Responsible Bidding
Some public entities can be apprehensive about trying to enforce an RBO once adopted. Nobody wants more paperwork or confusing legal documents to wade through. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task though. Essentially, you just need to inform potential bidders about the ordinance. Most bidders that do not meet all the clauses will opt not to bid, or will take the steps necessary to comply.

“We have witnessed contractors who did not meet the standard of a “Responsible Bidder” but took the appropriate actions to come into compliance in order to be qualified for future projects.”
     - City of Ottawa Mayor Robert Eschbach

Pre-Screening Bidders

The best way for an RBO to work for you is to use it to screen out bidders that do not meet the qualifications before they ever submit a bid. If a bid is submitted by a contractor that does not comply and it turns out to be the low bid, yes, an RBO can be used to pass on that bid and accept a different bid. But that is not an ideal situation. Ideally, you’ll never even see a bid from a contractor that does not meet the criteria.

Every public body might have a different way of accomplishing the pre-screening process, depending upon their own traditional bid procedures. But two basic ways to inform bidders about the RBO and stop non-compliers from bidding are as follows:
Include the RBO in all pre-bid documents. Make sure contractors are aware of it before they bid, just as they need to be aware of prevailing wage requirements or any other important project specifications.
Use an affidavit checklist and have them sign it and submit it with their bid, verifying that they meet the qualifications.

Other Enforcement Considerations

We are here to help.

You can always contact us with any questions about RBO’s, including referrals to contractors who are likely to meet the qualifications or questions about how to determine if a bidder is in compliance or not.
Being affiliated with one or more unions is a good indicator that a contractor will meet the qualifications of a Responsible Bidder.

Nearly all unions already use apprenticeship programs that meet the qualifications outlined in RBO’s, so union signatory contractors will almost all easily clear that hurdle. They also will pay union scale, which almost always meets or exceeds the Prevailing Wage - another RBO requirement automatically met with a union signatory contractor.

Being affiliated with a union is not one of the qualifications contained in an RBO, nor does it guarantee compliance. Likewise, not being union signatory does not automatically disqualify any given contractor from being deemed “responsible.” Being a signatory contractor with a union is only an indicator that the contractor is
likely to meet all of the qualifications. Responsible Bidding is not about unions, it’s about fairness.


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