builders, to come up with a solution for a particular problem. In this case, a community may issue an RFP for “a skatepark.” The RFP will be published to the city’s website, but other companies will republish them at aggregator websites. Skatepark companies are constantly scouring the internet for new RFPs.
It’s perfectly legal (and encouraged) for advocates to contact their favorite skatepark designer to encourage them to review the public RFP. However, it is unethical for anyone involved with the project to reveal proprietary information about the project to a potential candidate. For example, it would not be ethical for the local advocate to share with one vendor the bid of a competing vendor because it would allow one to strategically underbid the other. Everything the designer needs to know about the project should be included in the published RFP.
The RFP will ask candidates to submit a proposal. The proposal must answer specific questions and include particular documents. After the RFP deadline, the selection committee reviews all of the submitted proposals and scores them according to their answers. It does not cost money to submit a proposal, and anyone may submit one, but if they are not qualified to design skateparks, they are not likely to win the project. (Most companies understand this and will only compete for jobs that they have a chance of winning.)
RFPs are used by government agencies when the project requires a particular kind of skill that cannot be easily measured. These projects, like public parks, have artistic qualities that are hard to quantify. If they weren’t important, a Parks Department could simply hire those companies offering the lowest price, but then the resulting parks would not serve the community’s needs.
For example, an RFP may ask the submitting organization for the following:
- Cover letter
- Price estimate for design
- Time-frame for design
- Price estimate for construction
- Time-frame for construction
- Project team
- Contractor capabilities
- Project understanding
- Supporting information
Note: A schematic design is not required but some companies will include one hoping that it will increase their chances to win the project. When you review the proposals, don’t let the “free” design influence your decision.
Each item is assessed and scored by the review committee. Some of the items are more important than others, so those items have the possibility of receiving more points. For example, the cover letter is not critical, so it can only receive a maximum of a few points. The contractor’s capabilities, on the other hand, are VERY important so this will receive a lot of points.
The assessment is a bit subjective. It is important to have at least one member of the core group or skatepark advisory committee on the review board. Someone with no experience in skateboarding or skateparks will not have the wisdom or insight to understand the applicant’s approach.
When the scores are tallied, the winning proposal should be clear.
Sample Request for Proposal
City or Organization Name
NOTICE TO CONSULTANTS – REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
FOR DESIGN SERVICES OF A SKATEPARK
City or Organization Name
Date of publication
City or Organization Name
Request for Proposals
For Design Services of a Skatepark
The City of Smallville is requesting proposals from qualified professional engineering firms for Design Services (herein after referred to as “Project”) for the Skatepark Project. The intent of the Project is for the Firm to provide complete design services (including community outreach, conceptual design, final plans and specifications, engineering cost estimate, construction surveying, contract documents, and environmental documents) for the installation of a skatepark at (location by intersection or street address), to the City of Smallville standards.
(Insert city description with an emphasis on project background as it pertains to the design) The City of Smallville is a rural community, established in 1925, located in the farm belt of Capital County. Smallville is home to approximately 30,000 people and is considered the rodeo capital of the world. The City of Smallville is seeking proposals to work with the City and the community to determine the amenities and look of a new community skatepark.
The proposed Project must meet the safety and standards for the latest skatepark design principles for skateboarders, scooters, and BMX riders to develop their skills. The design shall be naturally integrated with the surrounding environment and feature a mix of street and transitional-style terrain, with elements designed for all age groups and ability levels. The design of the Project should draw and engage local users to the skatepark and will challenge both beginners and experienced users.
SCOPE OF WORK
The scope of work outlines the tasks required to complete the Project in its entirety to meet the goals of:
- A concept that is focused on skateboarding, but allows the potential impact of a mixed-use public skatepark, a sense of community, a quality street-skating environment, an engaging and aesthetically pleasing design, environmentally sustainable design, and a cohesive sense of place.
- Providing preliminary engineering design
- Providing community outreach
- Identifying features to mimic natural street-skating and skatepark environments (including ledges, pads, banks, rails, stair-sets, and other natural transitions) as guided by the City and the community.
- Providing complete plans, specifications and engineering, engineering surveying and design services for the construction of a skatepark for the Project, including community outreach, preliminary design, environmental documentation, engineering cost estimates, final design, plans and specifications, complete contract documents for bidding and other work as necessary to provide a complete Project.
- Providing potential phasing of the project based on available funding for the Project
- Providing bidding oversight
- Providing engineering services during construction
LOCATION OF PROJECT
The location of the Project is the X-corner of Pioneer Road and Main Street. The site is approximately 0.5 acres that is relatively flat.