Section 17. The awarding authority shall utilize a 2 phase selection process as provided in this section, and sections 18 and 19, for the selection of a design build entity with whom to enter into a design build contract for the delivery of a public works project.
(a) Phase 1 of the 2 phase selection process shall begin once the awarding authority gives public notice of the public works project and solicits letters of interest from design build entities; but, the public notice and solicitation shall include:
(1) the time and date for receipt of letters of interest, the address of the office to which the responses are to be delivered, and the timeframe in which the awarding authority will respond to the letters of interest;
(2) a general description of the project, including the estimated construction cost of the work, the time period within which the projected construction work is to be completed, and the evaluation criteria that will be utilized pursuant to subsection (e); and
(3) a statement indicating that a request for qualifications, or RFQ, will be utilized to identify qualified design build entities to submit a proposal pursuant to section 19.
(b) The public notice and solicitation required in subsection (a) shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the area in which the project is located or to be located and in the central register established under section 20A of chapter 9. Said public notice and solicitation shall be given not less than 2 weeks before the deadline for submitting said letters of interest.
(c) Upon receipt of letters of interest from design build entities, the awarding authority shall provide to each such design build entity an RFQ. The RFQ shall serve as the basis by which an awarding authority creates a shortlist of design build entities to receive an RFP in phase 2 of the 2 phase selection process. The RFQ shall also contain the date certain by which responses to said RFQ are due. Said RFQ shall require the following information from each major participant upon which the responses shall be reviewed and evaluated:
(1) work experience on projects similar in size and scope, any terminations from work or failure to complete work, any lawsuits filed against any of the major participants, any prior business record of the officers or principals of the major participants, and the safety record of major participants; said information shall be provided for the past 3 years;
(2) references, including references from previous clients, bank references, surety references, and a complete record of public project record for the 3 years before submission of the request for qualifications;
(3) bonding capacity, which shall be evidenced by a commitment letter from an approved surety;
(4) interested design build entities shall respond to the awarding authority by submitting all information required by, and not later than the date indicated in, the RFQ to the awarding authority.
(d) The awarding authority shall designate the individuals responsible for the evaluation of the responses on the basis of the evaluation criteria set forth in the request for qualifications. The designated individuals shall have experience in design build. The individuals shall prepare their evaluations based solely on the information requested pursuant to the RFQ. Such information shall serve as the criteria by which the qualifications are evaluated. The information shall include all other performance measures that will be utilized, provided that said other performance measurers were made known to perspective responders at the time the request for qualifications was made available to said responders. The evaluations shall specify in writing:
(1) for each evaluation criterion, a rating of each response as advantageous, not advantageous, or unacceptable, and the reasons for the rating; and
(2) a composite rating for each proposal using said ratings as advantageous, not advantageous, or unacceptable, and the reasons for said composite rating.
(e) The awarding authority shall investigate and verify all information received. All financial information, trade secrets or other information customarily regarded as confidential business information shall not be deemed to be public information and shall remain confidential to the extent permissible under current law.
(f) Design build entities achieving a composite rating of highly advantageous or advantageous shall be eligible to receive an RFP in phase 2 of the 2 phase selection process. The awarding authority may select any number of design build entities to receive an RFP, except that, if the awarding authority fails to identify at least 2 design build entities to receive an RFP, the awarding authority shall re-advertise the public works project and renew the RFQ process.