By Bruce Jervis
When public project owners solicit bids for construction contracts, they establish a deadline for submittal. But owners do not commit to awarding a contract immediately after bid opening. They often allow themselves 60, 90 or even 120 days to evaluate bids or proposals. Bidders assume prompt contract award at their peril.
The date of contract award has a significant impact on the scheduling of the work. A later award can push work into inclement weather, thereby increasing its cost. This was the experience of a contractor on a recent federal project.
Final proposals were due July 1, with the contract to be awarded within 90 days. The government awarded the contract on Sept. 20, well within the allowed period. The contractor, whose excavation work was pushed into the winter months, argued unsuccessfully that it had reasonably anticipated a prompter contract award.
Do project owners really need that much time to evaluate bids or proposals? While lengthy award periods may be comfortable for owners, they increase the uncertainty and risk for contractors. Wouldn’t shorter award periods encourage tighter bidding? Your comments are welcomed.