Bid and Public Contracting: How to Do Business with a Public Agency

Unlike private commercial and residential construction projects, public construction projects are subject to a great deal of regulation.

In order to bid for a public project, most New York City agencies require prequalification of the contractor. For more information on prequalification requirements, visit www.nyc.gov. New York State agencies do not usually have formal prequalification requirements.

With over 25 years of experience in construction law, the Law Offices of Michael P. Berkley, P.C., can assist you in the public bidding process and help guide you through the contract and project performance phases, and of course, getting paid.

Call us today at 888-512-5875 to schedule a free consultation to discuss how to do business with a public agency.

Based upon the competition bidding laws, the contract will be awarded to the "lowest responsible bidder." There can be a number of different aspects to bidding a public project, including:

Please see these sections for more information or call our office at 888-512-5875 to schedule a free initial consultation.


The Secrets to a Winning Proposal

It is extremely important to carefully read the Information for Bidders (IFB) for New York City projects and the Request for Proposal (RFP) for New York State projects to ensure strict compliance with all of the bid requirements. Once you have determined what is needed, you must complete all of the required forms for submission. Since most contractors cannot do-it-all, it is necessary to develop a team of subcontractors and vendors to complete the project. Public agencies like to see that your team has experience working together and meets project deadlines. Customize your marketing materials, including your resume, to show that your experience is relevant to the project. For example, let the agency know if you have completed that particular kind of project before or if you have performed a prior phase of the project successfully. Use clearly labeled tabs to separate and to identify each document for a well-organized bid package, so that the public agency can easily find the relevant documents. Remember to re-read the IFB or RFP and make sure that your bid proposal conforms to it. If you notice any ambiguities in the IFB or RFP, call the agency for clarification prior to submitting your bid.


Wicks Law

State Finance Law Section 135, also known as "Wicks Law," requires, generally, when the cost of work on a public contract exceeds $1.5 million outside New York City, and $3 million in New York City, that separate specifications be provided for bids on the following:

  1. Plumbing and gas fitting;
  2. Steam heating, hot water heating, ventilator and air conditioning apparatus; and
  3. Electric wiring and standard illuminating fixtures.

The Wicks Law exists so that the work can be contracted to contractors with specific expertise in these fields.


Bid Bonds

Many public agencies require a bid bond to be secured and submitted with the bid package. The purpose of the bid bond is to protect the public owner in the event the contractor does not properly complete the project. Since our office is networked with many construction professionals, we can refer you to a professional at a bonding company to assist you in securing a bid bond.


After the Contract has Been Awarded

Congratulations, the public agency has determined that you are the "lowest responsible bidder" (you possess the skill, judgment and integrity to fully perform the project) and you have been awarded the contract! Generally, the public agency will send you a "Notice to Proceed" letter to commence the performance of work on the project. The Notice to Proceed includes a requirement for the project to be completed by the date specified in the IFB or the contract.


Delays or Additional Work

If there are delays in performance through no fault of the contractor, the Law Offices of Michael P. Berkley, P.C., can assist you in obtaining an extension of time to complete the project. Also, if you are directed to perform "extra work" (work not contained within the contract or specifications), let us assist you with being properly protected so that you get paid for the extra work and time.


Contact a Skilled Manhattan Construction Attorney

Call 888-512-5875 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced construction lawyer. Our phone is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For your convenience, evening and weekend appointments, as well as construction site visits, are available.