Section 1600.2010  Competitive Sealed Bidding


a)         Application

Competitive sealed bidding is the required method of source selection except as allowed by the Code and this Part.  The provisions of this Section apply to every procurement required to be conducted by competitive sealed bidding.


b)         The Invitation for Bids


1)         Use.  The Invitation for Bids is used to initiate a competitive sealed bid procurement.


2)         Content.  The Invitation for Bids shall include, at a minimum, the following:


A)        instructions and information to bidders concerning the bid submission requirements, including the time and date set for receipt of bids, the address of the office to which bids are to be delivered, and the maximum time for bid acceptance;


B)        the purchase description, evaluation factors, delivery or performance schedule, and such inspection and acceptance requirements as are not included in the purchase description; and


C)        the contract terms and conditions, including warranty and bonding or other security requirements, as applicable.


3)         Incorporation by Reference.  The Invitation for Bids may incorporate documents by reference provided that the Invitation for Bids specifies where such documents can be obtained.


c)         Bidding Time

Bidding time is the period of time between the date of notice or distribution of the Invitation for Bids and the time and date set for receipt of bids.  In each case, bidding time will be set to provide bidders a reasonable time to prepare their bids.  A minimum of 14 days shall be provided unless a shorter time is authorized by the Code or this Part.


d)         Bidder Submissions


1)         Bid Form.  The Invitation for Bids may include a form or format for submitting bids.  If a form or format is specified, vendor shall submit bids as instructed.


2)         Bid Samples and Descriptive Literature


A)        Bid samples or descriptive literature may be required when it is necessary to evaluate required characteristics of the items bid.


B)        Unsolicited bid samples or descriptive literature is submitted at the bidder's risk, may not be examined or tested, will not be deemed to vary any of the provisions of the Invitation for Bids, and may not be utilized by the vendor to contest a decision or understanding with the OLG.


e)         Public Notice


1)         Publication.  Every procurement for supplies and services in excess of the small purchase amount that must be procured using an Invitation for Bids shall be publicized in the Illinois Procurement Bulletin (see Section 1600.1510).


2)         Public Availability.  A copy of the Invitation for Bids shall be made available for public inspection.


3)         Distribution.  Invitations for Bids or Notices of the Availability of Invitations for Bids may be mailed or otherwise furnished to a sufficient number of bidders for the purpose of securing competition.  Notices of Availability shall, at a minimum, indicate where Invitations for Bids may be obtained; generally describe what is needed; and indicate the due date for bids.  Where appropriate, the Procurement Officer may require payment of a fee or a deposit for supplying the Invitation for Bids.


f)         Pre-Bid Conference

A pre-bid conference may be conducted to enhance understanding of the procurement requirements.  The pre-bid conference shall be announced as a part of the Invitation for Bids notice.  The conference may be designated as "attendance mandatory" or "attendance optional".  The conference should be held long enough after the Invitation for Bids has been issued to allow bidders to become familiar with it, but sufficiently before bid opening to allow consideration of the conference results in preparing their bids.  Nothing stated at the pre-bid conference shall change the Invitation for Bids unless a change is made by written modification to the Invitation for Bids. Amendments shall be supplied to all those prospective bidders known to have received an Invitation for Bids.  If the conference is mandatory, the amendment shall be supplied to attendees only.


g)         Amendments to Invitations for Bids


1)         Form.  Amendments to Invitations for Bids shall be clearly identified and shall reference the portion of the IFB it amends.


2)         Distribution.  Amendments shall be made available to all prospective bidders known to have received an Invitation for Bids.


3)         Timeliness.  Amendments shall be made available within a reasonable time to allow prospective bidders to consider them in preparing their bids.  If the time and date set for receipt of bids will not permit such preparation, the amendment shall extend the response time.  If necessary, the response time may be extended by fax or telephone and confirmed in the amendment.


h)         Pre-Opening Modification or Withdrawal of Bids


1)         Procedure.  Bids may be modified or withdrawn by written notice received in the office designated in the Invitation for Bids prior to the time and date set for bid opening.


2)         Disposition of Bid Security.  If a bid is withdrawn in accordance with this Section, the bid security, if any, shall be returned to the bidder.


3)         Records.  All documents relating to the modification or withdrawal of bids shall be made a part of the appropriate procurement file.


i)          Receipt, Opening and Recording of Bids


1)         Receipt.  Upon its receipt, each bid and modification shall be time-stamped but not opened and shall be stored in a secure place until the time and date set for bid opening.  If a bid is opened in error, the file shall so state.


2)         Opening and Recording


A)        Bids and modifications shall be opened publicly at the time, date, and place designated in the Invitation for Bids. Opening shall be witnessed by a State employee or any other person present, but the person opening bids shall not serve as witness.  The name of each bidder, the bid price, and such other information as is deemed appropriate by the Procurement Officer shall be recorded and the name of each bidder read aloud or otherwise made available. The name of the witness shall also be recorded at the opening.


B)        The winning bid shall be available for public inspection after award, along with the record of each unsuccessful bid.


j)          Bid Evaluation and Award


1)         General.  The contract is to be awarded to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder whose bid meets the requirements and criteria set forth in the Invitation for Bids, except as permitted in the Code and this Part.  The Invitation for Bids shall set forth the requirements and criteria that will be used to determine the lowest responsive bidder.  No bid shall be evaluated for any requirements or criteria that are not disclosed in the Invitation for Bids.


2)         Responsibility.  Responsibility of prospective vendors is covered by Section 1600.2045 (Responsibility) of this Part.


3)         Responsiveness.  A bid must conform in all material respects to the Invitation for Bids.


A)        Product or Service Acceptability.  The Invitation for Bids shall set forth any evaluation criteria to be used in determining product or service acceptability.  It may require the submission of bid samples, descriptive literature, technical data, references, licenses, or other information or material.  It may also provide for accomplishing any of the following prior to award:


i)          inspection or testing of a product or service prior to award for such characteristics as quality or workmanship;


ii)         examination of such elements as appearance, finish, taste, or feel;


iii)        other examinations to determine whether it conforms with any other purchase description requirements.


B)        The acceptability evaluation is not conducted for the purpose of determining whether one bidder's product or service capability is superior to another, but only to determine that a bidder's offering is acceptable as set forth in the Invitation for Bids.  Any bidder's offering that does not meet the acceptability requirements shall be rejected.


4)         Determination of Lowest Bidder.  Following determination of product or service acceptability as set forth in this subsection (j), bids will be evaluated to determine which bidder offers the  lowest cost to the State in accordance with the evaluation criteria set forth in the Invitation for Bids. Only objectively measurable criteria that are set forth in the Invitation for Bids shall be applied in determining the lowest bidder.  Examples of such criteria include, but are not limited to, transportation cost and ownership or life-cycle cost formulas.  Evaluation factors need not be precise predictors of actual future costs, but to the extent possible such evaluation factors shall be reasonable estimates based upon information the State has available concerning future use and shall provide for the equitable treatment of all bids.  Pricing for optional supplies or services, or for renewal terms, may be considered, particularly when the pricing for such items or terms is unbalanced when compared to other pricing in the bid.


5)         Price Negotiation. Negotiations are permitted with the low bidder to obtain a lower price for the item bid.


k)         Documentation of Award

Following award, a record showing the successful bidder shall be made a part of the procurement file.


l)          Award to Other Than Low Bidder


1)         The Procurement Officer may award to other than the lowest responsible and responsive bidder upon a written determination that award to another bidder is in the State's best interest.  The name of the bidder selected, pricing, and the reasons for selecting this bidder instead of the low bidder must be published in the Bulletin.


2)         This action may be appropriate when the difference in quality or speed of delivery is so great as compared to the difference in price, and considering the needs of the agency, that a best value award is justified.  However, if the difference in price is significant, the Procurement Officer may not utilize this provision.


m)        Publicizing Award

The successful bidder shall be notified of award and such notification may be in the form of a letter, purchase order or other clear communication.  In procurements over the small purchase limit set in Section 1600.2020 (Small Purchases) of this Part, notice of award shall be published in the Bulletin.