Member Login Menu

Policy Statement 439 - Design Competition


Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on March 15, 2018
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 6, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) endorses selection of engineering firms/teams for projects based on design competition as one method of qualifications-based selection (QBS), provided that each competing engineering firm/team is equally compensated for reasonable competition costs as outlined in the request for proposals; the makeup of the selection panel includes licensed engineers or practitioners who are competent in the technical aspects of the project and do not have a vested interest in any of the competing engineering firms/teams; and selection is based on design quality, not design fee or political influence. 


Design competitions can provide innovative solutions that may result in significant savings for the owner. The risk of this procedure is that the engineering firm/team involved may not be properly compensated for their contributions, licensed engineers may not be available on the selection committee to evaluate the soundness of proposed solutions, and the owner is at liberty to use ideas from all firms to achieve the best overall solution.  Each engineering firm/team provides value to the owner and should be compensated for services rendered.  


Design competitions can be a useful process in achieving the solution to a project.  New ideas are generated and a variety of solutions to problems are presented by leading engineering firms/teams in their fields, if the design competition is structured to compensate for their participation. 

The design competition selection process will be most successful if some on the selection panel have the technical background and experience necessary to evaluate the designs presented, so that sound technical solutions are identified and incorporated. Compensation to prepare a response should be determined prior to the competition. Each engineering firm/team should be compensated an equal amount.  

This policy has worldwide application
ASCE Policy Statement 439 
First Approved in 1995