The County Purchasing Act (Texas Local Government Code, §262.021 et seq.), as amended, provides that notice of a proposed purchase exceeding $50,000 must be published at least once a week in a newspaper of general circulation with the first day of publication being at least 14 days before the date of bid opening. Generally, projects exceeding $50,000 are advertised in the Houston Chronicle, Friday edition, in the Classified Section under Bids and Proposals.
The advertisement contains a short description of the products or services desired, the job number, the time and date the bids are due and location where the bid documents may be downloaded or picked up. Jobs that are advertised in the newspaper are also posted for public view at the Office of the Harris County Purchasing Agent. Vendors may register on the
Harris County Purchasing website to obtain automatic notification of jobs available for bidding.
A bid or RFP package may be obtained by one of the following methods:
- Go to the Purchasing website,
Current Solicitations page, to register online with BuySpeed OnLine and CIVCAST. These site have the ability to notify vendors by commodity when an advertised bid/RFP has been placed on the site. Once registered, a password will be assigned to the vendor and bid/RFP documents may be downloaded. Using this system enables a timely review and receipt of bid/RFP documents. Since more than 90 percent of purchasing jobs are downloaded utilizing the purchasing website, vendors must keep their registration data, such as email addresses, current in order to receive timely updates concerning documents they have downloaded.
- Visit the Purchasing Office and pick up the bid/RFP document.
- Bid or RFP documents may be mailed to a vendor when the vendor's address is outside the greater Houston area. The Purchasing Office assumes no responsibility as to timely delivery of mailed bid or RFP documents or for any bid/RFP addenda.
- Some bid or RFP documents, generally for construction projects, may require pickup from an alternate location such as the Engineer's office, Flood Control or Harris Health System.
Various business associations or agencies such as the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have links to the Purchasing website so their membership can be aware of business opportunities. Proper communication with any agency distributing Harris County bid/RFP information is important to assure timely communication of any addenda to the job specifications.
Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) are encouraged to participate in the bid/RFP processes. Although Harris County does not certify HUB vendors, Harris County recognizes the certifications of other governmental entities.
Vendors are encouraged to read bid or RFP information thoroughly before contacting a Buyer with questions. Email is the preferred method of communication with the Purchasing Office regarding bid/RFP documentation. Contact information may also be obtained through the Purchasing website.
Care should be taken when completing the bid/RFP response. Failure to comply with requirements may result in disqualification. Prior to submitting a response, vendors must verify the bid/RFP Cover Sheet is signed and all documentation has been completed. If a vendor responds to more than one job, be sure the vendor’s response is placed in the envelope marked with the corresponding job number.
Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) are encouraged to participate
Bids and proposals are due by 2:00 p.m. local time in Houston, Texas, on Mondays. Bids are opened shortly thereafter in the Purchasing Office Conference Room, Suite 670 on the 6th Floor of the County Administration Building, 1001 Preston, Houston, Texas 77002. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL LATE BIDS/PROPOSALS BE ACCEPTED.
Bids are presented to Commissioners Court when in session. Bids received on days when Commissioners Court does not meet are referred for future action. Bids may be awarded, rejected, carried over, or referred (referrals will be reviewed in more detail and placed back on the agenda at a later date). Copies of the bid tabulations are available in Commissioners Court or in the office of the Purchasing Agent. Bids are also available for viewing in the office of the County Clerk and bid tabulations may be viewed on the
Responses to an RFP are confidential and are opened in the Purchasing Office without public participation. An RFP allows negotiation with those vendors who submit proposals that have a reasonable possibility of obtaining the award. The final negotiated contract may become public upon award and execution of an agreement as described by state law.
It is the policy of the Purchasing Agent to consider total cost when making an evaluation to determine the lowest and best bid/proposal. Total cost evaluations may include items such as quality, durability, and user recommendation/experience with the product or service, past performance and other items as applicable.
Award recommendations for Harris County projects are available through the Commissioners Court Agenda published on the Friday preceding the Tuesday Commissioners Court meeting. The Commissioners Court Agenda is posted in various County buildings including the Administration Building and the Family Law Center. It is also available from the Harris County website
http://www.harriscountytx.gov. Upon Commissioners Court approval, a copy of the court approved award letter can be found under the section titled Current Project Status.
Award recommendations for Harris County projects are available through the Commissioners Court Agenda published on the Friday preceding the Tuesday Commissioners Court meeting.
Recommendation letters submitted to Commissioners Court by this office are copied to all vendors responding to a bid/RFP. County purchasing law allows for a low bidder meeting specifications who is bypassed for an award the opportunity to appear at Commissioners Court. It is a requirement of the bid/RFP General Requirements that the vendor notify the Purchasing Office prior to appearing in Commissioners Court.
The Purchase Order is the County's official instrument of procurement. Vendors are not authorized to deviate from the instructions set forth in the Purchase Order and invoices must always reference the applicable Purchase Order number.
Commissioners Court has implemented a policy requiring all vendors to be current with the payment of Harris County taxes. Vendors may check the tax status of their company by going to
http://www.hctax.net. Vendors owing taxes to the County may not be considered for bid award recommendations.
Purchasing Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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