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ASA Supports ’Anti-Bid Shopping’ Bill

Fri May 25, 2001 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide


The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) recently announced that it is supporting legislation that would prohibit bid shopping on construction contracts with the federal government and would improve the government’s construction management process.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-PA, introduced H.R. 1859, the Construction Quality Assurance Act of 200l, on May 16, 2001.

The bill would penalize contractors working on a federal contract for bid shopping. Bid shopping is defined in the bill as "the practice of a contractor asking, requiring, or otherwise pressuring a subcontractor to lower bids for subcontracts, or accepting lower bids from subcontractors, after submitting a bid without passing the savings from the lower bids back to the federal government."

According to ASA, bid shopping entices subcontractors to lower their prices from what they proposed in their original bids to general contractors, resulting in higher profits for general contractors without increasing the quality of work that the government will ultimately receive.

Some states prevent bid shopping by "bid listing," a system in which a general contractor must submit with its bid the names of the subcontractors they intend to use if awarded the contract.

"This legislation would give the government’s contracting officer the ability to investigate incidents of bid shopping but not require the general contractor to file sub-bidders’ names with the original bid to the federal government," said ASA president Richard Kohls, vice president of finance, The Fenton Rigging Company, Cincinnati, OH. "It would impose penalties for noncompliance, including treble damages, cancellation of the contact and, in some cases, debarment. This legislation would allow the federal government to be a better manager of the construction process on its own work, unfettered by inferior construction practices frowned on by industry. This bill is one that can bring subcontractors and general contractors to the table on the issue of bid shopping."

For more information, visit the ASA’s Web site at http://www.asaonline.com.




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