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Client Alert - Changes to Iowa's Public Bidding Law

Posted By IAMU, Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Provided by Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.

Notice to Bidders
Effective July 1, 2016, publication of a Notice to Bidders in a newspaper of general circulation will no longer satisfy Iowa law.  As of July 1, 2016, governmental entities must "post" their Notice to Bidders not less than thirteen (13) and not more than forty-five (45) days before the deadline for submission of bids in / on all three of the following:

  • in a relevant contractor plan room service with statewide circulation, and
  • in a relevant construction lead generating service with statewide circulation, and
  • either on an internet site sponsored by the governmental entity or a statewide association that represents the governmental entity.

Master Builders of Iowa (MBI) will post your Notice to Bidders with its Construction Update Network at no cost to the governmental entity.  This will fulfill requirements 1 and 2 above.  The Iowa League of Cities is expected to accept Notices to Bidders for posting on its website.  This will fulfill requirement 3 above for cities if the city conducting the bidding process elects not to post the Notice to Bidders on its own internet site.  Other statewide associations representing governmental entities may also elect to post the Notice to Bidders on their internet sites.  Please note, however, if the governmental entity conducting the bidding process does not post its Notice to Bidders on an internet site sponsored by a statewide association that represents the governmental entity, then the governmental entity must post its Notice to Bidders on its own internet site in order to ensure compliance with requirement 3 above.
The information required in the Notice to Bidders remains unchanged.  It must adequately notify a potential bidder of a proposed bid and shall include the following items:

  • The time and place for filing sealed proposals.
  • The time and place sealed proposals will be opened and considered on behalf of the governmental entity.
  • The general nature of the public improvement on which bids are requested.
  • In general terms, when the work must be commenced and completed.
  • That each bidder shall accompany the bid with a bid security as defined in section 26.8 and as specified by the governmental entity.
  • Any further information which the governmental entity deems pertinent.

Notice of Public Hearing

Governmental entities must still publish their Notice of Public Hearing on the plans, specifications, form of contract, and estimated total cost of their public improvement projects in a newspaper published at least once weekly and having general circulation in the city, not less than four (4) and not more than twenty (20) days before the public hearing. 

In addition to the subject matter of the hearing, and the time and location of the hearing, the Notice of Public Hearing must now also include a description of the public improvements being constructed and the location of those improvements. 

Postponed Bid Letting

If circumstances beyond the control of the governmental entity cause a scheduled bid letting to be postponed and there are no changes to the project's contract documents, a Notice to Bidders of the revised date shall be posted not less than four (4) and not more than forty-five (45) days before the revised date for filing bids in the same locations now required for the initial posting.

Your local government and education lawyers with Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. recommend you consult with your legal counsel to ensure compliance with the new law.

Tags:  Ahlers  Client Alert  Legal  Public Bidding Law 

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