How to become a Pre-Qualified Architect, Engineer or Professional Consultant

New Bench Certification!
(formerly Consultant Prequalification)

The Board of Trustees of the San Mateo County Community College District has determined that construction related professional services consultants who wish to do business with the District, and its three colleges, College of San Mateo, Skyline College and Cañada College, must complete a consultant prequalification application.  A completed and successful application will allow consultants the opportunity to prequalify with the District.

Effective May of 2022, the District has decided to use the Bench Certification process thru its online vendor management portal, PlanetBids, to prequalify new and re-qualify previously prequalified consultants.

SMCCD’s Bench Certification program consists of two types of applications:

1) Architectural and Engineering (A&E) Bench Certification. In accordance with Chapter 10 of Government Code, the District requires all firms who provide architectural, landscape architectural, professional engineering, environmental, land surveying, and construction project management services, to complete a pre-qualification application as part of its competitive selection process for A&E services.

2) Professional Consultants Bench Certification.
For all other types of consultants, who do not fall under the above application type, such as cost estimators, air quality/hazmat, inspection services, testing materials, etc.

Click on the link below to apply now:

Bench Certification

We look forward to your participation.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Which consultants must be prequalified?

A: Construction related professional services consultants who wish to do business with the District, and its three colleges, College of San Mateo, Skyline College and Cañada College, must be prequalified. New consultants will need to prequalify and previously prequalified consultants will need to re-qualify.

Q: What is the difference between the two prequalification applications?

A: There are two types of prequalification applications:

  1. Architectural and Engineering (A&E) Bench Certification (For architectural and engineering firms only)
  2. Professional Services Bench Certification (For all other types of facilities planning and construction related professional services)

Q: What does the bench certification process evaluate?

A: The bench certification process evaluates the following information:

  • Design Experience (Education Projects in Higher Ed or K12)
  • Work History (including experience with various project delivery methods)
  • Experience with DSA / Field Act Requirements
  • Litigation and Arbitration History
  • Disqualification from Previous Projects
  • Compliance with Statutory Requirements and Safety
  • Project Key Personnel
  • Insurance Requirements
  • Sustainability
  • Diversity, Social Equity and Inclusion

Q: How long is the bench certification period?
A: Bench certification is valid for two years from date of approval. Prior to the expiration of the approval, a re-qualification reminder will be sent to the currently approved consultants in order to stay on the current Pre-Qualified Architectural, Engineering and Professional Consultants list.

Q: Is there a specific bench certification application period and/or deadline?
A: No, the bench certification application process is open year-round, so there is no application submission deadline.

Q: How can I view or obtain a sample of the District’s Professional Services Agreements?
A: Links to sample copies are available below on this webpage.

Q: How long will it take for my application to be reviewed?
A: Typically, a submitted application is reviewed within two to three weeks. However, this timeframe may be adjusted depending on the number of applications received.

Q: If consultant is prequalified through the District, would they have to complete a prequalification package for any project specific District job?
A: Yes, the District’s prequalification does not preclude a firm from any project specific prequalification, nor is it a prerequisite for the same.

If you have any questions about the bench certification process, please send an email to


Professional Services Agreements