Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lisbon's School Gym Bid Controversy ------ by Joe Hill

Recently Lisbon School Department solicited bids to build the new Gymnasium. A number of pre-qualified companies placed bids on the project believing that the lowest bidder would be awarded the contract. This process is undergone by hundreds of Towns each year and is generally considered to be the best way to find a suitable contractor for any construction project.

A deviation from this routine process came when Lisbon opened the bids and gave the contract to the second lowest bidder, (Ledgewood Construction). Ledgewood's bid was between $13,300 and $77,500 dollars more than the lowest bidder, Landry and French.

The School Departments decision was based on the belief that Ledgewood had a better working relationship with the architect than did Landry and French. The architect later denied this accusation and said he could work well with Landry and French thus removing the said reason for giving the bid to the second lowest bidder.

I have spent over 20 years dealing with construction companies including Ledgewood (a good company) and have never heard of a bid not going to the lowest bidder, especially when the bidders are pre-qualified. This just doesn't happen in the real world.

I don't think the average person understands that in order to bid on a contract, especially one the size of Lisbon's Gym, many hours of work goes into the bid. In some cases the building blueprints are bought not given to the bidding companies. Construction companies can have a lot of money invested in their bids.

This decision lets contractors know that Lisbon's pre-qualification means nothing. A construction company can spend money developing a bid and may not get the bid because someone doesn't like them as much as another company. This will come back and bite Lisbon in the future.

If this decision stands Lisbon will have problems getting contractors to bid on their projects. This will cost Lisbon many thousands of dollars in the future.

Lisbon School Department made a mistake. It is now time to correct this mistake and get on with building the new gym.

Joe Hill     

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