Topic:
BIDS AND BIDDING; BUILDINGS (GENERAL); CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES; CONTRACTORS; GOVERNMENT PURCHASING;
Location:
CONTRACTORS; GOVERNMENT PURCHASING;

OLR Research Report


October 23, 2008

 

2008-R-0581

CRITERIA USED TO AWARD STATE BUILDING CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS

By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney

You asked for the criteria used in Connecticut and other states to award state building construction contracts. Specifically, you are interested in knowing whether all states award these contracts to the lowest bidder.

SUMMARY

We researched New England states and New York for the criteria they use to award state building construction contracts as opposed to state highway and bridge construction projects. Most of these states require that these contracts be awarded to the lowest responsible and qualified bidder based on competitive bids or negotiations. Some states vary the criteria based on the estimated cost of the construction project or the delivery method (e.g., the way the project is designed and performed). Each state law contains exceptions to state building construction procedures, including the criteria for awarding contracts. Table 1 shows New York and each New England state, a summary of the state's contract award criteria, and the statutory citation for the criteria.

TABLE 1: STATE BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AWARDS CRITERIA

States

Construction Contract Awards Criteria

Connecticut

CGS 4b-24, -91, and -100a

Generally, the public works commissioner must award contracts for the construction, reconstruction, alteration, remodeling, repair, or demolition of a state building to the lowest responsible, qualified, and prequalified general bidder on the basis of competitive bids. (The Joint Committee on Legislative Management and each constituent unit of higher education award contracts on buildings under their supervision using the same criteria.)

However, the commissioner may require that design-build projects be accomplished on a total cost basis. These contracts are awarded through a single contract with a private developer for acquisition, architectural design, and construction. The developer must be selected from a list of bidders recommended by the Construction Services Award Panel and ranked by qualifications. The commissioner provides, in writing, her reasons for selecting a bidder other than the most qualified.

Maine

MRS 5-1743

The Bureau of General Services must award contracts for any public improvement that costs $100,000 or more by competitive bid or by the bid method provided for alternative methods of project delivery. The bureau may reject any public improvement bid, qualification package, or proposal when it determines rejection to be in the state's best interest.

Alternate Delivery Methods:

Design-Build (e.g., a single construction firm is hired to design, build, and perform other construction-related services) - The bureau awards the contract to the proposer that meets all request-for-proposals requirements and has the lowest price per quality score point. (Quality means those features the bureau determines are most important to the project, including life-cycle costs, long-term maintenance costs, design quality, feasibility of construction, and service life.)

Construction-Manager-at-Risk (e.g., a single firm advises and consults with the bureau on design and construction and may perform all or a portion of the work on the project) – The bureau selects the most advantageous proposal that meets the published evaluation criteria.

Construction-Manager-Advisor (e.g., a single firm advises and consults with the bureau on design and construction, may consult with the bureau on design professionals, and manages the project's schedule and budget) – The bureau awards the contract to the lowest responsible and eligible bidder.

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws 149-44A

Every contract for the construction, reconstruction, installation, demolition, maintenance, or repair of any building by a public agency estimated to cost:

a. less than $10,000 must be awarded to the responsible person offering to perform the contract at the lowest quotation but the agency must seek quotations from at least three people who customarily perform the work being sought;

b. from $10,000 to $25,000 must be awarded to the responsible person offering to perform the contract at the lowest price;

c. from $25,000 to $100,000, except for a pumping station on a sewer or water construction project, must be awarded to the lowest responsible and eligible bidder on the basis of competitive bids; or

d. over $100,000 must be awarded to the lowest responsible and eligible general bidder on the basis of competitive bids.

New Hampshire

N. H. Rev. Stat. 21-1:78

Every contract for the construction, reconstruction, alteration, or maintenance of any building, plant, or facility by a public agency estimated to cost $25,000 or less may be performed by state employees rather than independent contractors. Contracts for projects estimated to cost in excess of $25,000 must be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder who meets all project specifications through competitive bidding.

New York

Public Building Law 8

All construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, or improvement contracts to improve any public building must be awarded to the lowest responsible and reliable bidder who best promotes the public interest. The comptroller must approve any contract awarded to a bidder other than the lowest responsible and reliable bidder.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws 37-2-18 to 37-2-22

Construction contracts in excess of $10,000 must be awarded to the responsive and responsible bidder whose bid is the lowest, lowest evaluated, or responsive bid price based on sealed competitive bids or competitive negotiations when sealed competitive bids are not practical. However, if there is only one responsive and responsible bidder, the awarding authority may negotiate with the bidder.

Vermont

Vt. Code 29-161

When the construction cost of any state project exceeds $50,000, the contract must be awarded to one of the three lowest responsible bidders, conforming to specifications. Consideration must be given to quantities involved, time required for delivery, the bidder's competency and responsibility, and the bidder's ability to render satisfactory service. However, design-build contracts must be awarded to the bidder determined to be the most responsive to evaluation criteria. These criteria may include physical plant characteristics proposed, program response to space needs, ability of the design-build team, anticipated development schedule, and overall cost considerations.

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