Louisiana's Public Bid Law

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By G. Trippe Hawthorne

Act 759 of 2014 updated and amended a number of aspects of Louisiana’s Public Bid Law, set out at La. R.S. 38:2212, et seq. The 2014 Amendments included the following:

  • A Public bid opening is no longer required. La. R.S. 38:2212.A.(3)(g)(iii), which previously provided, “[a]ll construction contracts on public works shall be opened in a public meeting” was deleted;
  • The requirement to provide “10 Day documents” (attestation affidavits; E-verify, etc…) only applies to the apparent low bidder (with the exception of East Baton Rouge Parish, which requires some documents to be filed prior to bidding) La. R.S. 38:2212.B(3)(a) and (b);
  • Written words expressly govern in the event of a conflict between words and numbers for the base bid total and alternate bids. La. R.S. 38:2212.B(6)(b);
  • Unit prices govern if there is a discrepancy between the base bid total and extended unit pricing. La. R.S. 38:2212.B.(6)(c);
  • The Contract Limit is no longer a static $150,000. It will be adjusted to CPI after February 15, 2015. La. R.S. 38:2212.C(1);
  • Submitted bid documents will be made available for public inspection no sooner than the earlier of (i) 14 days after the bid opening or (ii) the recommendation of award by the public entity or design professional. La. R.S. 38:2212.H;
  • Projects cannot be advertised if the public entity does not have sufficient funds budgeted to meet the “Probable construction costs” which will be announced at the bid opening or posted electronically. La. R.S. 38:2212.H;
  • Bidders must attend (and stay at) any mandatory pre-bid meeting. La. R.S. 38:2212.I;
  • Additional details as to the procedures for the due process hearing required to declare a bidder non-responsible are filled in. La.R.S. 38:2212.X; and
  • The deadline for awarding or rejecting all bids has been unified at 45 days (the State of Louisiana had previously been under a 30 day deadline); the 45 day deadline can be extended by agreement between the awarding authority and the apparent low bidder. La. R.S. 38:2215.

It is noteworthy that these amendments to the Public Bid Law did not include any changes apparently intended to soften the current climate of “ultra-strict” construction of bid responsiveness required by Hamp’s Const., L.L.C. v. City of New Orleans, 2005-0489 (La. 2/22/06), 924 So. 2d 104, and illustrated in cases such as Roof Technologies, Inc. v. State, Div. of Admin., Office of Facility Planning & Control, 2009-0925 (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/28/09), 29 So. 3d 621, 621 (La. Ct. App. 2009).