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Request For Proposals - Cambridge Historic District Design Guidelines
Historic Preservation Blog from - Historic Guidelines - RFP
Contributed By: Patricia Escher

Request for Proposals (RFP): Cambridge Historic District Design Guidelines

The City of Cambridge seeks an individual or firm specializing in historic preservation planning, architectural history, and/or cultural resources management in conjunction with sustainability/green technology, to use existing documents to develop a detailed, cohesive, set of design guidelines, which will continue and advance the preservation of the City’s historic buildings and historic districts in a manner consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The finished product will be design guidelines that are intended to provide property owners and contractors assistance as they plan alterations to their historic buildings as well as to standardize the information used for HPC decision making. It is the intent of this RFP to have the successful individual or firm enter into a Professional Services Contract with the City to supply complete, enforceable, adopted design guidelines.

The final document should include, at a minimum:
  • Table of contents
  • Administrative information such as administrative review guidelines, review process, introduction to using documents, etc.
  • Design guidelines, including provisions for renewable energy and demolition by neglect
  • Illustrations of Cambridge’s historic resources and districts as examples
  • Glossary of terms

The successful firm will be able to review existing and draft guidelines and use their professional expertise to update and revise the existing information and seamlessly incorporate any further information to develop a complete set of design guidelines.

The firm will be paid directly by the City for the design guidelines, utilizing funding granted by the Maryland Historical Trust through the Certified Local Governments grant program in the amount of $15,000.  The firm will be expected to work closely with and report progress to Department of Public Works staff and any other department heads as required.

Sealed proposals (3 copies) should be submitted to the Department of Public Works, 1025 Washington Street, Cambridge, Maryland 21613, by 2:00pm September 22, 2017; clearly marked on the outside “Proposal –Design Guidelines” and to the attention of the Planning and Zoning Division.  At that time, they will be opened and read aloud. 

The City Council reserves the right to reject any and all proposals, or parts of proposals, when it is judged to be in the best interest of the City.

All questions should be sent to Patricia Escher, A.I.C.P., City Planner, 1025 Washington Street, Cambridge, MD 21613 or e-mail at

Question deadline will be September 8, 2017.

A. SCOPE OF SERVICES: The successful firm shall agree to contract with the City to provide the following: 1) determine the City’s needs for historic district design guidelines; 2) review and analyze the existing design guidelines for consistency with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, guidelines, requirements, etc.; 3) help coordinate community input by facilitating public meetings and/or developing survey questions; 4) compose as necessary updated design guidelines and administrative review guidelines; 5) Substantially conform to proposed timeline; 6) handle other activities and services associated with the development of the guidelines. At least two public presentations by the selected firm will be required.

Proposed Schedule:

September 2017-February 2018: Working with the Historic Preservation Commission, staff and the public, coordinate revisions to the documents and solicit for public comment on those revisions.

February-March 2018: Present the revised document to City Council for review and receive any comments.

April-May 2018: Staff will propose the final document to the City Council for adoption.

B. FIRM’S QUALIFICATIONS: Respondents to this RFP shall have the following qualifications:  
  • Must have an excellent reputation based on a track record of successful historic preservation projects. 
  • Must have successfully completed design review guidelines/documents for historic preservation.
  • Must meet or exceed appropriate Secretary of the Interiors Professional Qualifications Standards as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations, 36 CFR 61. 
  • Must have excellent public presentation skills.
  • Must be able to substantially conform to proposed s chedule.
  • Must be familiar with challenges that face HPC’s in small communities and be prepared to address those challenges. 

C. FEE SCHEDULE The proposed bid and fee schedule shall include the following items:
  • Not-to-exceed bid for development of design guidelines
D. TERM OF CONTRACT WITH THE CITY The contract period for the successful broker/firm will be from date of award until completion, or until either party chooses to discontinue the contract. The contract may be terminated by either party with 60 (sixty) days prior notice.

E. EVALUATION AND AWARD PROCESS Issuance of this RFP and receipt of proposals does not commit the City of Cambridge to award a contract. The City reserves the right to postpone receipt date, accepting or rejecting any or all proposals received in response to this RFP, or to negotiate with any of the brokers/firms submitting proposal, or to cancel all or part of this RFP without penalty.

F. INTERVIEWS/PRESENTATION Firms submitting a proposal in response to this RFP may be required to give a presentation of their proposal. Additional technical and/or cost information may be requested for clarification purposes, but in no way will change the original proposal submitted. Interviews are optional and may or may not be conducted.


1. Completeness of response to RFP as outlined in this solicitation.

2. Knowledge of and experience in historic preservation planning, architectural history, cultural resources management, sustainability as related to the above fields, and public outreach which has been presented in past projects.

3. Ability of the firm to meet or exceed the requirements defined in the RFP.

4. Fee schedule

H. RFP SUBMITTAL REQUIREMENTS by submitting a proposal, you represent that you have (1) thoroughly examined and become familiar with the scope of services outlined in this RFP and (2) are capable of achieving a positive outcome attaining all of the City’s objectives.

The following information must accompany your proposal:

1. List years in business, previous names of the firm, if any.

2. Description of your firm including size of firm, location, number and nature of the professional staff to be assigned to City of Cambridge; staff experience and training, including a brief resume for each key person listed.

3. Advantages of your company and explanation of your services, including the flexibility of your product to evolve as the City’s needs may change.

4. Experience in assisting similar size entities, including any and all services for government agencies.

5. List of at least three references where and when your firm provided similar services. Please describe your services and provide names and telephone numbers of contact persons for each reference.

6. Sample of previously completed design guidelines or similar documents.

7. Additional services offered through your firm.

8. Listing of current litigation, outstanding judgments and liens.

9. Bid and fee schedule – identify any other ancillary fees that the City should anticipate.

10.  Any requirements you may have to perform these services.

Keywords: Historic Guidelines - RFP

Posted: August 16, 2017
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