South Brunswick is taking aim at contractors who fail to meet qualifications for responsibility on township projects.
The Township Council Tuesday evening passed an ordinance that seeks to ensure contactors bidding on municipal projects meet minimum standards for responsibility. Those requirements include documentation of clear qualifications, competency, expertise, and adequacy of resources, including equipment, financial, and personnel, as well as satisfactory records on past projects.
"The whole premise is to make sure people bidding on projects can meet minimum work standards," said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz. "It takes time to do all the research, so we're trying to be out in front of the process with the contractors."
Concerns were raised last year about contractor responsibility during the bidding process on the South Brunswick Senior Center expansion in September, 2012.
The low bid of $1.9 million from Sidd & Associates LLC, of Millstone, was rejected after the company failed to meet several of the bid specifications, according to Township Attorney Don Sears. Amongst the deficiencies in the bid from Sidd & Associates was a failure to meet the specifications for financial disclosure, a lack of financial information forms, no information on equipment the company has owned or leased, and no past projects listed under Sidd & Associates.
Sears said Sidd & Associates had obtained its business registration certificate only a few weeks before it submitted the bid for the improvements to the South Brunswick Senior Center.
As a condition for performing work on public works contracts in excess of $26,000, but less than $499,999, contractors need to certify that they, and each subcontractor performing work on the project, have at least one employee who has successfully completed an OSHA ten-hour construction safety and health course on site. For contracts in excess of $500,000, the contractor and at least one employee needs to have completed an OSHA 30-hour construction safety course.
The ordinance also states that contractors or subcontractors must have sufficient capabilities to successfully perform contracts on which they are engaged, including necessary experience, equipment, technical skills, qualifications, organization, financial and personnel resources. Furthermore, individuals, firms and businesses who bid on public contracts are also required to have a satisfactory past performance record and a satisfactory record of law compliance, integrity and business ethics.
"This is about insuring that we have legitimate bidders," Schmalz said. "A lot of other towns are doing this as well."