Government entities in the State of North Carolina are allowed to prequalify bidders on public construction projects in order to ensure that only the most capable contractors are chosen to undertake these projects. There are specific guidelines by which government entities can go about prequalifying bidders. In this two-part series, a Greensboro construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law will be discussing the prequalification process and what it means for contractors in the Tar Heel State.
What is Prequalification?
North Carolina law defines prequalification as “a process of evaluating and determining whether potential bidders have the skill, judgment, integrity, sufficient financial resources, and ability necessary to the faithful performance of a contract for construction or repair work.” This prequalification process occurs prior to any bids being received. In addition to reducing the risk of delays, construction defects, and wasted taxpayer money, this process is designed to weed out contractors that are unqualified for a specific job.
Prequalification may be employed only if the government entity is: using an approved construction method as described in G.S. 143-128(a1)(1) through G.S. 143-128(a1)(3), using an “objective prequalification policy” before advertising the contract, and using that specific project’s criteria, including a scoring system for prequalification.
What are the Criteria for Prequalification?
Government entities are required to implement a prequalification policy that includes the following aspects:
- Must be “uniform, consistent, and transparent” in its treatment of bidders
- Allow all prequalified bidders to bid on the project
- Create criteria that applies to the project
- Treat bidders equally regardless of previously awarded projects
- Allow bidders to submit prior experience on similar projects
- Inform denied bidders accordingly
In addition to the above, government entities are required to allow bid protests. As a contractor, it is imperative for you to understand this process. Even with the strict guidelines above, lucrative projects can still be denied to qualified bidders and awarded unfairly to others. In part two, we will be discussing North Carolina’s bid review process and appeals process.
If you’ve been denied the opportunity to bid on a public construction project, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with this process and all the options available to you. For a legal partner that can guide you through this difficult process, consult with an experienced Greensboro construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law.
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.