By Zach Markle, Law Student Intern
A contractor in North Carolina is smart to triple check their state government contract bids because inaccurate bids sometimes cannot be undone. North Carolina divides mistakes in bids into two classes: “judgment error” mistakes and “clerical error” mistakes.
A “judgment error” mistake may not be undone once the bid is submitted. If a contract submits a bid and makes a mistake in judgment, like misjudging the amount of materials or the length of time needed for a project, he may be stuck with the bid as presented if the contract for the work is accepted. And if that is the case, any shortage in revenue to cover excess costs may have to be paid out of pocket. Further, if the contractor refuses to accept the project, he may forfeit their bid deposit or bid bond and potentially be subject to other penalties.
If a mistake in the bid is a “clerical error,” the consequences are not as severe. North Carolina describes “clerical errors” as “unintentional arithmetic error or unintentional omission” that is related to, among other things, the work, labor, and materials included in the bid. This usually arises when a button is accidentally pressed on a calculator during the input of costs into a spreadsheet or bid software, but it can arise in other ways as well. If the mistake is found to be a “clerical error” and the bid was submitted in good faith, and the contractor can prove it during a hearing with the right evidence, the agency in charge of the project may allow the contractor to withdraw their bid from consideration without having to forfeit their deposit or bond.
In order for a contractor to withdraw their bid, they must submit a request to withdraw in writing within 72 hours after the opening of bids, unless a longer period is specified in the instructions to bidders. They must then attend a hearing by the agency responsible for the project where they will be heard on whether or not they can prove that their bid is eligible for withdrawal.
To make sure you do not spend needed resources or have to deal with added stress to an already stressful process, triple check those bids before submitting them! Should you have any questions about the process or need additional help, please don’t hesitate to call Jesson & Rains today.
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