No matter the size, Baird, Hampton & Brown has assisted our local Texas municipalities with soliciting bids and selecting project contractors for over 25 years. Our proven experience has provided a range of clients with a smooth and efficient bidding and contract award process from start to finish.
In concert with each client, we develop a set of construction documents specifically meeting the project’s individual needs. Once these documents are finalized, we research and coordinate for the best methods to advertise the solicitation. Being sensitive to cost, we often select publications like the Fort Worth Commercial Recorder, as it is less costly, and still meets publication criteria. Our team will also make direct contact with a dozen or more trusted local contractors to inform them of the upcoming opportunity.
We often recommend a pre-bid conference to familiarize bidders with the project, identify any items requiring clarification, and prompt contractors to begin looking at the project as soon as possible.
Following a scheduled pre-bid conference, a public bid opening is held to share the details of each submission. Though bid openings are typically held in-person, and virtually in recent months, BHB also offers clients the opportunity to use CIVCAST1, an automated software allowing contractors to easily download plans, upload bids, and tabulate the results electronically.
Although we strive to structure the process, issues can still arise and cause delays. For example, a contractor’s busy schedule may not allow them to review the solicitation until a few days before the bid opening. This becomes a challenge when last-minute questions are submitted without appropriate time to respond. To combat this, we set a firm deadline for questions during the pre-bid conference that allows our team to publish the answer in a timely manner and leaves contractors ample time to update their submission. Should unavoidable last-minute questions arise, we are prepared to offer addendums and/or delay the bid date.
When all bid proposals are received, our Project Manager begins tabulating the data from each bid. “After checking for clerical errors, we compare the unit bid prices of the three lowest bidders to our opinion of probable cost (OPC), to assure the bids are reasonable, and not weighted”, says BHB Senior Civil Engineer, Konstantine Bakintas, PE.
Historically, municipal projects were awarded to the Lowest Responsible Bidder. However, the selection process has evolved to allow communities to choose contractors based on the Best Value Bid. To determine best value, our team considers several factors, such as a contractor’s relevant experience, relationship with the community, availability, bonding capacity, and references – in addition to the bid amount. The process requires our Project Manager and Principal-In-Charge to independently complete an evaluation matrix that awards points for each of the pre-defined criteria. We then share our results with the client and encourage their team to also complete the matrix, identifying the best value contractor.
Prior to issuing a recommendation to award letter, we thoroughly review the complete submittal, consult with the references provided, and discuss the project with the bidder. Lastly, we verify the bid bond is from a reputable company. Our letter of recommendation to award summarizes the bid tabulation, the best value bid matrix process, and our research. “Clients will not only get their project bid by a contractor who delivers quality work, but one that they can be assured will follow through and complete the project”, says Bakintas.
Beyond the initial bidding process, there are several construction administration and support services BHB can offer to assist public clients. If you’d like to discuss how we can support your community, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.