Rules of Operation & Procedures

The following is the rules of operation and procedures as set forth during our founding in October 1999.


The name of this organization shall be the Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services (COFPAES).


Membership of COFPAES shall be of two types as set forth below.

  1. “Member Organizations” are national professional organizations that comply with all of the criteria for COFPAES membership as hereinafter set forth which have been admitted into full membership in COFPAES and which are represented by a voting delegate (herein called the “Delegate”) and an alternate Delegate (herein called the “Alternate”).
  2. “Associate Organizations” are national professional organizations that comply with all of the criteria for COFPAES membership as hereinafter set forth, but which have been admitted to temporary and limited membership rather than full membership in COFPAES and whose representative shall not be classified as a Delegate and does not have voting privileges. No organization shall have an Associate Organization status for longer than one year.


The general purpose of COFPAES shall be to protect and promote the public interest by means of policies and procedures whereby the services of architects, engineers, surveyors, and other related professionals may be engaged under circumstances that will permit them to provide the highest quality of services consistent with the requirements of the public. The primary objective in carrying out its general purpose shall be to develop programs of coordination and mutual action in designated matters affecting the interests of architects, engineers, surveyors and other related professionals as related to the procurement of the services they provide to the Federal Government. Subjects may include, without limitation to legislation, agency policies and regulations, public statements, publications, conferences and seminars.A collateral objective of COFPAES shall be to provide a framework for coordination of policy positions of the national organizations comprising COFPAES, as such policy positions relate to the legislation or agency policies at the state and local levels, and hence impact upon corresponding federal issues. To this end, COFPAES shall maintain an awareness of state and local procurement policies, procedures and methods. Upon request, and the subsequent affirmative vote of all the Delegates, COFPAES may assist state groups affiliated with the COFPAES Member Organizations or Associate Organizations in carrying out the aforementioned objectives. The state-level groups shall retain responsibility for all local decisions and actions, and shall pay all costs which may result from pre-approved COFPAES assistance. COFPAES’ role in such events shall be limited to (1) the providing of a framework for coordination of policy positions; (2) the providing of a framework for coordinating the promotion of appropriate procurement procedure; (3) the furnishing of witnesses and supporting information; and (4) the encouraging of intersociety cooperation at the state and local levels patterned after the COFPAES model at the federal level.


Adoption of Policy Positions

COFPAES shall undertake action only through unanimous agreement of all of the Delegates in accordance with its purposes on behalf of the Member Organizations. Each Member Organization or Associate Organization reserves the right to express separate views or take independent action when it is not in agreement with a proposed course of action to be taken by COFPAES, except that no Member Organization or Associate Organization shall take a contrary public position or bring suit or commence legal action against any agency of the Federal Government involving enforcement or interpretation of the Federal A/E Selection Act without first submitting notice of such intent to COFPAES for consultation prior to the initiation of such action. Notice of such intent to take a position or to commence legal action is to be given as early as practically feasible so that, if time permits, COFPAES may provide counsel on the matter and may determine whether or not COFPAES concurs in such action.

Decision-Making on Administrative Matters

A “supermajority” (5/7) vote of delegates present shall decide all issues other than those described in 4.a., a quorum being present. A quorum on non-policy matters shall be two-thirds of all Member Organizations.

Decision-Making on Budget Matters:
  1. A unanimous vote shall be required for extraordinary expenditures over $10,000; or
  2. An expenditure of cash reserves rather than from the annual income.

Budget expenditures shall not be made that are contrary to or inconsistent with COFPAES policies.


COFPAES’ Member Organizations are:

    • American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM)
    • American Consulting Engineers Council (ACEC)
    • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
    • American Road and Transportation Builders Association (Planning & Design Division) (ARTBA)
    • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
    • American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
    • National Society of Professional Engineers/Professional Engineers in Private Practice (NSPE/PEPP)


Each Member Organization shall be represented within COFPAES by one Delegate. By January 1 of each year each Member Organization shall notify in writing the COFPAES Secretary of the names and addresses of its Delegate and Alternate. A Delegate should be an individual member or principal of a member firm of the Member Organization he or she is representing, should be knowledgeable of Federal A/E procurement policies and procedures, and should be in a position of leadership in the Member Organization so as to facilitate efficient liaison and policy coordination between COFPAES and the Member Organization.


Each Member Organization shall appoint an Alternate. An Alternate may attend all COFPAES functions and may exercise the voting and other rights of the Delegate in the Delegate’s absence.


Each Member Organization may designate one observer to attend COFPAES meetings, which observer may be that organization’s president, or other designated person.


Such staff should be individuals knowledgeable of Federal A/E procurement policies and procedures and whose responsibilities for the Member Organization or Associate Organization include representation before Congress and Federal agencies.


Two regular meetings of COFPAES shall be held each year at such time and at such place as may be determined by the Delegates. The last regular meeting of each calendar year shall be the “Annual Business Meeting.” Special meetings shall be held upon the call of the Chairman or the Secretary upon authorization by the Chairman. Costs of attendance at meetings shall be borne by the Member Organizations or Associate Organizations for their Delegates, Alternates, and representatives; however, the authorized expenses of the Chairman shall be paid from COFPAES funds. COFPAES may meet in Executive Session to discuss personnel matters and such other matters as may be included in a motion for Executive Session which shall be adopted by a majority of the delegates. Such motion may designate such persons other than Delegates who are authorized to participate in such Executive Session.

COFPAES meetings shall be principally intended to foster discussion among the Officers, Delegates and Alternates and formulate and implement COFPAES policies. The Chairman may recognize staff to provide information and background on issues under discussion.


Meetings of Staff shall be held periodically to discuss current issues, strategies, and plans, as well as to coordinate activities between organizations. Meetings shall be called by the COFPAES Secretary. The COFPAES Chairman will be notified of all COFPAES Staff meetings. The COFPAES Secretary shall preside at Staff meetings. A summary of the proceedings at each Staff meeting shall be prepared and distributed.


Officers shall consist of a Chairman, a Chairman-Elect, a Treasurer, and a Secretary. A nominating committee, consisting of the incumbent Chairman, Chairman-Elect, and Immediate Past Chairman who shall act as the chairman of the nominating committee, shall present a slate of candidates for office for consideration of the COFPAES Delegates at each Annual Business Meeting. The office of Chairman-Elect shall be filled in turn each year from candidates of the Member Organizations through an informal rotation plan.

Nominees for Chairman-Elect, Treasurer and Secretary shall be Delegates or Alternates, or shall have served as Delegates or Alternates within the immediately preceding five years. However, the nominee for Secretary may be a Member Organization Staff representative. Persons elected to the offices of Chairman-Elect and Treasurer may also serve as Delegates or Alternates for their terms of office. In the election for Officers, each Member Organization shall have one vote. Officers shall be elected by secret written ballot at each Annual Business Meeting to serve one year or until their successors have been duly elected. The new Officers shall assume office at the conclusion of the meeting at which the election is held. The Secretary and Treasurer may serve for not more than two consecutive terms.

The Chairman-Elect shall automatically succeed to the office of Chairman at the end of his one-year term as Chairman-Elect. The Chairman, upon succession to that office, will cease to be a Delegate or Alternate, and the Member Organization shall fill the resulting vacancy with an appointed Delegate or Alternate.


The Chairman shall preside at all meetings, issue the call for meetings, establish the agenda, and perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Delegates. The expenses of the Chairman shall be reimbursed from COFPAES funds. After their terms of office are completed, past chairmen may be retained as corresponding members of COFPAES.


The Chairman-Elect shall perform the duties of the Chairman in the absence or inability of the Chairman to serve. The Chairman-Elect shall serve as chairman of the COFPAES Long Range Planning Committee. Such Committee shall meet at least once per year to consider (a) organizations that shall be considered for Associate Organization status, (b) organizations with which COFPAES should establish a liaison relationship, (c) organize a planning retreat at least once every 24 months, and (d) such other responsibilities as are assigned by the Chairman.


The Treasurer shall receive all funds, maintain a financial record of all receipts and payments, regularly report the financial status of COFPAES to its members and file such other reports or documents as may be required by the Delegates. Payment of all bills and accounts shall be based on vouchers and may be certified by the Chairman as approved for payment.
An account or accounts shall be established in a bank, banks, or other depository approved by COFPAES for the receipt and disbursement of funds. Disbursements from the COFPAES account or accounts shall be made at the direction of the Treasurer with approval of the Chairman.


Responsibilities and duties of the Secretary shall include the following:

  1. Compile, distribute, and maintain a current COFPAES roster.
  2. In consultation with the Counsel, Staff and Officers, prepare and distribute notices of meetings, agendas with supporting information, and other information of interest to all persons listed on the roster.
  3. Prepare and distribute minutes of COFPAES meetings to all persons listed on the roster no later than one month after the meeting.
  4. Develop a calendar at the beginning of each year to reflect COFPAES meetings, Staff meetings, and other major events, to facilitate advance planning by those concerned.
  5. Arrange for and preside over Staff meetings on a 4 to 6 week cycle or as required to maintain communications and coordination.
  6. Participate in and coordinate activities to fulfill current action items.
  7. In consultation with Counsel, coordinate legislative and regulatory visits to further the COFPAES mission.
  8. Oversee implementation of programs developed by COFPAES to meet its annual goals and objectives, and keep the Chairman informed of their progress.
  9. Cooperate with the Counsel to keep COFPAES members informed on important matters.
    j. Act as teller to open, tabulate and announce the results of all secret written ballots by the Delegates.



If deemed appropriate, COFPAES may retain Counsel to provide advice and assistance in the pursuit of its objectives. Responsibilities and duties of the Counsel shall include the following:

      1. Cultivate and maintain useful contacts with appropriate members of Congress and their staffs, and agency personnel on matters of interest to COFPAES.
      2. Play an active role in keeping abreast of current events and developments affecting the procurement of professional A/E services.
      3. Review and analyze on a daily basis the Federal Register, Congressional Record, Federal Contracts Reporter, Daily Report for Executives and other Washington-oriented current events publications for developments that impact on A/E procurement. When appropriate, order copies and distribute to Staff.
      4. Provide assistance and advice to Officers, Staff and Delegates in pursuing legislative and regulatory projects.
      5. Draft testimony, comments and letters on A/E procurement issues for the COFPAES Chairman (or Delegate) representing the Committee on the issue, or act as COFPAES spokesperson before Congress or regulatory agencies as appropriate.
      6. Analyze and interpret the potential impact of legislative and regulatory activities upon the A/E community and recommend strategies for COFPAES’ advocacy role in the federal process.
      7. Identify new legislation or changes that need to be made, and recommend strategies for accomplishing these goals.
      8. Prepare opinion letters or position papers on rulemakings, legislative initiatives, congressional actions, and other procurement-related matters.
      9. Monitor implementation of COFPAES directives, and take necessary actions to assure successful completion.
      10. Attend and participate in COFPAES and Staff meetings.
      11. Cooperate with the Secretary to keep the COFPAES members informed on important matters.
      12. Prepare articles for procurement-related newsletters and magazines, and speak at Member Organization and Associate organization meetings.
      13. Assist COFPAES members on A/E procurement matters, and provide informal advice to COFPAES members and firms seeking immediate advice or direction on active federal procurement issues.
      14. Maintain the COFPAES records and archives and other publications for reference by the COFPAES Officers, Delegates and Staff.


COFPAES shall operate on a calendar year fiscal basis. The operation of COFPAES shall be financed by contributions or dues from Member Organizations and Associate Organizations in amounts to be determined at each Annual Business Meeting or from time to time by the Delegates subject to the authorization of the organizations that they represent. Payment shall be due at the first of each year unless otherwise determined by the Delegates. Surplus funds from the sale of documents published by COFPAES and from conferences, seminars or other activities may also be used to defray operational expenses. It is the objective of COFPAES to maintain a reserve equal to one year’s projected expenses.


COFPAES, upon the authorization of the Delegates, may purchase or enter into contracts for goods, supplies or services, including legal, accounting and other advisory services, but shall not obligate the Member Organizations or Associate Organizations beyond the financial resources which are currently available in the COFPAES account.


To be considered for membership in COFPAES, an organization shall meet the following criteria:

  1. It shall be a national professional organization, recognized as highly ethical and well-respected by the A/E community, the Congress, and federal agencies.
  2. It shall be a formally-structured organization with constitution, bylaws, and national officers elected by its membership, and shall be financially sound.
  3. It shall be comprised predominantly of individual members or member firms whose customary professional services are included within the current federal legislative definition of A/E services.
  4. It shall represent individual members who are registered with State Boards of Professional Registration or member firms whose professional employees are so registered, and shall have an officially-adopted policy that encourages all of its members or member firms’ professional employees to obtain professional registration.
  5. It must be recognized as a 501(c) organization by the Internal Revenue Service.
  6. It shall have a history of embracing the principle of qualifications-based selection for professional A/E services as defined by P.L. 92-582, as amended, (commonly referred to as the “the Brooks A/E Law”).
  7. It shall have a permanently-staffed metropolitan Washington, DC, office or an effective and acceptable retained Washington representative.
  8. It shall have a history of effectively and successfully working with other coalitions and shall express a willingness to participate in COFPAES under current COFPAES Rules of Operation and Procedure, including payment of contributions or dues.
  9. COFPAES staff members shall be Government Affairs specialists familiar with Federal procurement-issues and capable of representing their respective organizations.


The following procedures shall apply in considering organizations for membership in COFPAES:

  1. COFPAES may consider for membership any organization from which it receives a letter, signed by its President, expressing interest in becoming a member of COFPAES, asserting that all criteria for membership as set forth herein are complied with, and providing such other information as may be appropriate or helpful in evaluating the application.
  2. The proposed new membership shall be discussed at an Annual Business Meeting. If desired, a representative from the new organization may be invited to a portion of the meeting to ask and answer questions.
  3. Unanimous affirmative vote by secret written ballot of all of the Delegates shall be required at said Annual Business Meeting for acceptance of the new organization.
  4. If accepted and upon payment of its contribution or dues, the initial status of the new organization shall be as an Associate Organization member until the next Annual Business Meeting. This will provide an opportunity for COFPAES and the new organization to work together and develop confidence that the relationship will be mutually beneficial.
  5. At the next Annual Business Meeting, another unanimous affirmative vote by secret written ballot of all of the Delegates shall be necessary to admit the new organization into full membership as a Member Organization, to be effective January 1 of the following year. At such time, if a unanimous affirmative vote is not obtained, the new organization shall cease to be a member of COFPAES and shall not again be considered for membership until at least three years have elapsed.


If any Member Organization becomes delinquent in its contributions or dues to COFPAES for a period of six months or more, then such organization shall no longer be a Member Organization.


In the event a Member Organization voluntarily withdraws from COFPAES, it may be reinstated by a written expression of interest from its President, a unanimous affirmative vote by secret written ballot of all of the COFPAES Delegates and payment of full contributions or dues for the current year.


These Rules of Operation and Procedure may be amended at any duly called meeting with the unanimous consent by secret written ballot of all of the Delegates.