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Unsuccessful bidders for Colwood museum project will get $1M compensation

Infrastructure B.C. Inc. will give $1 million to each of up to two unsuccessful bidders for the design-build contract for the Royal B.C. Museum’s new ­building in Colwood.
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The Royal B.C. Museum in downtown Victoria.

Infrastructure B.C. Inc. will give $1 million to each of up to two unsuccessful bidders for the design-build contract for the Royal B.C. Museum’s new ­building in Colwood.

The $2 million will go to partially offset the cost of preparing bids in the request-for-proposal stage of the process.

The value of the contract is expected to be about $170 million for the 166,840-square-foot project on eight acres at Royal Bay, says Infrastructure B.C., an organization owned by the province.

It is Infrastructure B.C.’s standard business practice in design-build procurement to offer partial compensation to unsuccessful proponents who take part in the request-for-­proposal process and submit proposals, Kathy Cloutier, ­Infrastructure B.C.’s director of corporate and government ­relations, said Friday.

It is an expensive job to put together a competitive bid for public projects that can be valued in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Proponents develop costly drawing and document packages for the request for proposal, incurring substantial costs to develop robust submissions,” Cloutier said. “Only part of these costs are reimbursed.”

Offering compensation ­fosters competition and high-quality submissions, she said.

Builders face a two-part ­process in their quest to land a large contract.

First, they respond to Infrastructure B.C.’s request for their qualifications. That process is underway.

The group is then winnowed down to a short list of up to three bidders. Names on the shortlist are expected to be made public on Oct. 20.

Those on the short list will be asked to respond to a request for proposals.

No partial compensation will be paid during the request-for-qualifications stage — that happens after the detailed proposals come in from the short-listed bidders and the winner is chosen.

Monies are not intended to cover the full cost of taking part in that stage, Cloutier said.

A similar compensation strategy was set up for the Cowichan District Hospital replacement project, with an overall budget of $887.4 million. In that case, $3.5 million goes to the successful and unsuccessful bidders who took part in the request-for-proposal stage.

The new museum building — with indoor and outdoor learning areas, laboratories, storage and more — is expected to open in 2025.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com