Contractors protest Hayden bidding process

Town could use reverse auction method for Poplar Street project

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— Contractors confronted Hayden officials last week about an online bidding process the town aimed to test drive.

Hayden planned to use BidBridge, an online reverse auction company, to contract for Poplar Street improvements. But several contractors spoke against the system during Thursday's Town Board of Trustees meeting.

Louisville, Ky.-based BidBridge arranges for sellers to bid online for projects. The contractors have a 30-minute window to enter a bid. Bidders can't see who else is bidding or what the other bids are, but they can see where their bids rank, from highest to lowest.

Native Excavating owner Ed MacArthur said he didn't trust the method.

"You just arbitrarily could put some number in, in the beginning of this process, and then you're allowed to work your number down and consistently see where you stand in the line of bidders," he said Tuesday.

Traditionally, contractors submit sealed paper bids, and the town opens them all at the same time. Hayden isn't obligated to go with the lowest bid.

Cindy Sisloff, BidBridge's director of marketing and business development, compared the process to eBay. A key difference, however, is that if a company puts in a lower bid in the last three minutes of bidding, the clock resets for another three minutes to give others a chance to respond.

"Our process was structured to mirror the paper bidding process but allow the suppliers to place multiple bids if they choose to," Sisloff said.

Contractors including MacArthur are worried that bidders could get emotional, deciding they must win the contract and entering a bid that's unrealistically low.

Peter Langlois, BidBridge's director of operations, said he'd seen that just once in more than 1,000 auctions.

Hayden Trustee Jim Haskins said he didn't understand contractors' concerns.

"The bottom line is, we have a good idea of what it's going to cost to do this project, and if somebody comes in at way below that number, we're not committed to awarding that bid," Haskins said.

No matter the process, the town of Hayden could award the bid to whichever company it feels comfortable with, Sisloff said.

BidBridge signs up contractors ahead of time and trains them to use the system. Bidders also receive a toll-free number to call in case they hit snags. If a bidder's Internet goes out, for example, BidBridge would put bidding on hold. The company has worked in 29 states, including Colorado, Sisloff said.

Hayden had planned to bid the Poplar Street contract today but is holding off to take care of engineering procurement requirements and because of contractors' concerns, Town Manager Russ Martin said. He hopes to have new bid dates available next week.

"I want to stop it, re-engage : and make sure we do this process right," Martin said.

MacArthur said he expected the town to reconsider using an online bidding system.

"I think our point was made, and I think the town did a little more research and came to a different conclusion," he said.

But Haskins said that wasn't yet decided. BidBridge saves municipalities an average of 10 percent on construction projects, Sisloff said. Haskins said Hayden officials would like to award the contract locally but have taxpayers' priorities in mind.

"Our job is not to have local contractors getting the job as it is to get the best deal for the town and have it done right," Haskins said.

Comments

TEEJAY1309 5 years, 6 months ago

"Our job is not to have local contractors getting the job as it is to get the best deal for the town and have it done right,"

THIS MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER!
AS A WIFE OF A CONTRACTOR, I HAVE TO SAY, DOESN'T THIS TOWN UNDERSTAND THAT LOCAL CONTRACTORS HAVE LITTLE OR NO WORK! SO BRING IN A COMPANY THAT ISN'T LOCAL AND THERE'S EVEN LESS JOBS! WAKE UP HAYDEN TOWN COUNCIL, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF YOUR JOB WAS UP FOR BID? IN FACT, MAYBE THE PEOPLE OF HAYDEN SHOULD DO THAT! LET'S SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT IF THERE'S NO WORK FOR ALL OF YOU! THIS SHOULD BE THE WAY FOR ALL COUNTY OFFICIALS (NOT ONLY HAYDEN). YOU SIT THERE WITH YOUR FAT CUSHY JOBS AND THINK THAT BY TAKING BIDS AND USING THIS COMPANY THAT IT'S ALL FINE, GOOD AND DANDY, WELL IT'S NOT! YOUR TAKING FOOD OFF OF THE LOCALS TABLES IF YOU HIRE AN OUTSIDE COMPANY. THINK ABOUT THAT! CAN YOU LIVE WITH IT ON YOUR MIND THAT YOU LET SOMEONE ELSE GO HUNGRY OR LOSE THE ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS? THESE OUTSIDE COMPANIES DON'T PAY TAXES HERE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, WE DO! THIS IS WHAT WE GET FOR BEING GOOD LITTLE CITIZENS?

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housepoor 5 years, 6 months ago

take a look at the article about roofing edgemont, all their workers work 4 10's and head home to the front range. Was is cheaper to hire front range subs and pay for their lodging than hire local? Must have been. For years I've been told by local contractorsplumberselectricians either my job was to small or they only do new construction..........

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 6 months ago

As a contractor I have labored long to invest, and the chance to bid public work is certainly important. In public work the bidding process is the heart and soul of the industry. We need to know that our bid has the same chance of success, as any other proposal. CDOT is not one of my favorite entitys, but they have the very best bidding procedure. First the bid must be on time and not one second late. They bid so that there is only one low bidder and when the bids are tabulated, everyone knows the results. If an unqualified bidder is low, it is bad for them as no allowances are made for excuses. This Hayden bid was pulled because the town was faced with an injunction if it proceeded from the Colorado Contractors Association. Their position is that the procedure is illegal. This town asserts that it can pick any contractor that it wants, this may be true but I would provide a large reserve for legal matters. When I prepare a bid I want the assurance that the sealed bid process is effect and that I can watch the bids being opened. If other methods are used then the town might just as well choose the contractor that they prefer, again illegal. There is nothing more sacred in this industry than the bidding process. Peter Langlois statement is absurd, and I will challenge him to prove otherwise. This is frequently a problem under any bidding procedure.

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Angie Robinson 5 years, 6 months ago

First of all: If the entire nation thought first of what they would save by buying products elsewhere (oversees), a whole lot more of us would be out of work. BUY AMERICAN AND BUY LOCAL! That concept is so very important right now!

This is the scenario that I see playing out: A desperate contractor, which most are right now, is going to bid it so low that he will get the job for less than it will cost him to do it. He will likely then cut corners (most likely underground where it is not so obvious) to be able to turn a profit to pay his employees. The money that the City saves now (10%), will pale in comparison to the money spent in just a couple years to repair the shoddy work performed by the contractor. How is this a good idea?

Steamboat has a "buy local" campaign. I think Hayden should too!

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oldskoolstmbt 5 years, 6 months ago

keep employing the 'fly by nighters' aka: the desperate contractor(because they bid it low by hiring illegals, not even knowing what they are doing in the fist place with bidding,, yadda,yadda)... and the shoty work is what you will get, then you turn around and have to give the job to the more established, legal, old timers that actually care to make it right....thaaaa wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round....i guess the good thing is we usually don't have to wait a few years for the work to come around...it's usually weeks/months...we shall see

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greenwash 5 years, 6 months ago

Those old timers need to get a grip and lower there rates to reflect changing economy.The glory days of $60 an hour on up are over.

BTW some local backyard contractors are really really bad at what they do.Next time you decie to write about a contractor do your homework.

The article about AJ Gale several weeks ago was a joke.this guy owes everyone in town money and is a shoddy contractor but pilot portrayed him as a top carpenter which is so far from the truth. FYI

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Malcolm_Reynolds 5 years, 6 months ago

TEEJAY1309, At $90.00 a month to sit on the Hayden Town Council is not a Fat and Cushy Job!

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TEEJAY1309 5 years, 6 months ago

Guess you're on the council huh? But still, how would you like it if we put your job up for bids?

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TEEJAY1309 5 years, 6 months ago

Hey Malcolm, bet we could get someone to bid it for $45.00!

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Martha D Young 5 years, 6 months ago

Kudos to the Hayden Town Board for planning to improve Poplar Street. Driving on it in a car is challenging enough. (Not to mention the fear pedestrians probably feel.) Driving an ambulance or firetruck on it is even more hair-raising. I applaud the HTB for using caution in their approach to letting out bids. Whatever method they choose, my vote is for the contractor with the best track record of reliability, quality of work and sticking with promised deadlines and costs. Look at what happened with the Dry Creek fiasco!

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Angie Robinson 5 years, 6 months ago

HousePoor - at one time it was cheaper to hire from the front range, but that does not guarantee the quality of thier work versus a more expensive local contractor. I've seen many companies come in from the Front Range looking to make a buck, and the quality of their craftmanship was way less than what we are used to up here. In most instances you do get what you pay for. You must MUST check a persons references and background before you hire them. Ask some locals - they'll know who to steer you clear from - cause YES there are some really shady local characters out there. But if your neighbors and friends are looking for work, wouldn't you rather hire them than a Front Range person?

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