Creating a construction bid is the foundation of any project. However, when bidding on infrastructure-related projects, like the building of roadways, there are additional things you must consider. In this article, an Orlando contractor lawyer with Cotney Construction Law discusses the most important considerations when crafting a bid for a government infrastructure project and how it differs from a bid for other non-infrastructure related bids.
Why Bid on Infrastructure-Related Projects?
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 2., The Moving Forward Act, a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill designed to bring increased focus on investments “in programs, projects and materials that emphasize resiliency while reducing carbon pollution from the transportation sector.” Among other investments, such as $100 billion into affordable housing infrastructure and $40 billion in wastewater infrastructure, this plan includes a $300 billion investment to fix structurally deficient bridges and roads. Bills like these make it far more lucrative and competitive for construction firms.
Considerations Before Crafting Your Bid
There are several things to consider before deciding to bid on an infrastructure project. These include:
- Financing: Before you bid on an infrastructure project, you’ll need to evaluate a number of factors to determine if bidding is a worthwhile venture. Financing is one of the most important factors you’ll come across in this process. Although previously it would have seemed that a project backed by the federal government would be guaranteed, that guarantee is less-likely during the pandemic. If the government should experience a fiscal freeze or shutdown, can your firm handle waiting for payment?
- Performance, Labor, and Materials: You must understand the specifications, performance, labor, and materials involved in the project. This can be trickier than usual during the pandemic.
- Relationship-Based Project Delivery: This method, also called project alliancing, allows contractors to step into a partnership role with others during infrastructure projects and resolve disputes internally without litigation.
Requirements for the Bid
Before crafting your bid, you may be required to attend a pre-bid meeting with a government representative to go over specifics. Skipping a pre-bid meeting takes away what could be your only chance to explore the site in person. In the event you are awarded the project, this could result in complications. A visit to the site can expose important factors such as limited accessibility or other variables that would result in additional costs. Knowing these things ahead of time is critical.
Then, you can get to work crafting your bid with the help of an experienced Orlando contractor attorney. These requirements are common in many projects but are important for infrastructure bids:
- Create an actionable timetable: The first requirement for an infrastructure bid is to create an actionable and reasonable timeline. The bid should address more than just the cost, which is why a timeline and an action plan are so important.
- Include subcontractor pricing: Of course, cost is important as well. As such, you should evaluate subcontractor pricing. Any miscalculation can skew your totals. You can do this using a prequalification process to assess actual costs.
- Calculate actual labor costs: Further, you should be aware of labor costs, including more than just pay. Labor costs will need to include potential absences and sickness, injuries, employee turnover, and benefits. Absences should also be factored into the final deadline set forth in the bid.
- Adhere to the deadlines set by the government: When bidding on a project for major infrastructure changes, like building roads or bridges, it is crucial that you pay attention to the deadlines set for submitting the bid, completing the project, and any other requirements requested.
In order to craft the bid, many contractors rely on bidding software to help them. Bidding software has a variety of benefits, the most important of which is job costing automation. You can determine a given job’s definition within your database and alter it to your specialized criteria. When you need an estimation of the cost, all you have to do is select the job, and the software does the rest. These machine-run computations can be more accurate than human arithmetic, and utilizing bidding software enables the collection of valuable long-term data. However, this software should be used in conjunction with guidance from an Orlando construction law firm.
Bid Protest Process
If you have submitted a bid and feel that you were wrongfully passed up for the project, you have legal recourse. Rules governing bid protests are outlined within Chapter 120.57 of the Florida Statutes and specify the timelines for filing the intent to contest and formal written notice, along with identifying which parties are eligible to file a bid protest.
To be deemed eligible to file a bid protest, you must be personally affected by the improper awarding of the contract because of a mistake made during the solicitation period. This is considered a standing to protest. For example, if you are the second-ranked bidder and you believe the contract was inaccurately awarded due to a flaw in the scoring process, you have substantial interest in the accuracy of the process because you are the next in line to receive the contract. On the other hand, if you are the third or fourth-ranked bidder, unless you can prove that all bidders in front of you were ranked in error, you do not have the standing to protest the bid because, even if the award is proven to be inaccurate, your firm would still not receive the contract.
If you would like assistance with a bid for an infrastructure project, contact Cotney Construction Law today. Cotney Construction Law’s experienced attorneys can provide sound legal advice to construction professionals at every level. Not only do we advise our clients on legal matters, but we also provide representation in court, mediations, and arbitrations, when necessary. We also advocate for clients involved in licensing complaints, OSHA citations, labor and safety violations, permitting issues, and stop-work orders.
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.