Becoming a Top Engineering Firm – Zoom Like a Rocket Ship!

A professional service firm such as an engineering design firm or construction engineering and inspection firm can be thought of as a rocket ship. Looking at the business as a rocket ship, it gets easier to remember and share the elements of developing a successful business.

Like a rocket ship a business has two basic parts, the engines that power the ship, and the guidance systems to set course. Our rock ship has five engines and four guidance systems.

Thinking back to when you first started your firm, if you did not go through the checklist you see below formally, you did so informally.

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How to Apply to be a Prequalified Architectural & Engineering Firm for MassDOT

MassDOT routinely prequalifies Architectural and Engineering Firms (A&E) to provide services in various A&E discipline categories.

MassDOT uses this prequalification information when selecting firms for new A&E contract services. Municipalities and other parties may also use this information. An Audited Overhead Rate must be submitted to the Audit Operations Section as part of the prequalification process.

MassDOT uses a qualifications-based selection process for the procurement of firms for all A&E contracts and surveying services.

ADM-016-form-1In order for MassDOT to evaluate the  organizational structure, experience and capabilities of each firm,  interested firms must complete and submit an ADM-016 form (Excel file) to MassDOT every 2 years.

The ADM-016 Form may be reproduced but must be identical to the original.  Access a PDF version here.

The application is extensive, and you will likely have questions. Download the instructions here.


Apply by Mail

Firms should submit one copy of the completed ADM-016 package, double-sided and unbound, to:

MassDOT A&E Prequalification
Patricia A. Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer
10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

MassDOT will produce the proper number of copies necessary for review by the A&E Review Board

Apply Online

Electronic submissions should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) and submitted to

MassDOT will produce the proper number of copies necessary for review by the A&E Review Board

Agreement Example

Once approved, and an agreement is made, you will have an agreement similar to this example. Architects and Engineering firms are listed on the MassDOT website here.

NOTE: Prequalified architectural & Engineering firms should not be confused with construction firms.

Per 720 CMR 5, all construction firms must be prequalified by MassDOT prior to bidding on public horizontal construction projects with an estimated value of $50,000 or more, regardless of funding source.

This includes projects managed by cities, towns and other Awarding Authorities. Construction firms must renew their prequalification certificates at least every 12 months to remain eligible to bid on new projects.

What you need

To become prequalified, complete the application process and have an original Surety letter. Include a detailed scope of work for each project by class of work in your application. Contractors will need to provide training documentation within their application that they are presently in compliance with 527 CMR 1.00, Welding, Cutting and other HOTWORKS.

More info

If the Prequalification Committee decides to deny your application, they will email you. The email will include a letter of explanation. If the Committee returns your application, please correct the errors and mail it back to us.

Once approved, you will receive a certificate via email.

The duration of Prequalification Certificates expires after 12 months.

If you are already pre-qualified but would like to add a new category of work or request a limit raise, complete a Request for Additional Class of Work form or a Single Class of Work Limit Increase form.

Construction Prequalification Committee meetings are held on Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. Contractor meetings are held on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., as requested.

Note: Regardless of funding source, once a project is advertised requiring MassDOT Prequalification or within MassDOT R.O.W., only prequalified contractors can bid and perform such projects.


Prequalification can be complex and time consuming. Missing details will delay prequalification. The team at Hunter & Associates have worked with DOTs around the USA and have performed many overhead rate audits to facilitate DOT qualification.

We welcome your contact and look forward to working with you!


Hunter & Associates
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Hunter & Associates
At Hunter & Associates, P.A., we are driven by the belief that within each of us is the power to achieve greatness. This belief is not just for us, but for our clients as well. In fact, our client roster includes a great many small businesses with aspirations for greatness. We have even been recognized as an award-winning firm for client diversity.
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