123:5-1-07 The invitation to bid process.

(A) At a minimum, the invitation to bid ("ITB") will include the following information:

(1) Instructions and information to bidders concerning submission of bid responses, including the name and address of the department, office, institution, board or commission that is requesting to purchase products, supplies and/or services;

(2) Instructions governing communications, including but not limited to instructions for submitting questions and posting answers electronically;

(3) A description of products, supplies and/or services to be purchased;

(4) Complete and detailed specifications pertaining to the products, supplies and/or services to be purchased which may include, among others, the quantity to be purchased, submission of samples, descriptive literature, technical data, or other material deemed necessary to properly evaluate the bid response, inspection and acceptance requirements, and the delivery schedule for each such supply and/or service;

(5) The factors and criteria to be used in evaluating bid responses, and a description of the evaluation procedures to be followed for award of a contract;

(6) The contract terms and conditions including any requirement for appropriate and applicable financial assurances, such as a performance bond;

(7) The date, time and place for delivery of the response;

(8) Documents that may be incorporated by reference provided the ITB specifies where such documents can be obtained and the documents are readily available to all bidders;

(B) Notice of invitation to bid

The department shall post a notice of all invitations to bid electronically on the department's website. Notice shall be given for the number of days determined by the department prior to the scheduled opening of the ITB.

(1) For ITB's set aside pursuant to section 125.081 of the Revised Code, notice of an invitation to bid shall be posted electronically on the department's website and shall be sent electronically to the last known email address of those competing persons whose names appear on the certified minority business enterprise listing maintained by the department.

(C) ITB conferences:

The department may conduct conferences to discuss an ITB in the following manner:

(1) Pre-bid conferences may be conducted prior to issuance of the ITB to discuss proposed bid specifications. Information discussed may be used in the preparation of the ITB. Notice of pre-bid conferences shall be provided on the department's website.

(2) Bid conferences may be conducted after issuance of the ITB to explain the procurement requirements. Notice of a bid conference shall be provided on the department's website. Nothing stated at the bid conference shall change the ITB unless a change is made by written addendum.

(D) Addenda to the ITB shall reference the portions of the ITB it amends and shall be posted on the department's website.. Addenda shall be posted within a reasonable time to allow prospective bidders to prepare bid responses. Addenda may extend the time and date of bid opening.

(E) Receipt and opening of ITB's: the department shall consider the following upon receipt of a bid response or modification:

(1) Upon receipt, each bid response and modification shall be time and date stamped but not opened and shall be stored in a secure place until the time and date set for bid opening.

(2) All timely bid responses and modifications shall be opened publicly, in the presence of a representative of the department of administrative services at the time, date, and place designated in the ITB. The opened bid responses shall be available for public inspection except to the extent the bidder designates trade secrets to be confidential as set forth in paragraph (E)(3) of this rule. Material so designated shall accompany the bid and shall be readily separable from the bid response in order to facilitate public inspection of the non confidential portion of the bid response. Prices, makes, model, catalog numbers of the items offered, deliveries, and terms of payment shall be publicly available at the time of bid opening regardless of any designation to the contrary.

(3) The department shall examine the bid responses to determine the validity of any requests for nondisclosure of trade secrets identified in writing. If the parties do not agree as to the disclosure of data, the department shall inform the bidders in writing what portions of the bid responses will be disclosed and that the bid responses will be so disclosed. The bid responses shall be open to public inspection, unless it contains a trade secret, upon award of a contract.

(F) Any bid response received after the time and date set for receipt of bid responses is late. Any withdrawal or modification of a bid response received after the time and date set for opening of bid responses at the place designated for opening is late. No late bid response, late modification, or late withdrawal will be considered unless received before contract award, and the bid response, modification, or withdrawal would have been timely but for the action or inaction of state personnel. When deemed as late, a bid response, modification, or withdrawal shall be marked as "late", remain sealed and shall be retained in the bid file.

(G) Mistakes in ITB's

(1) Correction or withdrawal of a bid response may be permitted due to an inadvertent mistake. If the mistake is attributable to an error in judgment, the bid response may not be corrected. Bid correction or withdrawal by reason of an inadvertent mistake is permissible but only if it does not affect the amount of the bid response or otherwise give the bidder a competitive advantage.

(2) A bidder may correct mistakes discovered before the time and date set for bid opening by withdrawing or correcting the bid response .

(3) When the department of administrative services knows or has reason to conclude that a mistake has been made, the department will request the bidder to confirm the bid response. Situations in which confirmation will be requested include obvious, apparent errors on the face of the bid response, or a bid response unreasonably lower than other bid responses submitted, or a clarification of terms, conditions or specifications offered by the bidder.

(H) The department of administrative services may award a contract in whole or in part to one or multiple bidders. Notice of any potential partial and/or multiple party award shall be provided in the ITB.

(I) The department of administrative services reserves the right to reject any and all bid responses, award partial contracts and/or rebid when:

(1) Product, supplies and/or services are not in compliance with the requirements, specifications, and terms and conditions set forth in the ITB; or

(2) Pricing offered is determined to be excessive in comparison with existing market conditions, or exceeds the available funds of the procuring entity; or

(3) It is determined that awarding of any or all items will not be in the best interest of the state.

(J) Notice of award shall be provided to the successful bidder. An apparent low bidder found not to be responsive and responsible shall be notified of that finding and the reasons for it pursuant to section 9.312 of the Revised Code. Notice of award shall be posted on the department's website.

Effective: 03/28/2014
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 01/02/2014 and 03/17/2019
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: RC 125.02 , RC 125.09 , RC 125.11
Rule Amplifies: RC 9.312 , RC 125.02 , RC 125.07 , RC 125.08 , RC 125.081 , RC 125.09 , RC 125.10 , RC 125.11
Prior Effective Dates: 2/2/82, 8/30/84, 5/5/95