October 2002

Responsibility and responsiveness | Legal Corner

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Responsibility and responsiveness

by Stephen M. Phillips
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Editor's note: Following is the first in a two-part series about the competitive bidding process. Part two will be published in the December issue.

Virtually all public construction contracts are awarded through a competitive bidding process. Although bids often are solicited for private work, a private owner is free to award a contract to whomever he chooses using whatever criteria he desires. However, for public work, a public owner commonly will be required by statute or regulation to award a contract to the responsible bidder who submitted the lowest responsive bid.

If a contractor believes a public agency erred in accepting a bid, he can initiate a bid protest. A bid protest can be filed by a low bidder who was not awarded a contract or another bidder who believes the contractor who won the project did not submit a responsive bid or was not a responsible bidder.

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