In a previous article we discussed the requirement that, if it awards a public works contract, a public entity in the State of Georgia must award the contract to the “lowest responsible and responsive bidder,” unless an exception to this requirement applies.
This article addresses what it means to be a “responsive bidder.” While responsibleness focuses on the bidder or proposer, responsiveness focuses on the bid or proposal. Specifically, responsiveness requires that a bid or proposal respond and conform to the requirements of the invitation for bids or request for proposals (the “Bid Documents”).
Any deviation from the requirements of the Bid Documents may be considered non-responsive. But public entities have the discretion to waive minor deviations from the requirements of the Bid Documents. Minor deviations are a matter of form and not of substance, or they pertain to some immaterial or inconsequential defect or variation from the exact requirement of the Bid Documents. For example, a minor deviation may occur where a bidder fails to initial a price change, or to write the solicitation number, date, and time of bid opening on its bid envelope, or to provide incidental information requested in the bid documents, such as information about its affiliates, or to include a unit price where the unit price can be calculated by dividing the line item total by the estimated quantity.
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