Alexandria, Va.-based American Subcontractors Association (ASA) has expressed support for a bill to prohibit bid shopping on construction contracts with the federal government. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., introduced H.R. 1859, the Construction Quality Assurance Act of 2001, on May 16, 2001.

The bill would penalize contractors working on a federal contract for bid shopping.

The bill defines bid shopping as “the practice of a contractor asking, requiring, or otherwise pressuring a subcontractor to lower bids for subcontracts, or accepting lower bids from subcontractors, after submitting a bid without passing the savings from the lower bids back to the federal government.”

According to ASA, the federal government allows bid shopping of subcontracts, a practice industry associations deem unacceptable.

In related news, the ASA and its New York chapters — the Subcontractors Trade Association and Niagara Frontier Subcontractors Association — filed an amicii curiae, or “friends of the court,” brief on May 18, 2001, with the Appellate Division of the state of New York to establish a subcontractor's right to damages for delays caused by a project owner. The brief was submitted in response to a New York trial court's decision to refuse a subcontractor the opportunity to collect “pass through claims” for delay damages caused by a project owner.

The current law does not allow New York subcontractors any right or opportunity to assess delay damages.