Responsible Bidding

Responsible Bidder Ordinances (RBOs) are local construction policies that establish objective criteria and verifiable standards for contractors bidding on public infrastructure projects. An RBO is a protection plan for taxpayers, ensuring that local quality standards, local levels of craftsmanship, and local economic development practices are upheld. An RBO also guarantees that responsible contractors win public projects, rather than fly-by-night contractors who cut corners in the areas of training and safety.

Most RBOs include important standards…

Proof of participation in a registered apprenticeship training program

Proof of certificates of insurance

Prequalification surveys

Compliance with all local, state, and federal laws

RBOs are especially effective in states that have repealed prevailing wage laws by minimizing the negative economic, safety, and workforce development consequences associated with a lack of standards on taxpayer-funded construction projects.

Worker turnover is 2% lower in counties with RBOs.

Workers on heavy and highway construction earn 8% more in counties with RBOs.

RBOs increase the share of local contractors winning bids, supporting the local economy.

RBOs improve the “living standards of construction workers without significantly raising costs for taxpayers

Many counties, cities, townships, and school districts across the nation have enacted responsible bidder ordinances. However, most research on RBOs has been conducted in Illinois and Indiana. From 2010 to 2019, the number of local RBOs in Illinois and Indiana grew by 76%.

RBOs encourage 8% more bid competition
RBOs have no impact on overall project costs
RBOs improve quality and strengthen apprenticeship programs
RBOs uphold local quality standards on public projects