I just caught this article from the Rocky Mount Telegram regarding last Thursday’s decision by the Rocky Mount City Council to award the $6.1 million Downtown Streetscape project to the apparent low bidder, T.A. Loving Construction Co., despite an objection from the third-low bidder, PLT Construction, that T.A. Loving’s bid was non-responsive.
At issue was T.A. Loving’s inclusion in its bid of a light fixture that did not comply with the project specifications and for which T.A. Loving failed to obtain pre-bid approval as required by the bidding instructions. Although the City Council initially considered re-bidding the project, it ultimately awarded the project to T.A. Loving, requiring in exchange that the contractor install spec-compliant light poles at the reduced price for the fixtures recited in its non-compliant bid.
The Telegram’s story suggests this arrangement will save the City of Rocky Mount $138,000 on the light fixture component of the project — i.e., more than 2% of the total value of the contract to be awarded. Simply put, not a bad deal for the City. But what about for the larger North Carolina contracting community? I have my doubts.