Important Issues to Know about Bids
Most construction projects begin with a request for a bid, in which contractors submit a detailed summary of the services they can provide, complete with an estimate on cost and time to completion. Bid solicitors take each submitted bid under advisement, and then award the contract to the winning bid. While, in many cases, the parameters of bids are set forth by the requestor, in terms of how long the project should take and the upper limit of the amount the requestor is willing to pay, this may not always be the case. Bids are especially prevalent in public construction projects, in which the contracting entity is a government agency.
Requirement for Bids
Florida law expressly requires all political subdivisions who wish to construct or improve a public building, structure, or other public construction work to entertain a competitive bidding process to choose a contractor. Competitive bidding is intended to be for the protection of the public, to insure against favoritism as well as the overpayment of such projects. By this process, each contractor is assured fair consideration of its bid, and can expect to be awarded authorization if the bid is the lowest responsible offer.
Bids are solicited through public notice, which provides various information as to what is expected regarding the project. Accordingly, it is important to understand the entire notice, not only to ensure that the contractor has the ability to meet the requirements, but also to understand the deadlines, as failure to meet such deadlines, and any other requirements of the bid will most likely cause the bid to be rejected. Additionally, bids, even if they estimate the lowest price, can be rejected for failure to specify contractors, failure to provide licensing identification information, or any number of reasons, so it is important to thoroughly understand the requirements. Better yet, work with an experienced attorney to ensure that these requirements are met.
In some cases, a bidder may be the lowest reasonable bid, but still be rejected. In these situations, the bidder is able to file a bid protest. To do so, the bidder must be able to show that, but for the error, the bidder would have been awarded the project. Generally, there is a time limit after a bid is announced by when a rejected bidder must file a notice to contest. Further, there is another time limit regulating when a formal notice of protest must be filed.
The formal notice must include specific details to support the bidder’s assertion that the project was awarded improperly. After the formal notice is filed, the government agency will stop the project until the dispute is resolved. A resolution will typically follow. If some type of an agreement cannot be reached, the matter will proceed to a hearing, where evidence and testimony can be presented to an administrative law judge. If proven, the initial award of the bid can be reversed and the project then awarded to the other bidder or all bids maybe discarded and the project rebid.
Seek Legal Advice
If you believe that you were not provided with a fair opportunity to have your bid heard, and are considering filing a bid protest, contact an experienced Florida construction attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. have experience in many aspects of construction law, including how to most effectively pursue a bid protest. We will analyze your particular circumstances and, if we believe you were wronged, will aggressively pursue a remedy on your behalf. Contact our Jupiter office today.