(DEADLINE PASSED) Stockade Historic District Flood Mitigation Design Guidelines: City of Schenectady, NY

The City of Schenectady Department of Development invites firms to submit their proposals and work examples for consulting services to create mitigation design guidelines for homes within the Stockade Historic District subject to flood inundation.  The guidelines document will include thorough, detailed design guidelines for elevating the homes and also design guidelines for other flood mitigation strategies such as wet and dry floodproofing, relocation of utilities, foundation reinforcement, etc. that are suitable for the affected properties. See attached map (ATTACHMENT A) showing the locations of properties within the project scope.  The goal of the project is to create a comprehensive, user-friendly document rich in content and illustrations that will be used by property owners, contractors, city staff and the Historic District Commission to determine the appropriateness of design modifications to buildings due to their elevation above the base flood elevation (BFE) and other exterior modifications necessary to protect against flood loss.

The intent of the guidelines is to protect the historic character of the properties and the district as a whole when houses are elevated or otherwise modified to protect against flood loss.  Such changes will alter the historic district; the goal of the guidelines is to ensure that these changes will not sever connections to the past as they allow for the necessity of mitigation in light of climate change.  The guide will emphasize ways to minimize or eliminate the visual impacts of elevation through the use of flood proofing mitigation strategies as well as careful consideration of setbacks, landscaping screens, and other architecturally and historically sensitive building modifications related to elevation.


At a minimum, the consultant will be required to do the following.

Component 1: Data Gathering and Analysis

1. Conduct a visual survey of all buildings within the project area to catalog architectural styles, foundation types and other relevant building and site features. 

2. In combination with parcel data and existing flood data determine a) the possible elevation range for the properties that will inform the design and mitigation strategies for impacts due to elevation and b) other suitable mitigation measures that may allow for less or no elevation than what would otherwise be needed.

Component 2: Planning and Content Development

1. Working with city staff and the steering committee, develop an outline of the document.

2. Develop a sketch outline of illustrations, photographs, charts and graphs to best illustrate the concepts in the guidelines.

Component 3: Community Engagement

1. Draft a comprehensive community engagement plan and engagement timeline that includes specific proposed mechanisms for the public to provide feedback (such as design charrettes, online and/or hardcopy surveys, public meetings, web-based comment submissions, etc.)

2. Lead at least one public workshop to gather input and recommendations. The workshop format should at least include a Power Point presentation with graphics and illustrations and other large-format visuals to convey preliminary concepts.

3. Work with the steering committee and staff to develop and refine recommendations and subsequent drafts of the document.  Facilitate meetings as needed.

4. Lead at least one public meeting on the draft document to gather public feedback.

5. Give presentations to stakeholders on final draft, including presentations on recommendations.

Component 4: Document Development

1. Provide documents to staff in Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF or other formats as requested. Include hyperlinks to cross-references and other information as directed by staff.  

2. Meet with staff to discuss the types of illustrations and photographs needed, such as front elevation, plan and perspective illustrations, as appropriate.  

3. Produce high resolution digital format for each illustration. Illustrations are to be delivered to staff, organized by chapter and labeled with description and relevant page number.

4. Work with technical staff to upload the digital format of final document online and provide staff with detailed instructions for maintenance.

5. Produce drafts and the final document for viewing on the HDC website.

If, based on consultant knowledge or experience the consultant believes the required scope of work should be changed in any way, the suggested changes should be outlined in the submitted cover letter (see Proposal Format section).

PROJECT SCHEDULE - Subject to Change

Project Planning and Data Collection (March- April)

1. Meet with staff to review project and timeline

2. Draft the community engagement plan and timeline

3. Finalize the meeting schedule and work plan timeline in consultation with staff

4. Visual survey of properties. Gather data on architectural type, foundation type, parcel size and topography, base flood elevation, and other pertinent data

5. Create a catalog that includes basic building characteristics on each property, a parcel site plan or aerial view and a front elevation photo.  Each building sheet should include the results of the visual survey as well as relevant site plan, topographic, and base flood elevation data.

6. Introductory steering committee meeting and overview of project schedule

7. Discuss catalog with staff to ensure all relevant information is captured

8. Develop an outline of the design guidelines including text,  illustrations, photographs, charts and graphs.

Workshops and Drafting the Guidelines (April - June)

1. Public workshop: Input from residents and other stakeholders, draft recommendations

2. First draft: Prepare document text and graphics/examples for review by staff and steering committee

 Document Development (June-August 30)

1. Second draft: Deliver draft to staff, post online, receive comments on draft electronically

3. Public meeting on second draft: Review draft with stakeholders, present online comments and receive additional comments at the public meeting

4. Final draft: Format final draft including all materials, drawings, photos, and tables in electronic and hard copy formats.

5. Prepare and submit final document

The project must be completed and final invoice received NO LATER THAN Wednesday, August 30, 2017.  This is a firm deadline that must be met in order for the city to comply with grant funding requirements and is non-negotiable.


The consultant shall submit estimated costs and a proposed fee statement, including a spreadsheet indicating the basis for the costs for each component of the scope of services. Provide the dollar value of the work of the consultant and all sub-consultants, including the percentage of sub-consultants' involvement in each phase. Provide an hourly rate schedule by personnel, reimbursable expenses, and the proposed number of hours budgeted for each member of the consultant team.

Proposed fees will be used as an indication of the level of services to be provided. The city will not select professional services on a low bid basis, although the cost of work will be one of the factors considered in selecting a consultant. The city reserves the right to negotiate final fees and scope of services with the selected consultant, potentially including the final composition of the consultant team.


A selection team will review all proposals submitted by the deadline.  All questions regarding the project or the submittal should be directed in writing to the Assistant Planner by 8 am on Monday, January 30, 2017:

Rima Shamieh, AICP
Assistant Planner
City of Schenectady
Department of Development

The selection team will review all submittals to identify those best meeting the criteria below and, in general, best suited to meet the goals of the project. Applicant firms may be contacted for clarification of their proposal.

The selection team intends to choose a limited number of applicant firms for further consideration and to interview these firms during the period of February 15-17, 2017.  Notification to these firms will be made as soon as possible, but the entire consultant team should be prepared to convene in Schenectady during this period.

A finalist will be selected for contract negotiation, and if that negotiation is successful and the appropriate authorities approve the contract, the selected firm will be announced by February 24, 2017.

Proposals will be evaluated based on each of the following general criteria (listed in order of importance):

  • Demonstrated Capacity: Past performance of consultant firm on similar projects including the designated project manager and other team members (including sub-consultants); a summary of team members' workload during this project timeline (demonstrate that team members will have sufficient time to dedicate to this project); extent of other completed projects of similar scope and magnitude; confirmation that consultant meets 36 CFR 61 professional qualifications; demonstrated experience working with FEMA flood regulations and the NYSHPO.
  • References: Confirmation that consultant has performed similar work in past; assessment of ability to produce quality product within the project schedule; assessment of ability to conduct productive meetings; assessment of ability to work with staff, stakeholders, and elected officials.
  • Work Product Examples: Quality, appearance, presentation, and applicability of submitted work examples. 
  • Proposed Work Program and Deliverables: Understanding of the assignment; quality of response to proposed work program and deliverables. 
  • Communications: Organization/completeness of proposal; writing skills, as shown through the submission and any submitted work samples.


1/9/17                 Request for proposal released

1/30/17              Deadline to submit questions regarding RFP

2/8/17               Proposal deadline

2/15-17/17       Consultant interviews

2/24/17              Consultant selection

3/10/17              Contract execution

3/13/17              Project commencement


Prospective consultants should submit documentation in sufficient detail to effectively present a proposal to the items requested.  Proposals should be as concise as possible without sacrificing clarity.

The proposal should include the following information, as previously requested or described in this RFP, in the following order:

  • Cover letter, briefly introducing the consultant and any proposed sub-contractors, if applicable.
  • Proposed Work Program, indicating the approach and steps that the consultant recommends to complete the work, and a timeline for key project steps. The work program should indicate your understanding of this project.
  • Résumés and a summary of project experience related to historic preservation, design guidelines, flood mitigation strategies in historic properties, application of FEMA flood mitigation requirements or other relevant work and why you are qualified to provide the requested services.  Include evidence of relevant experience that demonstrates your ability to successfully provide the services requested.  Specifically, the consultant should provide the following:
  • A brief explanation of why the applicant believes the consulting team is best able to complete the project – including a description of any unique qualities, expertise, or experience the firm(s) and individuals would bring to the project.
  • A brief summary of the consultant’s relevant experience, especially flood mitigation in historic properties, historic preservation and design experience. 
  • Assurance that the consultant team can complete the project within the time frame, with a description of other commitments the firm(s) will have during this period.
  • Names, qualifications, and résumés of individuals who will be directly involved in this project. Résumés should not exceed two pages in length.
  • Three references with key contacts and phone numbers.
  • An itemized budget which includes deliverables and each component of the work proposed.
  • Three (3) work product examples showcasing recent relevant projects, along with key contacts and phone numbers, and a very brief description of each project that includes a list of project team members.


Ina sealed envelope submit five (5) hardcopies of the proposal and a CD or a USB drive containing one consolidated digital copy of the entire proposal in PDF format.  Proposals should generally be printed on 8 ½” x 11” paper, but pages with organizational charts, matrices, or diagrams may be printed on larger sheets. Document pages should be numbered. Type size should be no smaller than 11 points for narrative sections, but may be reduced for captions, footnotes, etc. as required while still maintaining legibility. Proposals must be submitted to the City of Schenectady Department of Development by 4:00 pm on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. No submittal items will be accepted after the deadline. No fax or email copies will be accepted at any time. 

Deliver or send proposals to:

Rima Shamieh, AICP
Assistant Planner
City of Schenectady
Department of Development
105 Jay Street, Room 14
Schenectady, NY 12305

Non-conforming submissions may be removed from consideration. Proposals will be evaluated and all submitters will be notified of the results. The city reserves the right to reject any or all proposals.