22.8 Evaluating bids

22.8.3 Determining the lowest bidder

The lowest bidder is the bidder who offers the lowest-cost goods or services in comparison to all other bidders. Discounts and incentives should not be considered in determining the lowest bidder unless the IFB specifically asked bidders to propose discounts and incentives and bidders are informed that the discount or incentive offered will be used to determine the award. Prompt payment discounts should normally not be considered in determining the lowest responsive bidder. After it is determined that the apparent low bidder is also responsive and responsible, the agency may proceed with an award to that lowest priced, responsive and responsible bidder. (See §2.2-4301 and §2.2-4302.1 of the Code of Virginia.) The agency may determine that the apparent low bidder is not responsive or responsible and thus not eligible for award.

  • If only one bid received in response to an IFB: If only one responsive bid is received in response to an IFB, award may be made to the single bidder if the agency determines that the submitted price is fair and reasonable, and that either other prospective bidders had reasonable opportunity to respond, or the agency does not have adequate time for reissuing the IFB. Otherwise, the bid may be rejected by the agency, the procurement cancelled and a new IFB may be posted. If the agency received only one or no bids due to the IFB being set aside for the participation of small businesses, the procurement file should be documented accordingly. The IFB can then be reissued as a non-set aside procurement. The receipt of only one bid in response to an IFB undermines the Commonwealth's commitment to competition. To ensure competitive pricing and bidders, bids should be received from a number of qualified bidders consistent with the size and nature of the procurement. In order for competition to operate effectively, responsive bids should be received from at least two responsive and responsible bidders.
  • If tie bids are received: If two or more bidders offer the same price for the IT goods or services being procured and both bidders have been determined to be responsive and responsible, the agency may do the following. (Refer to §2.2-4324 of the Code of Virginia.)
  • Give preference to goods produced in Virginia or goods and services provided by Virginia persons, firms or corporations.
  • Award to a resident bidder if the identical low bids are submitted by a resident bidder and a nonresident bidder.
  • In the case of a tie bid in instances where goods are being offered, and existing price preferences have already been taken into account, preference shall be given to the bidder whose goods contain the greatest amount of recycled content.
  • If identical low bids are submitted by two resident bidders, the issuing agency should perform a coin toss. The coin toss must be witnessed and the results recorded by a supervisor above the level of the buyer.
  • Award(s) are to be made in favor of the Virginia bidder for tie line items and multiple purchase orders or contracts placed as required. Copies of tie bids resulting from competitive sealed bidding shall be forwarded to the Anti-Trust Section of the Office of The Attorney General.
  • Award by lottery to one of the identical low bidders.
  • Reject all bids and issue and new IFB.
  • Where identical low bids include the cost of delivery, award the contract to the bidder with the lowest delivery cost.
  • Award the contract to the identical bidder who received the previous award and continue to award succeeding contracts to the same bidder as long as all low bids are identical.
  • If price is considered excessive or for other reason the bids are unsatisfactory, reject all bids and re-solicit.

Preference for Virginia bidders: For this section, a resident of Virginia bidder is a Virginia person, firm or corporation that is organized pursuant to Virginia law or maintains a principal place of business within Virginia. Whenever the lowest responsive and responsible bidder is a resident of any other state and such state under its laws allows a resident bidder of that state a percentage preference, then a like preference shall be allowed to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder who is a resident of Virginia and is the next lowest bidder. If the lowest responsive and responsible bidder is a resident of any other state and such state under its laws allows a resident contractor of that state a price-matching preference, a like preference shall be allowed to responsive and responsible bidders who are residents of Virginia. If the lowest bidder is a resident bidder of a state with an absolute preference, the bid shall not be considered. The Code of Virginia requires the Department of General Services to post and maintain an updated list of state-by-state reciprocal preference data on its website, (select the section titled "State by State Reciprocal Preference Data." on the eVA page at: https://eva.virginia.gov/pages/eva-i-buy-for-virginia.htm.)  For purposes of compliance with this section, all public bodies may rely upon the accuracy of the information posted on this website.

Award may be made to other than the lowest responsive and responsible bidder when the provision for such an award is included in the IFB. For procurements over $100,000 such awards must be approved in writing by VITA's Director of Supply Chain Management Finance and Administration or designee before issuance of such award. In those instances where an award is made to other than the lowest price bidder or highest ranked offeror, the award shall be made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder or highest ranking, qualified DSBSD-certified small business offeror. If the IFB is a set-aside for small business participation only, award to other than the lowest bidder clause would not be necessary.