Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What Should a Contractor Know About Public Works?

It's a loaded question! The short answer is that a contractor should know a lot, often more than they do.

In today's economy, we're seeing many new contractors bidding on public works projects when previously they were in either the residential or commercial markets. They are often unaware of the laws and processes affecting public works contracting.

Without such knowledge, a public agency risks obtaining bids from contractors who have not put enough money into their bid, and the project may end up being a troubled project as a result.

Public agencies are seeing a significant number of bidders for each job and the prices are very competitive as contractors pare back on profit in an attempt just to keep their workers employed.

From a public agency perspective, it is wise to develop and provide training to the contractors who bid on their projects as part of educating them on public works contracting. Agencies could partner with other agencies to provide this training to contractors. If you're interested in discussing what this training might look like, please contact me.

We are in a very different market. If contractors are bidding and attempting to perform public works projects without the knowledge of what is really required, it may have very negative impacts on the project and the agency. We want to build systems and structures so that contractors are successful on the project.

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