People rapidly become comfortable with evolving methods of transmitting information. Technology which was nonexistent a decade or two ago is accepted as commonplace. When it comes to soliciting and bidding public contracts, this can pose a problem. The rigid rules of procurement do not always accommodate contemporary technology.
In a recent case, a bonding agent sent a bid bond to a contractor preparing to bid on a federal construction contract. The bond was transmitted as an email attachment. The contractor downloaded the document, printed it and submitted the bond with its bid. The bid was low. But it was rejected because the bid bond had only a copy of the bonding agent’s signature, not an original signature.
The contractor protested that the Federal Acquisition Regulation allows copied signatures on power of attorney forms and the federal E-SIGN Act recognizes electronic signatures in interstate electronic commerce. These arguments were to no avail. The FAR expressly authorizes copied signatures on power of attorney forms but expressly requires original signatures on bid bonds. And the E-SIGN law exempts federal procurement actions.
What are your experiences in state and local contracting? Procurement rules are changing with the times, but are they changing rapidly enough? Have rules created to prevent manipulation become anachronistic impediments to efficient commerce?
Featured in next week's Construction Claims Advisor:
- Subcontractor Delay Claims Waived and Released
- Contractor Assumed Pricing Risk on Out-of-Scope Task Order
- Subcontract Reformed to Correct Duplicate Credit
Bruce Jervis, Editor
Construction Claims Advisor