Public Works Bid Protests – Who Is Responsible? Who Is Responsive?

Public and Private buttons

A contractor should have a good understanding of the meaning of these terms to understand how to best present a bid protest on a low bid solicitation.

December 14, 2020
Eric Divine - Porter Law Group

Most Public Works Solicitations Are Low Bid

The process for awarding public works projects in California is controlled by the Public Contract Code. Generally, regardless of whether the public agency is the State, a county, a city or a local district, the project is awarded to the contractor who is “responsible” and submits the least expensive “responsive” bid. This is generally known as a “low bid” contract. In the context of public works, the terms responsible and responsive have very important meanings. As a result, State and local governments have gotten into very expensive trouble for not following the law. So, to understand how to best present a bid protest on a low bid solicitation, you, as a contractor should have a good understanding of the meaning of these terms.

Note: There are other methods of contracting for public works that are not low bid, which are typically called “best value” contracts because the procurement process considers factors other than just price. These methods are typically used for large projects because the added complexity and expense of the procurement process only makes sense when the project is itself complex and expensive.

Mr. Divine may be contacted at edivine@porterlaw.com



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