Bid protests are the focus of my inaugural Friday Forum, as I’ve been inspired by this compelling tweet yesterday from Birmingham, Alabama construction attorney Burns Logan:
The linked story by Lisbon, Ohio’s Morning Journal discusses the dismissal of a lawsuit asserted by an architectural firm against an Ohio school board alleging the wrongful award of a design contract to one of the firm’s competitors. The problem with the suit, as the judge apparently saw it, was its untimeliness. Construction on the project had already begun, and a substantial amount of money already had been paid to those involved.
By way of example, the design firm chosen for the project had substantially completed its work and been paid more than $1 million for its services. The construction manager had been paid more than $100,000 for its pre-construction services, had billed more than $3 million in site prep work and had entered into numerous subcontracts for the project.
That’s a lot of water under the bridge before seeking to protest, as I observed in response to Burns’ chirp:
Whether you’re an architect or a prime contractor, you don’t have time to waste if you believe that a public procurement has been improperly administered. Once the contract you’re seeking is awarded to a rival, and even if you’re bid protest has merit, you are unlikely to recoup any meaningful damages beyond your bid preparation costs. To protect your rights, you need to stop the public owner from awarding the contract, either voluntarily or through judicial process, now.