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Bid Checklist

Thursday, October 02, 2003 05:37 pm

Bid Checklist

An accurate, thorough bid is an essential element in the contracting process. Yet the complexity of the documentation and the rush of final preparation create many potential pitfalls. The responsiveness, or acceptability, of a bid is one of the most frequently disputed issues in construction contracting.

This two-part article is intended to serve as a basic checklist of bid responsiveness, highlighting those items that commonly cause a bid to be challenged. Bidders should review their own bids for these potential problems. And, when advantageous, bidders should review competing bids after bid opening. Project owners, of course, have their own vital interests with regard to the sufficiency and conformity of bids and bid security. Owners need to be able to enforce their contract requirements and hold bidders to the stated price.

It will be noted that the cases cited in this article are from the federal contracting arena. Those rules are stricter - and more sternly enforced - than the competitive bidding rules in many state and local jurisdictions where there is a greater tendency to allow the discretionary waiver of "minor informalities."Additionally, the increased use of competitive negotiation procedures has altered the concept of bid sufficiency.

Nonetheless, a compelling argument can be made that regardless of the forum, every bid or proposal should be as accurate and complete as possible. Time invested at the outset can prevent subsequent disputes and misunderstandings. Timeliness

In order to be responsive, a bid must be timely. A bid received by the project owner after the stipulated deadline is not eligible for acceptance. The strict application of this rule on federal contracts has caused bidders to challenge these determinations down to the minute.

When the clock in the bid opening room ticked to the designated time - 3:00 p.m. - the bid opening officer could reasonably declare bidding closed. The officer was not obligated to wait until the clock moved to 3:01. Matter of Nueva Construction Co., Inc., Comp. Gen. No. B-270009 (January 16, 1996); CCM March 1996, p. 5.

Given the significance of the click of a clock, it is not surprising that questions arise as to which clock governs. It was ruled in one case that a procurement official reasonably relied on the clock closest to the designated delivery point and not on a clock in an adjacent confer [...]

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