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Department of Administrative Services

Bid/Proposal Processes

For the purposes of this information the word "bid" represents RFIs, RFQs, RFPs, or RFBs.

  1. Issuing Officer
  2. Restriction on Communication
  3. Downloading the BID from the Internet
  4. Procurement Timetable
  5. Resource Information
  6. Lead Agency
  7. Vendors' Conference
  8. Questions, Requests for Clarification, and Suggested Changes
  9. Amendment to the BID
  10. Amendment and Withdrawal of Bid Proposal
  11. Submission of Bid Proposals
  12. Bid Proposal Opening
  13. Costs of Preparing the Bid Proposal
  14. Rejection of Bid Proposals
  15. Disqualification
  16. Nonmaterial Variances
  17. Reference Checks
  18. Information from Other Sources
  19. Verification of Bid Proposal Contents
  20. Bid Proposal Clarification Process
  21. Disposition of Bid Proposals
  22. Public Records and Requests for Confidential Treatment
  23. Copyrights
  24. Release of Claims
  25. Presentations
  26. Evaluation of Bid Proposals Submitted
  27. Award Notice and Acceptance Period
  28. Definition of Contract
  29. Choice of Law and Forum
  30. Restrictions on Gifts and Activities
  31. No Minimum Guaranteed
  32. Appeals
1. Issuing Officer

The Issuing Officer identified in the bid cover sheet is the sole point of contact regarding the bid from the date of issuance until selection of the successful Contractor.

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2. Restriction on Communication

From the issue date of a bid until announcement of the successful Contractor, Contractors may contact only the Issuing Officer. The Issuing Officer will respond only to written questions regarding the procurement process. Verbal questions related to a bid will not be accepted. Contractors may be disqualified if they contact any state employee other than the issuing officer about a bid except that Contractors may contact the State Targeted Small Business Office on issues related to the preference for Targeted Small Businesses.

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3. Downloading the BID from the Internet

The bid's Addenda are posted on http://bidopportunities.iowa.gov/. The Contractor is advised to check the website periodically for Addenda to the bid, particularly if the Contractor downloaded the bid from the Internet as the Contractor may not automatically receive Addenda. It is the Contractor's sole responsibility to check daily for Addenda to posted documents.

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4. Procurement Timetable

The dates provided in the procurement timetable on a bid cover sheet are provided for informational and planning purposes; however, the Lead Agency reserves the right to change the dates. If the Lead Agency changes any of the deadlines for Vendor submissions, the Lead Agency will issue an Addendum to the bid.

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5. Resource Information

Resource information regarding a bid may be available.

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6. Lead Agency

Lead Agency is the agency identified on the bid cover sheet as the Lead Agency and is the chief coordinator and issuer of the bid. The lead agency will also execute the Resulting Contract.

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7. Vendors' Conference

If the bid cover sheet indicates a Vendors' conference will be held in conjunction with the bid, it will be held at the date, time, and location listed on the bid cover sheet. The purpose of the Vendors' conference is to discuss with prospective Contractors the work to be performed and allow prospective Contractors an opportunity to ask questions regarding the bid. Verbal discussions at the Vendors' conference shall not be considered part of the bid unless confirmed in writing by the Lead Agency and incorporated into the bid. The conference may be recorded. Questions asked at the conference that cannot be adequately answered during the conference may be deferred. A copy of the questions and answers will be sent to Contractor.

If the bid cover sheet indicates the Vendors' conference is mandatory, the Agency shall reject Bid Proposals submitted by Vendors who do not attend the Vendors' Conference.

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8. Questions, Requests for Clarification, and Suggested Changes

Contractors are invited to submit written questions and requests for clarifications regarding a bid. Contractors may also submit suggestions for changes to the requirements of the bid. The questions, requests for clarifications, or suggestions must be in writing and received by the Issuing Officer before the date and time listed on the bid cover sheet. Oral questions will not be permitted. If the questions, requests for clarifications, or suggestions pertain to a specific section of a bid, the page and section number(s) must be referenced. Written responses to questions, requests for clarifications or suggestions will be sent on or before the date listed on the bid cover sheet to Contractors who received bids. The Lead Agency's written responses will be considered part of the bid. If the Lead Agency decides to adopt a suggestion that modifies the bid, the Lead Agency will issue an Addendum to the bid.

The Lead Agency assumes no responsibility for verbal representations made by its officers or employees unless such representations are confirmed in writing and incorporated into the bid.

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9. Amendment to the BID

The Lead Agency reserves the right to amend a bid at any time using an Addendum. The Contractor shall acknowledge receipt of an Addendum in its Bid Proposal. If the Addendum occurs after the closing date for receipt of Bid Proposals, the Lead Agency may, in its sole discretion, allow Contractors to amend their Bid Proposals in response to the Lead Agency's Addendum if necessary.

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10. Amendment and Withdrawal of Bid Proposal

The Contractor may amend or withdraw and resubmit its Bid Proposal at any time before the Bid Proposals are due. The amendment must be in writing, signed by the Contractor and received by the time set for the receipt of Bid Proposals. Electronic mail and faxed amendments will not be accepted. Contractors must notify the Issuing Officer in writing if they wish to completely withdraw their Bid Proposals prior to the due date for Bid Proposals.

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11. Submission of Bid Proposals

The Lead Agency must receive the Bid Proposal at the Issuing Officer's address identified on the bid cover sheet before the "Bid Proposals Due" date listed on the bid cover sheet. This is a mandatory requirement and will not be waived by the Lead Agency. Any Bid Proposal received after this deadline will be rejected and returned unopened to the Contractor. Contractors mailing Bid Proposals must allow ample mail delivery time to ensure timely receipt of their Bid Proposals. It is the Contractor's responsibility to ensure that the Bid Proposal is received prior to the deadline. Postmarking by the due date will not substitute for actual receipt of the Bid Proposal. Electronic mail and faxed Bid Proposals will not be accepted.

Contractors must furnish all information necessary to evaluate the Bid Proposal. Bid proposals that fail to meet the mandatory requirements of the bid may be disqualified. Verbal information provided by the Contractor shall not be considered part of the Contractor's Bid Proposal unless it is reduced to writing.

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12. Bid Proposal Opening

The Lead Agency will open Bid Proposals after the deadline for submission of Bid Proposals has passed. The Bid Proposals will remain confidential until the Evaluation Committee has reviewed all of the Bid Proposals submitted in response to the bid and the Lead Agency has announced a notice of intent to award a contract. See Iowa Code Section 72.3. However, the names of Contractors who submitted timely Bid Proposals will be publicly available after the Bid Proposal opening. The announcement of Contractors who timely submitted Bid Proposals does not mean that an individual Bid Proposal has been deemed technically compliant or accepted for evaluation.

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13. Costs of Preparing the Bid Proposal

The costs of preparation and delivery of the Bid Proposal are solely the responsibility of the Contractor.

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14. Rejection of Bid Proposals

The Lead Agency reserves the right to reject any or all Bid Proposals, in whole and in part, received in response to a bid at any time prior to the execution of a written contract. Issuance of a bid in no way constitutes a commitment by the Lead Agency to award a contract. A bid is designed to provide Contractors with the information necessary to prepare a competitive Bid Proposal. The bid process is for the Lead Agency's benefit and is intended to provide the Lead Agency with competitive information to assist in the selection of a Contractor to provide goods and/or services. It is not intended to be comprehensive and each Contractor is responsible for determining all factors necessary for submission of a comprehensive Bid Proposal.

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15. Disqualification

The Lead Agency may reject outright and may not evaluate Bid Proposals for any one of the following reasons:

  1. The Contractor fails to deliver the Bid Proposal by the due date and time.
  2. The Contractor fails to deliver the cost proposal in a separate envelope.
  3. The Contractor acknowledges that a requirement of the bid cannot be met.
  4. The Contractor's Bid Proposal materially changes a requirement of the bid or the Bid Proposal is not compliant with the requirements of the bid.
  5. The Contractor’s Bid Proposal limits the rights of the Lead Agency.
  6. The Contractor fails to include information necessary to substantiate that it will be able to meet a requirement of the bid.
  7. The Contractor fails to timely respond to the Lead Agency's request for information, documents, or references.
  8. The Contractor fails to include a bid bond, if required.
  9. The Contractor fails to include any signature, certification, authorization, stipulation, disclosure or guarantee.
  10. The Contractor presents the information requested by the bid in a format inconsistent with the instructions of the bid or otherwise fails to comply with the requirements of the bid.
  11. The Contractor initiates unauthorized contact regarding the bid with state employees.
  12. The Contractor provides misleading or inaccurate responses.
  13. The Contractor’s Bid Proposal is materially unbalanced.
  14. There is insufficient evidence (including evidence submitted by the Contractor and evidence obtained by the Lead Agency from other sources) to satisfy the Lead Agency that the Contractor is properly qualified to satisfy the requirements of the bid.

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16. Nonmaterial Variances

The Lead Agency reserves the right to waive or permit cure of nonmaterial variances in the Bid Proposal if, in the judgment of the Lead Agency, it is in the Lead Agency’s best interest to do so. Nonmaterial variances include minor informalities that do not affect responsiveness, that are merely a matter of form or format, that do not change the relative standing or otherwise prejudice other Contractors, that do not change the meaning or scope of the bid, or that do not reflect a material change in the requirements of the bid. In the event the Lead Agency waives or permits cure of nonmaterial variances, such waiver or cure will not modify the bid requirements or excuse the Contractor from full compliance with bid specifications or other contract requirements if the Contractor is awarded the contract. The determination of materiality is in the sole discretion of the Lead Agency.

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17. Reference Checks

The Lead Agency reserves the right to contact any reference to assist in the evaluation of the Bid Proposal, to verify information contained in the Bid Proposal and to discuss the Contractor's qualifications and the qualifications of any subcontractor identified in the Bid Proposal.

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18. Information from Other Sources

The Lead Agency reserves the right to obtain and consider information from other sources concerning a Contractor, such as the Contractor's capability and performance under other contracts, the qualifications of any subcontractor identified in the Bid Proposal, the Contractor's financial stability, past or pending litigation, and other publicly available information.

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19. Verification of Bid Proposal Contents

The content of a Bid Proposal submitted by a Contractor is subject to verification. If the Lead Agency in its sole discretion determines that the content is in any way misleading or inaccurate, the Contractor may be disqualified.

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20. Bid Proposal Clarification Process

The Lead Agency reserves the right to contact a Contractor after the submission of Bid Proposals for the purpose of clarifying a Bid Proposal to ensure mutual understanding. This contact may include written questions, interviews, site visits, a review of past performance if the Contractor has provided goods and/or services to the State or any other political subdivision wherever located, or requests for corrective pages in the Contractor's Bid Proposal. The Lead Agency will not consider information received if the information materially alters the content of the Bid Proposal or alters the type of goods and/or services the Contractor is offering to the Lead Agency. An individual authorized to legally bind the Contractor shall sign responses to any request for clarification. Responses shall be submitted to the Lead Agency within the time specified in the Lead Agency's request. Failure to comply with requests for additional information may result in rejection of the Bid Proposal as non-compliant.

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21. Disposition of Bid Proposals

All Bid Proposals become the property of the Lead Agency and shall not be returned to the Contractor at the conclusion of the selection process. The contents of all Bid Proposals will be in the public domain and be open to inspection by interested parties subject to exceptions provided in Iowa Code Chapter 22 or other applicable law.

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22. Public Records and Requests for Confidential Treatment

The Lead Agency may treat all information submitted by a Contractor as public information unless the Contractor properly requests that specific parts of the Bid Proposal be treated as confidential at the time of submitting the Bid Proposal. The Lead Agency's release of information is governed by Iowa Code chapter 22. Contractors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with chapter 22 before submitting a Bid Proposal. The Lead Agency will copy public records as required to comply with the public records laws.

Any request for confidential treatment of specific information must be included in the transmittal letter with the Contractor's Bid Proposal. In addition, the Contractor must enumerate the specific grounds in Iowa Code Chapter 22 or other applicable law which support treatment of the material as confidential and explain why disclosure is not in the best interest of the public. Pricing information cannot be considered confidential information. The request for confidential treatment of information must also include the name, address, and telephone number of the person authorized by the Contractor to respond to any inquiries by the Lead Agency concerning the confidential status of the materials.

Any Bid Proposal submitted which contains specific confidential information must be conspicuously marked on the outside as containing confidential information, and each page upon which confidential information appears must be conspicuously marked as containing confidential information. Failure to properly identify specific confidential information shall relieve Lead Agency or State personnel from any responsibility if confidential information is viewed by the public, a competitor, or is in any way accidentally released. Identification of the entire Bid Proposal as confidential may be deemed non-responsive and disqualify the Contractor.

If the Contractor designates any portion of the bid as confidential, the Contractor must submit one copy of the Bid Proposal from which the confidential information has been excised. This excised copy is in addition to the number of copies requested in the bid. The confidential material must be excised in such a way as to allow the public to determine the general nature of the material removed and to retain as much of the Bid Proposal as possible.

If Lead Agency receives a request for information marked confidential, written notice shall be given to the Contractor seven calendar days prior to the release of the information to allow the Contractor to seek injunctive relief pursuant to Section 22.8 of the Iowa Code.

The Lead Agency will treat the information marked confidential as confidential information only if a court of competent jurisdiction determines the information is confidential under Iowa Code Chapter 22 or other applicable law.

The Contractor's failure to request confidential treatment of material will be deemed by the Lead Agency as a waiver of any right to confidentiality the Contractor may have had.

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23. Copyrights

By submitting a Bid Proposal, the Contractor agrees that the Lead Agency may copy the bid Proposal for purposes of facilitating the evaluation of the Bid Proposal or to respond to requests for public records. The Contractor consents to such copying by submitting a Bid Proposal and warrants that such copying will not violate the rights of any third party. The Lead Agency shall have the right to use ideas or adaptations of ideas that are presented in the Bid Proposals.

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24. Release of Claims

By submitting a Bid Proposal, the Contractor agrees that it will not bring any claim or cause of action against the Lead Agency based on any misunderstanding concerning the information provided herein or concerning the Lead Agency's failure, negligent or otherwise, to provide the Contractor with pertinent information as intended by a bid.

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25. Presentations

Contractors may be required to make a presentation of a Bid Proposal. The presentation may occur at the Lead Agency's offices or at the offices of the Contractor. The determination as to need for presentations, the location, order, and schedule of the presentations is at the sole discretion of the Lead Agency. The presentation may include slides, graphics and other media selected by the Contractor to illustrate the Contractor's Bid Proposal. The presentation shall not materially change the information contained in the Bid Proposal.

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26. Evaluation of Bid Proposals Submitted

Bid Proposals that are timely submitted and are not subject to disqualification will be reviewed. The Lead Agency will not necessarily award any contract resulting from a bid to the Contractor offering the lowest cost to the Lead Agency and Participating Agencies. Instead, the Lead Agency will award the contract(s) to the Responsible Contractor(s) whose Responsive Bid Proposal the agency believes will provide the best value to the Lead Agency and the Participating Agencies.

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27. Award Notice and Acceptance Period

Notice of intent to award the contract(s) will be sent to all Contractors submitting a timely Bid Proposal and may be posted at the website shown on the bid cover sheet. Negotiation and execution of the contract(s) shall be completed no later than thirty (30) days from the date of the Notice of intent to award. If the apparent successful Contractor fails to negotiate and deliver an executed contract by that date, the Lead Agency, in its sole discretion, may cancel the award and award the contract to the remaining Contractor the Lead Agency believes will provide the best value to the Lead Agency.

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28. Definition of Contract

The full execution of a written contract shall constitute the making of a contract for the goods and/or services requested by a bid and no Contractor shall acquire any legal or equitable rights relative to the contract for goods and/or services until the contract has been fully executed by the successful Contractor and the Lead Agency.

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29. Choice of Law and Forum

A BID and the Resulting Contract are to be governed by the laws of the state of Iowa. Changes in applicable laws and rules may affect the award process or the resulting contract. Contractors are responsible for ascertaining pertinent legal requirements and restrictions. Any and all litigation or actions commenced in connection with a bid shall be brought in the appropriate Iowa forum.

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30. Restrictions on Gifts and Activities

Iowa Code Chapter 68B restricts gifts which may be given or received by state employees and requires certain individuals to disclose information concerning their activities with state government. Contractors are responsible to determine the applicability of this Chapter to their activities and to comply with the requirements. In addition, pursuant to Iowa Code section 722.1, it is a felony offense to bribe or attempt to bribe a public official.

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31. No Minimum Guaranteed

The Lead Agency anticipates that the selected Contractor will provide goods and/or services as requested by the Lead Agency. The Lead Agency will not guarantee any minimum level of purchases.

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32. Appeals

Appeals of the Notice of Intent to Award are governed by the Lead Agency's Contractor appeal process. Contractors may obtain information about the appeal process from the Issuing Officer.

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updated 12/9/08