Department of Administration Holds Listening Session on Bid Errors

June 10, 2009

David W. Helbach, Administrator for the Division of State Facilities in the Wisconsin Department of Administration (“DOA”) and Secretary of the State Building Commission, held the DSF Listening Session on Bidding Procedures to listen to contractors, architects and subcontractors regarding how to improve the State of Wisconsin Bidding Process on offices on Thursday, May 28, 2009.

Mr. Helbach opened the meeting by explaining that most of the State buildings are covered by Wis. Stat. 16.855 and Admin. 21 regarding its rules. There are obviously other documents, including project documentation from instructions to bidders and internal DOA policies.

There are five common errors found in building as follows:

  1. Alternate Bid. Article 18 requires that the bidders place a “0” on this alternative bid number box. Article 15 says that you can put “N/A” on the regular bid. The discrepancy between Article 15 and Article 18 seems to cause a number of problems.
  2. Individuals not signing the bid or signing the bid bond as required by Article 15.
  3. Failure to acknowledge receipt of addendums with the bid form.
  4. Unsolicited writings on the bid form.
  5. Bidding on the wrong line or on the wrong form.

Mr. Helbach explained that Article 18 was changed approximately three or four years ago for complaints regarding DOA using its discretion on Article 18 to waive “errors”. A lot of this could be taken care of with electronic bidding, which would allow for required fields to be filled before the bid would be accepted by the system.

Another issue came out that the list of subcontractors which was provided within seven days of bid submittal is not being followed closely. Some contractors do a very good job with this. Others are lackadaisical, at best. If the DOA wants to be consistent, they should consistently address this issue as well.

Other issues discussed were being more clear on 10-day rules and other issues. A suggestion was made that submittal dates on each bid should given rather than having a 10-day rule and argue business days versus calendar days.

It was also discussed that possibly Article 15 and Article 18 should be combined to eliminate potential confusion.

If you wish to provide comments on the Bidding Procedures, e-mail Mr. Helbach at