Getting The Field of Your Dreams

By Jon Fitch

Writing request correctly crucial to receiving accurate proposals

Writing request correctly crucial to receiving accurate proposals


You’ve done your planning, discussed the options, and your school district has concluded that you need a new athletic field. Now it’s time to send out requests for proposals for master planning and construction drawings.

How do you word your request so that every consultant knows exactly what you want, and the proposals are in line with the scope you envisioned for the project? Knowing how to write a clear and detailed request eliminates the guessing game of what your school is looking for – and the resulting wide range of proposals.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is your opportunity to tell firms what you expect to see in their proposals. Too often a weak RFP will generate proposals that are way over the scope you were looking for, and therefore will have an inflated estimated cost. Another concern of a weak proposal is that it allows for firms with little to no experience to submit without the proper qualifications. To ensure you’re able to make a true “apples to apples” comparison, you need to know what to ask for.

How to write a Request for Proposal

There is some key information you want to gather, most notably the teams’ recent experience in similar-scope projects. The following questions are pretty standard and can give you a good insight into the consultants’ qualifications:

  • Include detailed descriptions of projects of similar scope that you have done in the last five years and how they relate to your project
  • Identify your team members that will be performing the work and their facilities and planning experience as it pertains to this project
  • Provide a description of your project approach
  • What distinguishes your firm from others that might be considered for this project?
  • Provide a project timeline and projected cost opinions
  • Supply a list of similar projects with references we can contact
  • Include estimated fees associated with professional services
There’s also information about the project that you should include for the consultants’ benefit:
  • What particular sports are you looking to build fields for? Provide planning documents if available.
  • Building components that need to be considered (i.e. storage buildings, concessions, restrooms, ticket booth, press boxes)?
  • Plans for the future: Is there a need to consider adding future fields?
  • How many meetings will the consultant be expected to attend? (i.e. user-group meetings with committees and school board, public information meetings)
  • Is fundraising assistance required?
  • Is an interview going to be required between the school board and consultant?
  • How many copies of the proposal (hard copies and electronic) need to be provided?
Once proposals are submitted, look for experience with similar projects and which consultant best understands the scope of your project and the intended outcome. If their project approach shows a good understanding of your school’s needs and they have created the results you’re looking for, that’s a better choice than basing your decision on fees only.

Jon Fitch, PE, Civil Engineer   Sports are my passion and I enjoy learning as much as I can about each sport and my clients. As a civil engineer, I help school districts, colleges and cities with their athletic facility needs. I help clients realize all the possibilities their facilities can be used for while creating the most efficient design.

To help each client make the best decisions, I learn and stay up-to-date about products and systems related to a variety of sports and share that knowledge with them.

Jon Fitch, PE
800.798.0227 | jfitch@shive-hattery.com

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