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Bidding in the Wrong Place at the Right Time

By Christopher D. Strang

The Massachusetts Attorney General Bid Unit recently held that an awarding authority should not re-bid a project where the original bid documents were confusing as to the address for submitting bids.

The Town of Weston solicited bids for an exterior duct work construction project. The Invitation to Bid listed one address, and the Instructions to Bidders listed a different address. In response to questions received on “addresses and dates” Weston issued Addendum 1, listing a third different address. Confusing things even more, it turns out that this third address in the Addendum was also a mistake. Two bidders submitted bids at the address listed in Addendum 1, while four others submitted bids at the address listed in the Instructions to Bidders.

The Attorney General decided that Addendum 1 overrode contrary bid documents, regardless of it actually being a mistake. The decision deemed the low bidder at the address listed in Addendum 1 as entitled to the contract, and ruled that the project should not be re-bid.

Bidders should use caution in reviewing addendums thoroughly and follow instructions accordingly. A full copy of the decision can be found here:  In Re: Town of Weston: Exterior Duct Repair, September 11, 2015, http://www.bpd.ago.state.ma.us/.

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