Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When is the Last Day an Addendum Can Be Issued?

During the bidding process, public agencies frequently issue addenda to modify the bid documents.  

Evaluating the last day for an addendum:  The following are some of the factors that should be considered in determining the last day an addendum can be issued.
  • Laws and policies:  If there are any state laws or agency policies regarding the last day to issue an addendum, these should be followed.  In Washington state, there are no state laws governing this issue.
  • Bid documents:  Sometimes bid documents will establish a deadline for issuance of addenda.  There are risks in having such a deadline, especially if last minute issues arise that require an addendum to postpone the bid submission deadline.  It can be problematic to have language in the bid documents (or laws and policies) that restrict the last day for issuing an addendum.
  • Adequate time:  From my perspective, what should control the last day to issue an addendum for a project is whether there is sufficient time for bidders to review the modifications and make appropriate changes to their bid price.  For example, if an addendum is issued with significant changes two days before the bid submission deadline, it may be a good idea to also delay the bid submission deadline in order to provide bidders with sufficient time to understand the nature of the changes. On the other hand, an addendum issued two days before the bid submission deadline that has only minor changes to the bid documents may not require an extension of the bidding period.
Distribution of addenda:  Another factor to consider in making the decision on what is the last day to issue an addendum is whether the public agency has a comprehensive process to ensure that all bidders receive any addenda issued in a timely manner.  Electronic distribution of addenda helps ensure timely receipt versus sending a hard copy to all bidders on the plan holder's list.  Some agencies post all addenda to a website and place the responsibility on bidders to check the website prior to submission of a bid.  But for last minute addenda that are issued, it is a good idea for public agencies to reach out to bidders (perhaps by telephone) to make sure they are aware of the addenda.  This will help ensure that bidders are submitting a bid based on what the agency has specified, and can help avoid a non-responsive bid if a bidder fails to acknowledge receipt of a last minute addendum.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog 
© 2013 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC 

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