Over the past few years, public contracts have become increasingly more popular amongst our clients. As a result, public bid law has come into frequent use. If you are in the construction industry, understanding public bid law can help you be aware of the potential risks/rewards of your next public works project. Public projects can be lucrative, yet they also have many pitfalls that can damage an unknowledgeable company.
What is Public Bid Law?
The Louisiana Public Bid Law applies to any work, construction project or improvement to (immovable) property that is owed by the State of Louisiana or an arm of the state, such as parish or city government (“public entity”). It applies to political subdivisions, locally elected public officials, the state Legislature and even the state Judiciary. Under Louisiana law, “public work” is formerly defined as the “erection, construction, alteration, improvement or repair of any public facility or immovable property owned, used, or leased by a public entity.” Many times these projects are for public schools, public universities, public hospitals, prisons, roads and state highways or any other project that is put out for bid by a public entity, outside of the Federal government.
Regulatory Framework of Public Bid Law
Public contracts involve tax-payer funds. Because of the public funds in use for a public project, there are strict regulations in play when entering into a contract with a public entity. To help curb potential corruption, strict rules and regulations have been implemented by the State legislature. These rules and regulations often dissuade contractors, equipment lessors and materials suppliers from entering into or even bidding such contracts. For instance, there are special rules governing the form of the bid for a public works project; purchase of materials, supplies, vehicles, or equipment; verification of employees in contracts for public works; notice requirements; and the procurement of surety bonds and insurance. Any violation of such rules or regulations may result in a civil action or even an investigation brought by the attorney general.
How to Proceed
Because of the possible legal ramifications involved, public bid law is an increasingly important area of law to be familiar with as soon as possible. Additionally, rather than shy away from public work contracts altogether, we recommend that our clients merely be well-versed in legal framework governing public bid law.
If you are knowledgeable about the relevant laws and regulations, there is not much to fear. In fact, when everything runs smoothly, public work projects are not all that different from your ordinary private projects. Armed with the right facts and knowledge, you can enter into your next public works contract with the right expectations and goals. Here at Wolfe Law, we are ready to take all your public bid law questions. Contact us today for your next public contract needs.