The anatomy of a bid protest can be broken down into three sections. First, who can file a bid protest. Second, when to file a bid protest. And third, how to file a bid protest.
Who Can File a Bid Protest?
With regards to the first, who can file a bid protest, really anyone can file a protest that’s bid on the project. However, we recommend that the second or third bidder typically file a bid protest because the goal is to get to that first spot on the bid results.
When to File a Bid Protest
Second, when to file a bid protest. You can typically find when to file bid protests in the invitation for bid. The deadline is usually very short, around five days, so you want to make sure that when the bid results are released, you immediately request copies of the bids and any other documentation that you may need to file that bid protest.
How to File a Bid Protest
For the third section, how to file a bid protest. You’re typically going to put your bid protest in the form of a letter. You can contest two things: first responsibility of the bidder, and second responsiveness of the bid. With responsibility, you’re going to argue whether or not the bidder can perform the contract as promised. More specifically, responsibility includes the attribute of trustworthiness, but also has reference to the quality, fitness and capacity of the bidder to adequately perform the proposed work. Responsibility is subjective to the government entity’s discretion, so it’s a more difficult basis to contest the bid on.
Second is responsiveness. For responsiveness, you’re going to look at whether or not the bid promises to do with the bidding instructions demand. Any deviation from the bid would make it non-responsive. Examples of deviation from the bid include no bid security, if the contractor is not appropriately licensed, or if the contractor fails to list subs necessary to perform the scope of work.