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News Designer Selection Law: Thresholds Change

On June 15, 2018, the designer selection law, M.G.L. c. 7C, §§ 44-58, was amended to raise thresholds and clarify the law's application to municipalities and other local public agencies.
  • Office of the Inspector General

On June 15, 2018, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 113 of the Acts of 2018, An Act Providing for Capital Facility Repairs and Improvements for the Commonwealth. In addition to authorizing funding for many state and local capital projects, the bill amended the designer selection law. See M.G.L. c. 7C, §§ 44-58.

Specifically, Sections 8 through 13 of Chapter 113 raise the threshold amounts in the designer selection law. Jurisdictions (with certain exceptions) must follow the amended designer selection law in awarding any contract for design services for any building construction, reconstruction, alteration, remodeling or repair project with both an estimated design fee of $30,000 or more and an estimated construction cost of $300,000 or more (formerly, $10,000 and $100,000 respectively). This alters when jurisdictions must use an advertised, competitive, qualifications-based selection process to choose a designer for a public building project. The threshold increases became effective June 15, 2018.

Note that when either the estimated design fee is less than $30,000 or the estimated construction cost is less than $300,000, jurisdictions are not subject to the designer selection law. When the designer selection law does not apply, however, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recommends soliciting qualifications and price information from at least three design firms when design services are needed for public building projects.

The OIG is in the process of updating its publications and other materials to reflect these changes.

Office of the Inspector General 

The Office of the Inspector General is an independent agency that promotes good government by preventing and detecting the misuse of public funds and public property. The Office conducts confidential investigations, improves transparency in government, helps government run more effectively and educates government employees and the public.