Original Issuance Date: October 15, 2019
Last Revision Date: October 15, 2019
Effective Date: December 1, 2019

1. Purpose of Procedures

The purpose of this procedure is to define how UW System institutions shall conduct Bids when using the Board of Regents Procurement authority.  This procedure does not apply to Architectural and Engineering (A/E) and construction procurements.

2. Responsible UW System Officer

UW System Director of Procurement

3. Definitions

Sealed bidding: A formal process using a request for bid process and formal advertising, used by the purchasing office to solicit bids when the expected cost of the product or service for the full term of the contract is more than $150,000.

Simplified bidding: A competitive process to award bids. Simplified bidding can be used when the expected cost to purchase the product or service for the full term of the contract is $149,999 or less.

Procurement lead: An individual who is trained and has experience in conducting competitive proposals.

4. Procedure

UW institutions have the responsibility to promote competition in awarding contracts in order to obtain the best contract value. It is the responsibility and authority of the university contracting officer making the award to exercise good judgment and, in the best interests of the university, to honestly and fairly determine the responsiveness and responsibility of the bidders involved. There are two types of bidding tools in the UW System.

A. Simplified bidding: a minimum of three bids shall be sought.

  1. A minimum of three bids shall be sought using the same specifications. The university shall describe the goods or services required, in enough detail, to allow a bidder to determine if they can provide the goods or services. The university shall also include the terms and conditions associated with the purchase. Bids can be written quotes or documented catalogue pricing. All quotes shall be documented to the file.
  2. Required terms and conditions including the UW System standard terms and
    conditions shall be incorporated when signing a contract or issuing a purchase
  3. Award shall be made to the low responsive and responsible bidder.

B. The sealed bid process is the procedure used for formally soliciting bids when products or services are valued over $150,000. Sealed bids shall be posted in accordance with public notice requirements.

    1. Issuance of the Sealed Bid
      • A sealed bid shall include:
        • Specifications that describe the needed goods or service in enough detail to determine if a bidder can provide the item or service. Specifications shall be written to enhance competition, not limit it. The following specification categories are listed in order of preference of use: 1) Generic 2) Brand Name or Equivalent 3) Proprietary (when competed amongst resellers). If there is no competition, a non-competitive negotiation approval shall be sought according to UW System Administrative Policy 540, Procurement: Non-Competitive Procurement Contracts.
        • The date, time, and place for receipt of bids. The bid shall state if electronic bids will be accepted.
        • All required terms and conditions including the UW System standard terms and conditions.
        • Dispute language shall be included in service contracts.
    2.  Advertisement of Sealed Bids
      • Procurement leads shall ensure that sufficient time is given to potential bidders to
        respond. Bids over $150,000 must be formally advertised.
    3. Mistakes, Errors, and Withdrawals of Bids
      • The procurement lead may give a bidder an opportunity to cure a
        technicality or minor error in their bid.
      • A bidder may correct mistakes discovered before the time and date
        set for the opening of the bids by withdrawal or modification of the
      • A bidder may withdraw a bid.
    4.  Late Bids, Late Modifications, and Late Withdrawals
      • Any bid, request for withdrawal or modification of a bid that is not received at the designated location, time and date set in the bid will be considered late and will not be considered. Delivery of the bid to the specified location is the sole responsibility of the bidder.
      • If a significant error is found in the bid document, a bidder shall be allowed to withdraw from the bid even if the withdrawal is after bid opening.
    5.  Basis for Award
      • The contract shall be awarded to the low bidder who is responsible and is responsive to the bid’s requirements. The UW institution’s purchasing office is the sole determination if a bid meets specifications. If there is a determination to not award to the low responsible and responsive bidder, a justification must be documented in the file. Bids may be awarded based on a total cost of ownership (TCO), if the TCO is incorporated into the bid.
    6. Notice of Intent to Award and Dispute Process for Service Contracts
      • Once the low responsible and responsive bidder is identified, a Notice of Intent to Award letter shall be sent to all bidders identifying the winning bid, for service contracts. Bidders shall follow the dispute process found in UW System Administrative Policy 534, Procurement: Disputes, if they want to dispute the award on service contracts.
    7. The Role of the Procurement Lead
      • Sealed bids shall be conducted by a procurement lead who is trained and has experience in conducting formal bidding. The procurement lead’s responsibilities are as follows:
        • Be the sole contact for suppliers during the bidding process.
        • Keep records of all meetings, presentations, and decisions.
        • At the conclusion of the evaluation, the procurement lead shall document the bidding process to the contract file by
          • Creating an abstract reflecting the bids.
          • Documenting the award decision. Award shall be made to the low bidder who meets all the bid specifications and is determined to be responsible.
        •  Maintain the official procurement file.
      •  The procurement lead may negotiate with the low bidder.

5. Related Documents

7. Policy History

 First Approved: October 15, 2019