Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Only 2 Things That Should Be Submitted with a Public Construction Bid

For most public works construction projects, there are only two documents that should be required to be submitted at bid opening time.  Depending on the project and specific requirements, there may be a couple of other items that should be submitted as part of a bid.

The 2 definite submissions:  In the interest of limiting the amount of work required of bidders during the last minute of preparing their bids, and to reduce the number of potentially non-responsive bids, the best practice is to limit submissions with the bid to the following two items:

  • Bid Form:  Make sure you provide a clear bid form for use by bidders and do not rely on them to provide prices in their own format, as that can result in bidders not bidding on all of the work.  Bid documents should require that only the authorized bid form be used.
  • Bid Guaranty:  A bid guaranty provides financial assurances of the bidder that they are committed to their bid price, that their bid is not frivolous, and that the bidder, if awarded the contract, will actually sign the contract.  Bid guaranties, often for 5% of the maximum amount that could be awarded, may take the form of a bid bond, cashier's check, or certified check.  Less frequently used bid guaranties are cash and personal money orders (which come with increased risks as to the financial viability and qualifications of the bidder). Some projects may not require a bid guaranty.  For example, in Washington state a bid guaranty is not required by state law for projects bid through the Small Works Roster process of RCW 39.04.155.  Even though it is not required by state law, it may nevertheless be required in the bid documents. 
The 2 possible submissions:  Depending on the project and funding sources, the following items may be required to be submitted with the bid:
  • List of subcontractors:  If state law requires such a list be submitted with the bid, this should be required.  In Washington state, RCW 39.30.060 requires that the bidder submit with the bid (or within one hour of the bid submittal deadline) a list of the subcontractors who will perform the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work, or to list itself as performing the work of these trades.  This requirement only applies for public works projects that are estimated to cost $1 million or more.
  • Federal forms:  If a project has federal or other funding sources that requires that certain documents be submitted with the bid, these should be required in the bid documents. 
Single signature with the bid:  If the project is not funded in whole or in part with federal funds, the bid form should be structured to include any and all certifications on the bid form so that one signature covers all certifications.  For example, some agencies will require a Non-Collusion Affidavit with the bid.  Instead of requiring bidders to complete and sign this as a separate document, include the language of the affidavit as part of the bid form.  There may be other certifications that can also be included on the bid form, all in the interest of simplifying the bid process and reducing the number of non-responsive bids.

With the bid or after bids are due?  Here's a quick checklist of how to approach what items should be submitted with the bid versus those requested after bid opening of the low bidder:
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2013 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

1 comment:

Jared said...

Thank you so much for spreading the word on this. This also saves that owner the heartbreak of paying more because of a typo on page 23 of a extraneous bid package, and gives us contractors confidence that the time (money) we spend on pages of extra documents is worth it.