Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bidders Arriving Late to a Mandatory Pre-Bid Meeting

Some public agencies require that attendance at the Pre-Bid Meeting for a public works construction project is mandatory in order to be eligible to submit a bid. 

Why mandatory meeting?  The purpose of requiring a mandatory attendance at a Pre-Bid Meeting is to ensure that the bidders fully understand the project site and can submit an appropriate bid. 

Late arrival at meeting:  If a bidder arrives late (how late is too late?) at a mandatory Pre-Bid Meeting, it negatively impacts their ability to see the entire site and fully understand the project.  Some public agencies will include language similar to the following in either the advertisement and/or Instructions to Bidders:
Bidders arriving more than 10 minutes late will not be admitted to the mandatory Pre-Bid Meeting.
Failure to attend mandatory meeting:  When an agency requires mandatory attendance at a Pre-Bid Meeting, they will not accept a bid from bidders who did not attend the meeting and sign in on the attendance list for the meeting.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC


Charlie klz said...


Its the first time that i am reading this....well as bidders should attend pre-bid meetings, i think barring them from bid submission in case they arrived late is really unfair!!...Remember some bidders are more technical than the client and thus understand the issues more than us. But also, let me ask: In case you are sure that the bidding document (BOQs, BOM etc) is exhaustive enough, why force compulsory attendance....its a sign that the architects is the project are not very well conversant or there are certain issues where u feel the bidders could help you clarify more.

Mike Purdy said...

It is never possible to have a 100% complete and clear set of plans and specifications so there are no questions or ambiguities about what is supposed to be constructed. That's just the nature of the design process and the nature of construction is that there are always changes. You may have a very qualified architect or engineer, but contractors approach construction projects differently since they have to actually build them. Some projects have limited access because of security and it's important for the contractor to actually see the conditions under which they will work. Public agencies actually get better and more realistic bids if they have contractors see the project site, and sometime making attendance mandatory makes sense, but certainly not in all cases. Is it fair to not accept a bid from a contractor who showed up at the mandatory pre-bid meeting late? If they haven't really seen the project, then the purpose of having the mandatory pre-bid meeting isn't met. Pre-bid meetings and mandatory pre-bid meetings are tools for public agencies to help ensure that the bids received reflect a clear understanding of the project - an understanding that can't always be obtained just from reviewing the plans and specifications.