When Bad Things Happen to Bids: Strategies for Ensuring a Successful Public Construction Project

Non Accredited

   CH Classroom 7.5 Icon

Objectives and Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Recognize why bidders make mistakes in last minute bid preparation
  • Distinguish the difference between responsiveness and responsibility
  • Identify tools available to address bid price errors
  • Assess agency bid documents to reduce risks
  • Recognize when a bid guaranty should be forfeited
  • Evaluate whether a bid is materially unbalanced to the agency’s potential detriment
  • Identify bid protection strategies for preventing bids in excess of the available budget

Intended Audience

General Audience 


Despite the best efforts of public agencies, things often go awry during the bidding process, leading to disputes, delays, and litigation. Sometimes, these bumps along the road of bidding and award may be caused by honest mistakes or at times malicious methods of a bidder. At other times, the issues arise because the public agency isn’t well informed and hasn’t developed clear and protest-resistant bidding documents. With knowledge, careful strategies, well-crafted language in bidding documents, and an understanding of how contractors approach the bidding process, public agencies can reduce their risks and help ensure a successful rather than contentious and costly construction project. This practical and interactive course reviews common bidding issues, outlines best practices, and provides tools and strategies for public agencies to manage appropriately when bad things happen to bids. If you enjoy this course, we recommend these two complementary courses: Best Practices in Developing Public Construction Bid Documents and Tools for Ensuring Contractor Performance on Public Construction Projects. 

Course Outline

Is the Contractor Qualified?

Why Aren’t Bidders More Careful?

  • Why Do Bidders Make Mistakes?
  • Missing Bid Prices
  • Conflict Between Numbers and Words
  • Bid Calculation Errors
  • Claims of Error

Is Your Bidder Playing Games?

  • Bid is Too Low
  • Unbalanced Bids
  • Conditioned or Qualified Bids

Will the Real Low Bidder Please Stand Up?

  • Additive and Alternate Bids
  • Tie Bids
  • Responsive Bids
  • Responsible Bidders
  • Local Bid Preferences
  • Bid Protests and Appeals
  • Conflicts of Interest

What Can You Do to Manage Bidding?

  • What Should Be on the Bid Form?
  • Why Should You Limit Submissions with the Bid?
  • On What Days Should You Not Receive Bids?
  • When is a Bid Late?
  • When Should You Take a Bid Guaranty?


1 Day Course

Textbook provided

Key 7
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