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Procedure for Open Call for Bids

Approval Date: 2019-02-19

Effective Date: 2019-02-19

Responsible Unit: Department of Financial and Administrative Services


1. Preparing an Open Call for Bids

1.1 All Open Call for Bids notices must be routed through the Department of Financial and Administrative Services (FAS) unless alternate arrangements have been made.

1.2 Procedures for preparing Open Call for Bids Notice:

1.2.1 Obtain bid number, opening time and date from the applicable Tendering Clerk [FAS, the Office of the Associate Vice-President (Administration and Finance) Grenfell Campus, the purchasing office at the Faculty of Medicine, the Tendering Section at Facilities Management, or the purchasing section of the Finance Office at the Marine Institute]. Open Call for Bids normally close a minimum of fifteen (15) calendar days after they are posted.

1.2.2 Open Call for Bids Notice should include:

  • A description of the good or service required
  • Bid Number
  • Bid Name
  • Time and Date for closing (be sure to include time zone; NDST or NST after the time)
  • Details to bidders about where to obtain Open Call for Bid packages (i.e. Service Providers)
  • Conditions for obtaining the bid documents, if any
  • Acceptable methods for bid submission (hand-deliver, fax, email, mail)
  • Address where bids are to be delivered
  • Room number and building where the public opening will take place
  • Time at which the opening will take place

1.2.3 All open call for bid notices will be advertised electronically with the Service Provider (Bids, Pods, and Merx). Units will be required to forward all bid documents electronically to the person responsible for tendering in accordance with 1.2.1 above.

2. Instructions to Units

2.1 When preparing packages for submission, ensure that each package contains:

  • Open Call for Bids Notice
  • All specifications
  • Any amendments to the general terms and conditions that may be unique to the end-user unit

2.2 Forward all documents in electronic format as an e-mail with an attachment.

2.3 The deadline for the electronic transfer to the person responsible for tendering is two (2) working days prior to the date the unit wishes to have it appear on the Service Provider's website.

2.4 Upon receipt of the Call for Bids Notice, Specifications and Amendments, all necessary changes will be made and converted to PDF format. Applicable documents including the Invitation to Open Call for Bids Form, the General Terms and Conditions, the Call for Bids Notice, the specifications, the Capital Equipment Purchase Order Addendum if applicable and any Amendments to the General Terms and Conditions will be attached and the complete package will be forwarded to the Service Providers within the required time frame.

3. The Open Call for Bids Process

There are five (5) basic steps to the open call for bids process. They are:

3.1 Development of an accurate set of specifications for the bidders to review. Inadequate specifications will cause problems for the bidders in developing accurate bids and may result in the acquisition of goods and/or services that do not meet the standards desired by the end user or necessitate the cancelling and resubmission of an Open Call for Bids, adding delays to the process.

When developing the open call specifications, ensure that the following points are considered (as applicable):

  • The minimum warranty requirements the University will accept.
  • The quality of the product expected to be purchased. For example, specifying just a LCD panel monitor for a computer system may not be adequate if you expect a contrast ratio of 600:1 w/digital interface or better and you are quoted 350:1 w/analog, which is not acceptable. Specify precisely your minimum requirements.
  • Delivery date.
  • Brand name of a product, where required. You are permitted to reference a "brand" name of an acceptable product, however, the words "or approved equivalent" are also required.

3.2 Contact the applicable Tendering Clerk to arrange for the review of specifications, if necessary.

3.3 Bid opening. (See Section 4 below).

3.4 Bid evaluation. (See Section 5 below).

3.5 Notification of award to bidders. (See Section 6 below).

4. Bid Opening

4.1 All bid openings must be attended by at least two (2) University representatives: one (1) from the unit making the purchase and one (1) from the unit responsible for issuing the open call for bids. Any member of the public is allowed to attend.

4.2 The attendance sheet must be signed by all present.

4.3 Bids will be opened individually and the following information disclosed:

  • Bid Name
  • Name and address of bidder

Each bid along with above information will be duly recorded by the unit representative.

Each bid will be signed and dated by both University representatives.

4.4 Bids will be rejected during the opening process when key elements have not been included, such as:

  • Bid is not submitted on the Invitation to Open Call for Bids Form.
  • Bid submission is not properly identified.
  • Open Call for Bids form is not signed.
  • Faxed bids are not received in its entirety prior to the closing time.
  • Emailed bids not received prior to the closing time.

4.5 Bids not meeting the documentation requirement will be rejected promptly.

5. Bid Evaluation

The following guidelines are used to evaluate bids:

  • Completeness of bids. Ensure that the Invitation to Open Call for Bids Form and any other required documents are included in each bid submission package.
  • Ensure that each bidder has signed their Invitation to Open Call for Bids Form.
  • Ensure that for any faxed bids, the original documents are received within three (3) working days after the open call for bids has closed.
  • Evaluate each bid to ensure that the bidders are in compliance with all specifications.
  • Complete a technical evaluation.
  • Complete a Bid Evaluation Form. This will show all bids received, whether they are acceptable or not acceptable, and the preferred bidder. The preferred bidder is defined as the lowest qualified bidder under the Public Procurement Act.
  • Document reasons for disqualification of any bid.

6. Notification of Award

  • Notify unsuccessful and disqualified bidders using the Bid Notification Form. The notification to unsuccessful bidders and disqualified bidders will include the name of the successful bidder and the total open call for bids award amount.
  • Forward original bids, Bid Notification Form, copy of all documents outlining reasons for disqualification, copies of notices sent to unsuccessful bidders and disqualified bidders and a copy of the resulting purchase order(s) to the applicable person responsible for tendering for your unit in accordance with 1.2.1 above.

7. Notification of Exceptions - Open Call for Bids Not Required

7.1 "An Open Call for Bids Exception Form" is required to be completed by units to enable the FAS Tendering Clerk to report to the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) within 15 days of award, pursuant to Public Procurement Regulations, Section 32, all instances where an open call for bids exception was applied. The form is designed to capture those contracts awarded without an open call for bids as allowed by section 6 of the Public Procurement Regulations 2018.

7.1.1 It should be noted that, in order to use an exception specified in section 6 of the Public Procurement Regulations 2018, the Director of Financial and Administrative Services will be responsible for providing approval prior to award. Therefore, it is important that arrangements for approval be made in advance if you anticipate using this clause. Use of this exemption cannot be granted after the award has been made.

7.1.2 Examples of exceptions allowed under section 6 of the Act are:

6(a)(ii) An open call for bids could reasonably be expected to compromise security (3 quotes are still required).

6(a)(iii) Commodity is available from a Public Body.

6(a)(iv) An emergency or situation of urgency exists and an open call for bids cannot reasonable be made in time (obtain more than one quote where the situation allows).

6(a)(v) Only one source reasonably available for the commodity, in the following circumstances:

  • Compatibility with existing products, to recognize exclusive rights or to maintain specialized products that must be maintained by the manufacturer or representative;
  • An absence of competition for technical reasons, no alternative or substitute exists;
  • Supply is controlled by a statutory monopoly;
  • Purchase of goods on a commodity market;
  • Work on or about a leased property that can only be performed by the lessor without giving rise to a significant risk for the public body;
  • Work to be performed under a warranty or guarantee;
  • Winner of a design contest;
  • A prototype or a first good or service to be developed in the course of and for a particular contract for research, experiment, study or original development, but not for any subsequent purchases;
  • Original works of art; and
  • Subscriptions to newspapers, magazines or other periodicals.

6(a)(vi) A list of pre-qualified suppliers has been established using a Request for Qualification process (quotations to be requested from all qualified suppliers on the list).

6(a)(vii) Acquisition of a commodity is for the purpose of resale or for incorporation into a product for resale.

6(b)Set rates established by the Public Utilities Board acting under the Public Utilities Act or another Act.

7.2 Timing of Award

7.2.1 FAS will be responsible for gathering all Exception Forms and submitting them to the President for review and signature.

7.2.2 An Exception Form must be fully completed and forwarded to FAS for approval to award a contract without an open call for bids prior to the issuance of the purchase order. This is required in order to ensure the President has approved not performing an open call for bids before the award is made.

7.2.3 When an emergency or situation of urgency exists and pre-approval cannot be obtained, the Exception Form must be received by FAS within 5 days of contract award.

7.3 Completion of Exception Form

Section 1 - This area will indicate the University unit making the award.

Section 2 - This section will briefly describe the nature of the services or supplies purchased. The purchase order number is documented.

Section 3 - This section will contain the complete mailing address of the contractor, supplier or lessor to whom the award will be made.

Section 4 - The full value of the contract, exclusive of taxes but including freight and any other associated costs is to be shown here.

Section 5 - Tick the appropriate exception clause of the Public Procurement Regulations 2018 for which this purchase is exempt.

Section 6 - Clearly outline why an open call for bids was not required. This explanation will have to undergo the scrutiny of the Auditor General's Office, Public Procurement Agency and the general public, so sound justification is critical.

Section 7 - In all cases, the appropriate Unit Head is required to sign the form prior to it being forwarded to the Department of Financial and Administrative Services for review and recommendation to the President or delegate for approval.

Policies using this procedure:


University Policies

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Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000