When a public agency decides to move forward with bidding out a public project, advertising requirements come into play.
Different agencies will have different rules to follow based on their individual procurement policies, but all must abide by the requirements set forth in the Public Contract Code (PCC). Depending on the type of public agency, some of these include; notifying a maintained list of qualified contractors, sending bid invitations to construction trade journals, or posting in a local newspaper of general circulation. Advertising requirements such as these are put in place for a reason. Simply put, the wider your outreach, the more likely you are to receive the best price possible. This is important for public agencies, as the money they spend is coming from tax-payers.
In this day and age, expanding your search for a qualified contractor has never been easier. State-wide construction trade journals such as Construction Bidboard (www.eBidboard.com) and Dodge Data & Analytics (www.construction.com) are very useful resources for getting a project in front of a large audience of contractors. These websites post thousands of projects a day and provide details regarding the scope of work and deadlines for bids. In addition, there are numerous local trade journals, builders’ exchanges, and contractor associations spread throughout the state for advertising of projects online and to their memberships as well.
Another option which can be useful to agencies is to maintain a qualified contractors list. Directly reaching out to the contractor by way of mail, fax, or e-mail can draw a contractor’s attention and yield you a higher chance of getting more bids. Agencies who have opted into to the California Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act (the Act) can utilize this method as their sole advertising method on smaller projects (under $175,000). While it is not normally recommended to use only one avenue for outreach, it can be a way to speed up the procurement process on projects that are on a tight timeframe.
The timeless method of advertising a public project is to post in the classifieds of a local newspaper. This has been a method used for many years and can still draw a lot of success. However, combining this type of advertising with one (or both) of the methods listed above will surely get you more responsive and responsible bidders submitting proposals.
CIFAC recommends advertising in every way possible. We monitor public agencies to ensure they are abiding by the advertising requirements outlined in the PCC. Larger outreach not only helps to level the playing field for contractors, but it ends up saving the tax-payer and public agency money in the end. It’s a win-win for all.