May the Best Bid Win

When executing the design of a security system, the bid award and contractor selection may be the most important part of the project. While it sounds like an easy task, choosing the wrong contractor for the desired security systems can be a nightmare.

01/01/2001


When executing the design of a security system, the bid award and contractor selection may be the most important part of the project. While it sounds like an easy task, choosing the wrong contractor for the desired security systems can be a nightmare. Contractors can go out of business, misrepresent their knowledge and experience and provide a low bid by not providing all of the services requested in the construction documentation. Often, a facility does not have the time nor resources to fully investigate the contractors.

A list of bidders should be determined and a letter of invitation sent requesting qualifications. By prequalifying the potential bidders, the project team and client get to know the bidder's background and experience prior to receiving a bid. Things to consider when qualifying a potential bidder include company size, how long they have been in business, knowledge and experience installing the systems desired, experience with similar projects, service capabilities and location. All this is done prior to issuing the bid package, which should be limited to prequalified bidders. Reproducing bid packages can be expensive. Prequalification is a wise approach to help ensure that only reputable contractors respond to the request for bids.

A prebid conference should be attended by contractors interested in bidding on the project. At this time the project and schedule can be reviewed, questions answered and the site surveyed by the potential bidders. After the prebid conference, contractors should be able to produce bids to complete the project.

Collecting and evaluating the bids is key to ensuring that the best contractor is awarded the project. In addition to comparing the bottom lines, the bids should be examined to ensure they contain all of the systems and equipment required to complete the project and meet the system and equipment specifications, as outlined in the construction documents. A written review and analysis should be created for the bids to include bid award recommendations. It is important to document this process in the event of challenges by competing contractors.





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