Architectural Prequalification


The CSU makes professional appointments on the basis of demonstrated competence and professional qualifications. Professional appointments are made at the campus level.

As with any client, assuming a well-executed effort, past experience is a plus; however a firm with no higher education experience, but with demonstrated success in projects of similar size and complexity, should be readily able to make a compelling argument for serious consideration.

Campus capital projects come about from expressed campus need. This need is validated based on various entitlement formulas that are related to campus physical capacity and campus projected demand growth. A project feasibility study is often commissioned early on by the campus to help analyze need and justification for a particular project.

Once the internal decision to develop a project is made, a campus will convene a three- to nine-member interview panel to make an appointment recommendation. The panel may include various “user” representatives, but building technical representatives will represent a majority position. ​

The interview panel will use the ​Systemwide Prequalified List to develop an invitational RFQ listing of approximately 12 to 15 firms for initial consideration. In making their initial searches from the prequalified list, experience self-rankings will be considered, along with the size and location of prospective firms. At this point, firms that have expressed specific advance interest on the project to the campus will also be considered. Non-public factors, including firm reputation, recent past performance and peer references, are heavily weighted.

From the initial RFQ solicitation, a short list of four or five responding firms is selected for interview. The assumption is that any firm on the short list is technically capable of performing the work.

At this point in the process, it becomes a subjective evaluation confirming RFQ information and seeking the best fit based on interview performance. At the conclusion of the interviews, firms are ranked and the highest-ranked firm is nominated for the commission. A confirming reference check is conducted and, assuming a positive outcome, an agreement is proffered and executed and work begins.

The appointment of supporting consultants and appointments for minor capital outlay projects may abbreviate some steps, but the process generally occurs along the same lines.

Overview of Architectural Prequalification

CSU Board of Trustees policy requires all architectural firms seeking commissions on major capital outlay projects to be prequalified. The CSU Office of the Chancellor has established an annual prequalification process that fulfills this requirement.

  • Interested parties are invited to download and submit their completed application.
  • CSU Architectural Prequalification is a systemwide effort and is valid for all campuses. Individual campuses do not maintain individual prequalification programs.
  • Firms seeking architectural prequalification must primarily provide architectural services. Other service providers (i.e., structural, MEP, civil engineering firms, land planning, etc.) are not subject to systemwide prequalification and therefore are not included in this systemwide architectural listing.
  • Prequalification is an annual requirement. Prequalification does not roll over into the next year. The prequalification application is revised from year to year. A new application must be submitted each year.
  • Firms seeking prequalification must maintain an active office within the state of California.
  • All prequalified firms are eligible for any CSU project regardless of size, scope or whether self-ranked as having a particular type of experience.
  • Firms with multiple offices are encouraged to complete an application for each office that will be seeking work with the CSU.   
  • Acceptance into the Architectural Prequalification Database does not guarantee work within the CSU system. It is the obligation of individual architectural firms to establish and maintain professional relationships with the individual campuses in seeking upcoming project commissions.
  • There is no application fee.
Requirements of Architectural Prequalification​​ is not mandated for projects below the major capital project threshold.  

Applying for Prequalification

​If you have questions, please contact Karisa Katsuki,​​ (562) 951-4106.​

To begin your application for the 2022-23 year, please follow these steps:

  1. Complete the 2022-23 application between March 28, 2022 and June 3, 2022. 

    Save the file as a WORD.docx using your FIRMNAME_CITY.docx (do not use the current generic filename with date). For example, if your firm name is ABC Construction and you are filling out the application for your Los Angeles location, the filename would be ABC Construction_Los Angeles.docx.

  2. Email the completed application to appprequal@share.calstate.edu.

    Your application will be reviewed and, if approved, will be added to the database. Following approval, the answers you submitted will automatically populate the searchable database. Any errors in your ap​​plication could affect the ability of your company to be found.

Resources, Documents & Templates: