Factors to Consider Before Filing a Bid Protest in Florida
When you have submitted a responsible, responsive bid for a public construction project in Florida, it is frustrating to learn that the agency will award the contract to another bidder. However, beyond your frustration, it may be against the law for a government body to go with another bid. There are specific requirements for bids, so Florida law allows for bid protests if a contractor believes that the project was not awarded in compliance with legal criteria.
The process for a bid protest is extremely complex, so you will be dealing with an array of deadlines, rules, and fees. Time is of the essence with pursuing legal action, and there are risks to understand before moving forward. You can trust a Florida bid protests attorney to advise you and handle the important tasks. As a practical matter, there are also some factors to consider before filing a bid protest in Florida.
Standing as a Qualified Protestor: You must have legal grounds to dispute the bid, a concept termed standing. This requirement essentially means that you must have been an actual contender to get the bid for your company, instead of further down on the list. The two important criteria for standing are:
- The bid must come from a responsible bidder, a contractor that possesses the skills and resources to do the job.
- Your bid must be responsive, in the sense that it complies with all criteria listed in the bid solicitation documents.
Without standing, a bid protest is probably unwise.
Time Must be on Your Side: After a notice of intent to award a bid is announced, contractors have 72 hours to begin the bid protest process. The first filing is a notice of intent to protest, which contains basic details on the grounds for the protest. Within 10 days after, you must file your formal written protest that includes thorough details on why the award was improper. Failure to meet deadlines will prevent your protest from moving forward.
You Must Arrange a Bond: It will be necessary to obtain a bond from an approved surety along with your bid protest, as a sort of insurance policy to cover the costs of the process. The amount is set by specific statute, so you should be prepared to pay the applicable bond.
You Need Solid Documentation: A successful bid protest will include a multitude of factual and legal evidence, particularly paperwork related to evaluating bids. Documents regarding bid solicitation, minutes from public meetings, the winning bid, and communications among the relevant parties are critical.
A Florida Construction Lawyer Will Counsel You on Bid Protests
You cannot expect an easy Yes or No when determining whether to pursue a bid protest, but these factors will help guide your decision making. Plus, when you have advice from experienced attorneys, you will better understand your options. To learn more, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. to schedule a consultation. You can reach our offices in Jupiter, FL by calling 561-626-8880 or going online.