THE BIDDING PROCESS
Most State highway projects are bid on the second Tuesday of each month. There are 12 bid lettings each year. Approximately five weeks prior to the letting WisDOT alerts the contractors what projects are going to be bid the following month and gives the contractors access to the bid documents.
All contractors that bid, (called the “prime” contractor) on WisDOT projects have to be approved annually. This is to ensure that the contractor has the financial stability and technical ability to build a project. The prime contractor must build at least 30% of the project with their own staff and equipment.
- A bid bond is required for each bid submitted to assure WisDOT that the low bid contractor will be able to provide a performance bond and build the project.
- If federal funds are part of the funding source for a project that project will have a predetermined percent of the total bid that must be done by a minority or disadvantaged business enterprise.
- Typically a contractor will have around one month from when contract documents are released to the bid due date.
- Once contractors decide to bid a project they obtain bid documents from WisDOT and start the process of reviewing the plans and specifications.
- If a question arises or an error is found in the plans or specifications contractors will submit to WisDOT for review.
- If needed addendums are issued by WisDOT to the contractors to change plan sheets or special provision pages.
- After review the contractor will break down the contract bid items into different scopes of work. Some examples of the different scopes of work include: clearing and grubbing, earthwork, utilities, aggregate base course, electrical, concrete, asphalt, landscaping and pavement marking.
- The contractor will then send out Request For Quotes or “RFQs” to subcontractors and vendors for the different scopes of work.
- After review and RFQs are sent, contractors will complete thorough plan review, quantity verification, costing, and a review of existing site condition.
- Contractors will then determine unit prices for each item based on the quantity and amount of work it entails.
- The bid price is then calculated based on the total of the quantities and unit prices.
- Bids are submitted electronically for WisDOT review.
- Bid results are than posted electronically stating the total bid prices for all contractor submissions.
- When WisDOT accepts the low bidders bid, the bidder must provide a performance bond.
- Once the low bid is accepted by WisDOT a “notice to proceed” is sent to the contractor. For a variety of reasons it may be several weeks to several months before the notice to proceed is sent.