Skip to main content

City of Madison


1. Submittal of Bids

Bids are submitted to the Engineering Service Building, 1600 Emil St. On the day Engineering receives the bids, Alane Boutelle confirms that the bidders are prequalified with Engineering and prepares a bid opening tab. Bidders who have incomplete prequalification paperwork with the Engineering Division will have their monetary bid opened at the bid opening. However, the bid opening tab will also note that the bid is rejected for being not prequalified.

2. Bid Opening Tab

Alane then posts the bid opening bid tab on the Public Works website and Posts Apparent on Bid Express. The project manager / engineer, Civil Rights staff and are emailed the bid opening tab. Contractors learn of bid results by checking the websites or calling Alane.

If there is only a single qualified bidder, results are not shown on the opening bid tab until decision to award has been made.

3. Bid Tab

The breakdown of bid prices is prepared by Alane Boutelle.  Bid tabs are saved to Enroot/Pub_cont/BidTabs and Sharepoint. Bid Tabs are generally available by Friday afternoon after the Thursday of a bid opening, but this may fluctuate based on the number of bidders and contracts being opened. The bid tab is posted on the website directly if <10% over the Engineering estimate, no SBE is required, and there were multiple qualified bidders.  If SBE required, bid tabs with multiple bidders will not be posted until Affirmative Action approves the SBE submission.  If project is > 10% over estimate after approval, the decision to recommend to BPW must be made before posting. Please note - Decision to recommend for award must be made for a single qualified bid amount to be posted.

4. Review of Bid Proposal

Alane Boutelle reviews proposal pages to check for missing information or inclusion of riders, which is not acceptable. The City Attorney’s Office may be contacted to review a bid proposal. The project manager / engineer will be included on emails. It is possible that the apparent low bidder’s proposal could be deemed “non-responsive” at this stage and the next lowest bidder is considered.

SBE information for the lowest bidder is sent to Affirmative Action for review.  Return notification to Engineering to be no later than noon on the Tuesday after the bid opening.  If deemed non-responsible, the SBE information for the next lowest bidder is sent to Affirmative Action until a resolution is reached.

WI certification is determined for the lowest bidder.  This must be in place by Common Council date.

Contracts opened at the bid opening automatically go to the next Board of Public Works meeting for award. Resolutions are then created by However, if low bidder is over the cost estimate, the project engineer / manager needs to notify them and Alane if the agency would like to reject the bid or have the award referred.

Between the Board of Public Works and the Common Council meeting, Alane Boutelle assembles the contract for the contractor to sign and sends a “pre-award” packet. This packet includes the Agreement pages, Payment & Performance bonds, subcontractor form, Best Value Contracting form for subcontractors, and if applicable, workforce profile forms.

5. Subcontractor Form

The general contractor submits this form. If the total percent of subcontractor utilization is greater than 40%, the subcontractor form must be approved by the Board of Public Works (BPW). Alane Boutelle will contact to have the sub form added to the BPW agenda. Depending on the BPW schedule, this has the potential to delay the issue of a start work letter. Subcontractor forms that are 40% or less may be signed by the Engineering Construction Section Supervisor. If a subcontractor is added or dropped during the course of construction, the subcontractor form must be amended to reflect the change. This may entail the subcontractor form needing to be approved again by the BPW. If the dropped subcontractor is an SBE, permission must be requested from DCR prior to the change. Added subcontractors may also have to submit a workforce profile, meet BVC requirements, and become prequalified, as applicable. Neglecting to do this could result in delay of payments.

6. Workforce Profile (Applies Only to Contracts With Davis-Bacon Funding)

The general contractor and all subcontractors must submit a workforce profile. Alane Boutelle reviews workforce profiles. All workforce profiles must be approved before a company receives a partial payment.

7. Best Value Contracting Subcontractor Form

Subcontractors that have a contract with the general contractor that is above the current single trade $ minimum, must be prequalified with the City of Madison. These subs are also required to comply with Best Value Contracting requirements. This may entail the subcontractor becoming an active trade trainer. To what extent a sub must comply with BVC is determined on a contract by contract basis.

8. Early Contract Sign Up

The project engineer / manager may include language in the special provisions of a contract requiring the contractor and their bonding agent to execute the contract agreement pages prior to the Common Council awarding the contract. However, it is the responsibility of the project engineer / manager to alert both the contractor and Engineering that the agreement pages need to be signed in advance.

9. Award Letter

Alane Boutelle prepares and sends the award letter when Legistar shows the award resolution as having both a resolution number and enactment date. Typically, this information appears in Legistar the Friday or Monday after a Common Council meeting. The award letter gives contractors ten (10) days from date of the letter to sign up contract.

If, after the ten (10) days expires, it is apparent that a contractor will not sign the contract and/or time is of the essence to get the contract going, the project engineer / manager works with to get a resolution on the BPW agenda asking for the next lowest bidder to be awarded the contract. After the BPW, the Common Council must also approve the award. The project engineer / manager also contacts the next lowest bidder to see if they have the capacity to do the contract.

10. Routing of Contract for City Signatures

Alane Boutelle prepares contracts for routing and enters them in the contract routing database. Project engineers / managers receive an email or phone call from Johanna once the contract is received at City-County Building and can advise what routing status (i.e., "routine" or "hand carry/rush") they would like the contract to be placed on. If the project engineer / manager wishes s/he may also walk the contract through the routing process.

When the contract has been signed by all required, Engineering scans a copy of the contract and sends the signed File and Contractor’s Office copies back to Emil St.


11. Start Work Letters

For contracts where the Engineering Division is the lead agency: Alane Boutelle checks with the design engineer and Construction Section Supervisor to see when to issue the Start Work Letter. The particular version of the Start Work that is issued depends upon whether all workforce profiles have been received and approved and if there are any outstanding Best Value Contracting or prequalification requirements. The contractor is mailed a packet containing the Start Work Letter, signed copy of the contract and the application for partial payment, if the signed contract has not already been provided by the engineer.

Departments other than Engineering:

For contracts where the Engineering Division is NOT the lead agency: Alane Boutelle notifies the design engineer whether all workforce profiles have been received and approved and if there are any outstanding Best Value Contracting or prequalification requirements. The design engineer should include any outstanding documentation in their start work letter.