Florida’s Consultants’ Competitive Negotiation Act
When public entities hire professionals who provide engineering, architecture, surveying, mapping, and landscape architecture, a Florida law known as the Consultants’ Competitive Negotiation Act (CCNA) may come into play.
Florida’s CCNA is based on a federal law known as the Brooks Act, which also provides for a specific qualification based selection process that is used for contracts with architects, engineers, surveyors, and mappers, and other related services.
Florida’s law mandates that a public state agency use a selection process that is qualifications-based when hiring these professionals to perform work in their specialties. An agency, for purposes of this law, includes the state of Florida, a state agency, a municipality, a political subdivision, a school district, or a school board. According to the Florida House of Representatives Staff Analysis of this law, the qualifications-based selection process is designed to promote selection of professionals based upon their competency, qualifications, and experience.
The CCNA provides specific procedures that an agency must follow in publicly announcing projects and evaluating the qualifications of firms or individuals desiring to provide professional services, as well as the process that must be followed for competitive selection of the firm or individual service providers.
These procedures include, among others, the requirement of a public announcement of a project by the agency, which must include a general description of the project and how applicants can apply for a project, and certification and evaluation by the agency that a firm is qualified by law and capable of providing the professional service sought. The agency is required to select its top three choices for the project, and then work to negotiate a contract, first with the firm or individual it considers most qualified, and moving on to the other firms, if negotiations with the first firm are not successful.
Continuing Contracts Under Florida’s Consultants’ Competitive Negotiation Act
Continuing contracts, by which a firm or individual provides professional services for more than one project, may fall within the scope of the CCNA. Until July 1, 2020, certain maximum costs or fees applied to “continuing contracts” under the CCNA – the estimated construction cost of each individual project under the contract could not exceed $2 million, or, for study activity, the fee for professional services for each individual study under the contract could not exceed $200,000.
Florida’s CCNA provides that firms or individuals providing professional services under continuing contracts shall not be required to bid against one another.
Recent Changes to the Definition of Continuing Contracts Under Florida’s Consultants’ Competitive Negotiation Act
Effective July 1, 2020, the Florida legislature increased the maximum dollar amounts for projects and studies to be considered continuing contracts under the CCNA. The maximum dollar amount for each individual project under the contract increased from $2 million to $4 million. The maximum dollar amount for each individual study under the contract is increased from $200,000 to $500,000.
If you would like to know more about Florida’s CCNA, or the recent changes to it, contact a Fort Lauderdale construction lawyer at Sweeney Law.