State Requirements for Designer Evaluations
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 7C Section 48(h) requires the Awarding Authority for publicly funded projects in Massachusetts to submit designer evaluations to the Division of Asset Management and Maintenance ("DCAMM") and the Massachusetts Designer Selection Board ("DSB") at the completion of three specific phases of each project.
For MSBA funded projects, the Awarding Authority having work under a design contract is the municipality ("district"), who is therefore responsible for submitting these designer evaluations to DCAMM and DSB. The project's Owner's Project Manager ("OPM") must be familiar with this process and be prepared to assist the district as needed, and be able to confirm to the MSBA that these designer evaluations are submitted to DCAMM and DSB complete and in a timely manner, in accordance with the OPM’s project schedule as required. The district and OPM will provide notification to the MSBA that these designer evaluations have been submitted as required, using the MSBA “Designer Evaluation Notification Form”, at the completion of each of these three project phases.
Since 2020, DCAMM has used the "Autocene" software system, which is administered by the DSB, for these designer evaluations. School districts and municipalities must use this system to enter statutorily required evaluations and to review designer evaluations. Design firms and sub-consultants can register to become part of this statewide designer database, search for MBE/WBE consultants, review prime-consultant and sub-consultant evaluations, and check their firm's public record for accuracy. Awarding Authorities (or their OPM) and design firms must be enrolled in the Autocene system prior to submitting, receiving, or reviewing this information.
Designer evaluation submissions are required at three phases of each project:
- "Study" (at completion of schematic design)
- "Design" (at completion of 100% construction documents)
- "Construction" (final GC/CM payment)
When the District or OPM registers the project information into Autocene and submits an evaluation, the project designer will automatically receive a copy of this evaluation by email from the Autocene system and will have thirty days to add any supplemental response comments, if the designer chooses to do so.
DSB has two links on their website that describe this process:
- To submit evaluations - https://dsb.formverse5.com/FORMVERSESERVER-DSB/WebApp/Login.aspx
- To add a new user account or download instructions - https://www.mass.gov/doc/designer-selection-board-application-access-add-new-user/download
The requirement to submit this form to the MSBA is effective for all MSBA projects submitting for final audit after July 1, 2023. The completed Designer Evaluation Notification Form is a prerequisite to closing a project with the MSBA and commencing the final audit approval process. In the absence of any designer evaluations to DCAMM and DSB or the Designer Evaluation Notification Form, a project cannot be closed, and the district will not receive final payment from the MSBA.
If you have any questions about designer evaluations or the Autocene system, contact the DSB office at: Designer Selection Board | Mass.gov