Not all that long ago, almost every construction contract awarded by the federal
government was done through formal advertising where the award went to the lowest bidder, provided that it was capable of doing the work. Today, most federal contracts are awarded on a best value basis, that is, selecting the offeror whose proposal offers the best value to the government based on a stated set of evaluation factors.
In concept, making an award selection on stated factors with stated weights seems like an approach that would have many key attributes not too dissimilar from formal advertising, that is, substantial transparency and only a minimal opportunity for capriciousness. Moreover, one would also think that the role of price in the selection process would be absolutely clear.
As will be explained in detail at the session “Best Value Procedures to Select Awardees” at NASBP’s and Smith, Currie & Hancock’s upcoming Educational Conferences in Washington, DC, on Nov. 12-13, 2014, there are many twists and turns in the process of making a selection on the basis of best value, not the least of which is that, even on a solicitation where technical merit is stated as being very important and price is not, an offeror whose proposal receives the highest technical evaluation score might legally not be selected.