Local, state, and federal governments are required to procure services and vendors in an open, free environment granting equal opportunity to each bid submitted. Upholding the sanctity of this process and ensuring no mistakes are made during the bid evaluation period is critical to small businesses who rely on government contracts.
If you suspect a bid was improperly awarded, you have the right to protest the bid. This process, however, can be complicated and requires a prompt response from you, your company, or your Brandon contractor attorney.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most common reasons a government bid is protested.
1. Awarded to an Irresponsible or Unresponsive Bidder
During the review process the board or selection committee evaluating the bids will determine if bidders are responsible and responsive and should eliminate bids where these two characteristics are not present. Qualifying as a responsible bidders means a firm is able to perform the contract. If a firm has a history of not fulfilling past contracts, is unlicensed, or has criminal convictions, they should be deemed irresponsible. If this does not happen and the company is awarded the contract, you have the right to protest the bid.
The second factor that the board or selection committee should identify is whether the bid is responsive or unresponsive. This simply means that in order for a bid to be considered, it must be filed and filled out exactly to the specifications outlined within the bid application. If even one section of the bid is improperly done, the bid should be rejected. If this does not happen, however, and an award is given to an unresponsive bid, you have a right to file a bid protest.
2. Bid Mistakes Present in the Application or During Scoring
Inconsistencies should not be present during the solicitation period, on the bid application, or during scoring. Each bidder should be given the same information and no variations should occur during any part of the process. It is each bidder’s responsibility to provide accurate information. If, for example, the math is incorrectly performed by either side, the wrong scope of work is provided, parts of the application are missing, or any other intentional or unintentional mistake is made that will disrupt a fair evaluation of the bid, you have the right to take further action.
In regards to scoring, a bid is awarded based on a numerical value given during the evaluation period. Each section of the application will be given a number and tallied for the coordinating company. The bidder with the highest or lowest score should receive the contract. If there is in error in the evaluation process, this also warrants a bid protest.
3. Relationship or Communication with Bid Evaluators
The board or committee evaluating the bids should be impartial in their decision making and scoring. This, unfortunately, is not always the case. Whether it be favoritism towards a bidder or bias against another, no application should be given more or less favor based off of a personal or past relationship with one or all of the bid evaluators.
Another issue that may arise is communication during the bidding process. Often, there will be a Cone of Silence during the duration of a bidding period. This means that no one except the point of contact for the solicitation should be in contact with anyone from the government agency.
Protest a Government Bid with Cotney Construction Law
If you believe a government bid has been improperly awarded and want to file a bid protest, our contractor attorneys in Brandon can guide you through process. There is a very small window for filing the intent to protest and the formal written protest, so information should be gathered immediately following the announcement of the bid winner. The guidelines for filing a bid protest are extremely specific, so it is strongly recommended to seek out a Brandon contractor lawyer with an expert understanding of the construction industry and government bid process.
Please call us at 813.579.3278 or submit our contact request form to speak with a qualified and experienced contractor lawyer.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.