Request for Proposal. Too often, large maintenance projects such as roof replacements, copper repiping projects, painting & waterproofing projects, etc., start with a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) from the board to various contractors. Boards ask contractors to propose how they would repair the association’s roofs or paint their buildings. Each contractor then submits a proposal based on his own approach to the project. As a result, the bids can vary significantly in the quality and quantity of materials used and how they are applied. That leads to large disparities in project pricing. Boards then pick a bid not realizing they may be selecting an expensive application of a shoddy product by an inexperienced contractor with little or no insurance and meaningless warranties. This could have serious legal consequences for the association (and the board).
Request for Bid. The best method for obtaining true bids is by using a “Request for Bid” (RFB). With an RFB all vendors are provided identical specifications describing the scope of work, the quality of materials to use, how the work will be done, levels of insurance required and a timeline for completion. This allows for true competitive bidding. To prepare a proper RFB and oversee the bidding, the board must employ the services of an independent consultant or construction manager.
RECOMMENDATION: Litigation is expensive and unpredictable. It is far better to hire a good consultant to prepare proper bid specs than to spend the association’s money in court, levying special assessments for legal fees, and redoing flawed project at the end of the litigation. In addition to proper bid specs, all contracts should be reviewed by legal counsel.
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