337.14 Application for qualification; certificate of qualification; restrictions; request for hearing.—
(1) Any person desiring to bid for the performance of any construction contract in excess of $250,000 which the department proposes to let must first be certified by the department as qualified pursuant to this section and rules of the department. The rules of the department shall address the qualification of persons to bid on construction contracts in excess of $250,000 and shall include requirements with respect to the equipment, past record, experience, financial resources, and organizational personnel of the applicant necessary to perform the specific class of work for which the person seeks certification. The department is authorized to limit the dollar amount of any contract upon which a person is qualified to bid or the aggregate total dollar volume of contracts such person is allowed to have under contract at any one time. Each applicant seeking qualification to bid on construction contracts in excess of $250,000 shall furnish the department a statement under oath, on such forms as the department may prescribe, setting forth detailed information as required on the application. Each application for certification shall be accompanied by the latest annual financial statement of the applicant completed within the last 12 months. If the application or the annual financial statement shows the financial condition of the applicant more than 4 months prior to the date on which the application is received by the department, then an interim financial statement must be submitted and be accompanied by an updated application. The interim financial statement must cover the period from the end date of the annual statement and must show the financial condition of the applicant no more than 4 months prior to the date the interim financial statement is received by the department. Each required annual or interim financial statement must be audited and accompanied by the opinion of a certified public accountant or a public accountant approved by the department. The information required by this subsection is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). The department shall act upon the application for qualification within 30 days after the department determines that the application is complete. The department may waive the requirements of this subsection for projects having a contract price of $500,000 or less if the department determines that the project is of a noncritical nature and the waiver will not endanger public health, safety, or property.
(2) Certification shall be necessary in order to bid on a road, bridge, or public transportation construction contract of more than $250,000. However, the successful bidder on any construction contract must furnish a contract bond prior to the award of the contract. The department may waive the requirement for all or a portion of a contract bond for contracts of $150,000 or less under s. 337.18(1).
(3) Upon the receipt of an application for certification, the department shall examine it, verify its statements when necessary, and determine whether the applicant is competent, is responsible, and possesses the necessary financial resources to perform the desired work.
(4) If the applicant is found to possess the prescribed qualifications, the department shall issue to him or her a certificate of qualification that, unless thereafter revoked by the department for good cause, will be valid for a period of 18 months after the date of the applicant’s financial statement or such shorter period as the department prescribes. Submission of an application shall not affect expiration of the certificate of qualification. If the department finds that an application is incomplete or contains inadequate information or information that cannot be verified, the department may request in writing that the applicant provide the necessary information to complete the application or provide the source from which any information in the application may be verified. If the applicant fails to comply with the initial written request within a reasonable period of time as specified therein, the department shall request the information a second time. If the applicant fails to comply with the second request within a reasonable period of time as specified therein, the application shall be denied.
(5) The certificate of qualification shall contain a statement fixing the actual amount of work, in terms of estimated cost, which the applicant will be permitted to have on contract with the department and not completed at any one time, and the certificate may contain a statement by the department limiting such bidder to the submission of bids upon a certain class of work. Subject to such restrictions, the certificate of qualification shall authorize the holder to bid on all work on which bids are taken by the department during the period of time specified in the certificate.
(6) Any applicant for a certificate of qualification who is aggrieved by the action of the department may, within 10 days after receiving notification of such action, request a hearing pursuant to chapter 120.
(7) No “contractor” as defined in s. 337.165(1)(d) or his or her “affiliate” as defined in s. 337.165(1)(a) qualified with the department under this section may also qualify under s. 287.055 or s. 337.105 to provide testing services, construction, engineering, and inspection services to the department. This limitation shall not apply to any design-build prequalification under s. 337.11(7).
(8) This section does not apply to maintenance contracts.
(9)(a) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, for contracts in excess of $250,000, an authority created pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 may require that persons interested in performing work under contract first be certified or qualified to do the work. Any contractor may be considered ineligible to bid by the governmental entity or authority if the contractor is behind an approved progress schedule for the governmental entity or authority by 10 percent or more at the time of advertisement of the work. Any contractor prequalified and considered eligible by the department to bid to perform the type of work described under the contract shall be presumed to be qualified to perform the work so described. The governmental entity or authority may provide an appeal process to overcome that presumption with de novo review based on the record below to the circuit court.
(b) With respect to contractors not prequalified with the department, the authority shall publish prequalification criteria and procedures prior to advertisement or notice of solicitation. Such publications shall include notice of a public hearing for comment on such criteria and procedures prior to adoption. The procedures shall provide for an appeal process within the authority for objections to the prequalification process with de novo review based on the record below to the circuit court within 30 days.
(c) An authority may establish criteria and procedures under which contractor selection may occur on a basis other than the lowest responsible bidder. Prior to adoption, the authority shall publish for comment the proposed criteria and procedures. Review of the adopted criteria and procedures shall be to the circuit court, within 30 days after adoption, with de novo review based on the record below.
History.—s. 93, ch. 29965, 1955; s. 14, ch. 57-318; s. 1, ch. 61-501; s. 1, ch. 69-314; ss. 23, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 76-85; s. 1, ch. 78-316; s. 10, ch. 80-374; s. 1, ch. 83-18; s. 146, ch. 84-309; s. 33, ch. 86-243; s. 6, ch. 87-100; s. 2, ch. 89-21; s. 495, ch. 95-148; s. 37, ch. 95-257; s. 37, ch. 96-323; s. 161, ch. 96-406; s. 43, ch. 97-96; s. 80, ch. 2002-20; s. 43, ch. 2003-286; s. 4, ch. 2007-66; s. 33, ch. 2007-196; s. 21, ch. 2010-225.