October 01, 2002
The General Assembly has recently revised N.C. Gen. Stat. § 133-3, entitled “Specifications to carry competitive items; substitution of materials.” Specifically, the legislature has deleted the following sentence from the statute:
If an architect, engineer, designer, draftsman or owner prefers a particular brand of material, then such brand shall be bid as an alternate to the base bid and in such case the base bid shall cite three or more examples of items of equal or equivalent design, which would establish an acceptable range for items of equal or equivalent design.
Because of this deletion, an owner in a bidding process for a construction contract can no longer seek bids on a specific product as an alternate to the base bid on a public project. This procedure has been utilized by school systems in order to address compatibility and quality concerns. We are currently working with legislators to restore some or all of this flexibility. In the meantime, please make sure that your architects are aware of this change.
We thank you for the opportunity to provide ongoing legal services to the school system.