Why A Florida Construction Attorney Is Essential For Bid Protest Settlement Conferences
You invest a lot of time and effort to submit a bid for public construction in Florida, from reviewing the project specifications to detailing the cost, scope, and schedule. Therefore, it is disappointing to learn that the government agency has issued a Notice of Intent to Award the project to another contractor. Fortunately, all is not lost. Florida law provides a bid protest process by which an unsuccessful candidate can counter the decision before the project gets underway. By filing proper documents according to the respective deadlines, you can request a hearing to officially protest acts by the awarding agency that you contend are wrongful.
Still, there is another step prior to going to a hearing on the matter. Administrative regulations in Florida require that the agency hold a settlement conference, encouraging resolution of disputes before the cost, time, and effort of a hearing. This conference should be viewed as an opportunity rather than a requirement. You make the best of it when you have a Florida bid protests and disputes attorney on your side to assist with:
Preserving Your Bid Protest: Once the agency issues its Notice of Intent to Award a construction project to a contractor, the clock starts to run on two important deadlines. Your lawyer will track the time and assist with the documents associated with these deadlines:
- You must file a Notice of Intent to Protest the agency’s decision within 72 hours after it is posted. This document does not need to include all specifics about the matter you are contesting, but it must contain basics to identify the case.
- You will need to follow up with a Petition to Protest the bid within 10 days. It is necessary to include all relevant details to support your argument about how the agency erred with its decision.
Evaluating the Points to Contest: There are multiple factors that the protesting contractor will usually dispute, and they may include:
- A challenge based upon the specifications, such as the winning bidder failing to be responsive to the plans;
- Contesting the intended decision, especially where the agency did not follow its rules for soliciting and awarding the bid; and
- Anomalies in the bid process that gave the winning contractor an unfair advantage.
Managing Settlement Discussions: Within 7 days after receiving the official Petition to Protest the agency’s decision, it is required to attempt resolution of your bid protest. Potential remedies in your favor might include changing the intended award or rejecting all bids, and the process may need to start anew. Your attorney plays a vital role during these discussions by stressing important facts and making arguments about how the process was unlawful.
Our Jupiter, FL Bid Protests Lawyers are Ready to Support You
To learn more about the settlement conference that must precede a hearing for bid protests, please call Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. at 561-626-8880 or visit us online. Our team serves construction professionals throughout Palm Beach County and South Florida, so we are happy to schedule a consultation.