ADM-1.22 - Construction Prequalification Program Administrative Rules

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
Policy category
Policy number

Table of Contents

Section 1         Purpose

Section 2         Bureaus Affected 

Section 3         Jurisdiction

Section 4         Definitions

Section 5         Policy

Section 6         Application Process

Section 7         Evaluation Process

Section 8         Prequalification Board Responsibilities

Section 9         Bureau Responsibilities

Section 10      Chief Procurement Officer Authority

Section 11      Legislative Authority

1          Purpose

These rules are intended to establish processes and procedures for the provision of the City’s Construction Prequalification Program as outlined in the Oregon Revised Statutes, Portland City Code and Council Resolutions integrating fiscal responsibility, social equity and contracting community involvement.

2          Bureaus Affected

All City Bureaus, departments or offices engaged in construction contracting.

3          Jurisdiction

Portland City Code Chapters 5.34.040 Affirmative Action, 5.34.510 Prequalification of Offerors, and 5.34.930 Social Equity in Contracting and Employment Programs; Resolutions #36868 and #36944; and ORS Statute 279C.430.

4          Definitions

The following definitions apply to the Construction Prequalification Program for prime construction contractors:

4.1       Appeal means a legal proceeding or protest arising from a decision by the City by which a case is brought before an adjudicative body for review of the decision. 

4.2       Application means the standard Prequalification Application form required by the City to be submitted by prime construction contractors in the prequalification process.

4.3       Bid specific means a prequalification evaluation and determination made for a specific solicitation that is only applicable to that solicitation.

4.4       Biennial means general prequalification renewal is on a two-year basis.

4.5       Board of Appeals means the Procurement Board of Appeals created by City Council for the prompt, effective and efficient resolution of appeals and protests resulting from denial, revocation or revision of a Prequalification decision or a decision to disqualify a prospective Offeror. City Council has delegated its authority to the Chief Procurement Officer for the purpose of receiving notice that a Person has appealed. 

4.6       Days means calendar days, including weekdays, weekends and holidays, beginning at midnight and ending at midnight 24 hours later, unless otherwise specified by these rules or the Solicitation Document.

4.7       Denial of Prequalification means a determination that a bidder’s prequalification application is not approved in whole or in part, or is restricted or revoked.

4.8       Expertise means the General Contractor must have direct experience in self-performing or managing sub-contractors to complete work of a similar nature.

4.9       Foreign Contractor means a Contractor who is incorporated outside the State of Oregon.

4.10     General Prequalification is the process followed by the City to determine the qualifications of a contractor within a general construction-related class of work.

4.11     Grace Period is the time frame from which a renewal application has been received until the date of the bidding limit renewal determination.

4.12     Joint Venture means a partnership that is similar to a general partnership, except that it is formed either for a specific, limited purpose or project, or for a limited period of time.

4.13     Partnership means an arrangement involving two or more persons or companies who have agreed to undertake a business venture as co-owners, with the intent to make a profit. Usually a long-term agreement, the partners agree to proportionally share the losses and profits from that enterprise.

4.14     Prequalification to bid is a legal application process described in Oregon Revised Statute 279C in which a prime contractor seeks to qualify with a public agency in requested classes of work in order to bid public improvement contracts. Applications are reviewed by the City to determine a prime contractor’s qualified bidding limits.  

4.15     Quorum is the minimum number of members necessary for the Prequalification Board to conduct business.

4.16     Similar Nature means construction projects/work with some of the same features and common characteristics.

4.17     Special Prequalification is a separate prequalification application process required for a specific project when the Chief Procurement Officer determines that the project is of a size, scope or complexity for which a Special Prequalification would be of assistance in the selection of qualified contractors. 

5          Policy

5.1       The City of Portland has chosen the Prequalification process to determine the responsibility of offerors as required in ORS 279C.375 (3) (b) and 279C.430 (2), and conditions a bidder’s submission of a bid on that bidder’s Prequalification with the City. The prequalification requirement applies to Prime Construction Contractors but is not required of subcontractors.   

5.2       A bidder may prequalify by demonstrating to the City’s satisfaction that it is a responsible bidder based on the criteria set forth in ORS 279C.375(3)(b) and PCC 5.34.500.

5.3       All public improvement projects with an engineer’s estimate of $250,000 or greater require Prequalification of prime contractors.

5.4       The City of Portland Prequalification Program applies only to City construction / public improvement projects.

5.5       Procurement Services procedures are to not to disclose contractor prequalification limits to external parties. It is expected that financial information or bidding limits disclosed through the prequalification process be kept confidential.

6          Application Process

6.1       All prequalification applications will be processed pursuant to ORS 279C.430 and PCC 5.34.510. 

6.2       Applications may be submitted for General Prequalification, a specific project (bid specific), or to meet Special Prequalification requirements as indicated in the Solicitation Document.  

6.3       A General Prequalification application may be submitted to Procurement Services at any time and is renewable on a biennial basis.  General requests for bidding limit increases may be submitted at any time.

6.3.1    A General Prequalification Application form may be obtained on Procurement Services website at:

6.3.2    Information required on the application form shall be supplied fully and completely, as applicable.  Any prospective bidder shall supply further information or detail as the City may require for clarification. All Prequalification Applications shall be filed with Procurement Services. The application may be submitted via email, fax, mail or hand delivered.

6.3.3    Applications for a specific bid must be received by Procurement Services at least ten (10) Days prior to the date of bid opening unless specifically stated otherwise in the Solicitation Document. Applications received less than ten (10) Days prior to the bid opening may be processed or rejected in the City’s sole discretion. 

6.3.4    General Prequalification applications will be reviewed and evaluated within 30 Days from receipt of the completed application per ORS 279C.430 (2). An application will be considered complete on the date in which all required information has been received.

6.3.5    For contractors with a current prequalification status a grace period will be granted.

6.4       When a Special Prequalification is required, the following process will apply:

6.4.1    Bureau Requests for Special Prequalification require evaluation and approval by the Chief Procurement Officer. The Special Prequalification Request form may be obtained from the Procurement Services website at:

6.4.2    The Special Prequalification application and due date will be provided within the Solicitation Document. Bidders qualified under a Special Prequalification may be considered eligible to bid on subsequent projects from the same Bureau, of the same size and similar scope for up to two (2) years following the date of eligibility determination. 

6.4.3    Information required on the Special Prequalification application shall be supplied fully and completely, as applicable. Any prospective bidder shall supply further information or detail as the City may require for clarification. All Special Prequalification applications shall be filed with Procurement Services and may be submitted via email, fax, mail or hand delivered.

6.4.4    Special Prequalification Applications must be received by Procurement Services no later than the date and time specified in the Solicitation Document. Late submissions may be processed or rejected in the City’s sole discretion. 

6.5       Should a bidder’s prequalification application require additional information in order to make a prequalification determination, the bidder will be notified regarding what is required and the due date for submitting such information. The City will identify the time frame in which the additional information is to be provided. 

6.6       If a bidder’s prequalification is not approved in whole or in part, or is restricted or revoked, the City shall notify the bidder in writing, specify the reasons, and inform the bidder of the right to a hearing in accordance with PCC 5.34.510(G).

7          Evaluation Process

7.1       Evaluation of prequalification applications and determination of bidding limits is based on PCC 5.34.500 and includes the bidder’s:

7.1.1    Availability of appropriate financial, material, equipment, facility and personnel resources and expertise, necessary to indicate the capability of the prospective bidder to meet all contractual responsibilities;

7.1.2    Completion of previous contracts at a minimum within the last ten (10) years, of a similar nature and with a satisfactory record of performance (i.e., may include but is not limited to: projects were completed on time, on budget and in accordance with specifications and plans; applicant company’s performance history, MWESB utilization; no default or breach of contract; timely payments to subcontractors; prevailing wage compliance; willful OSHA safety violations);

7.1.3    Satisfactory record of integrity;

7.1.4    Meeting legal qualifications to contract with the City, including, but not limited to, an EEO Certification and a current, valid, business license tax registration from the City;

7.1.5    Providing all necessary information in connection with the inquiry concerning responsibility;

7.1.6    Not being disqualified by the City under ORS 279C.440 or PCC 5.34.530.

7.2       When reviewing applications, the City may make inquiries about or make investigations of applicants as deemed appropriate.

7.3       Established bidding limits will not be reduced unless a bidder’s bonding capacity has decreased or there are documented contractor performance issues. 

8          Prequalification Board Responsibilities

8.1       The Prequalification Board (Board) will use the criteria established in section 7 of these rules in order to recommend approval, denial or modification on all requests for prequalification to the Procurement Manager or designee.

8.2       The Board will consist of an odd number of members with one member from each of the infrastructure bureaus; the other members may be representatives from the Office of Equity, and Procurement Services.

8.3       Board members may coordinate within their Bureaus to provide technical advice to the Board, including but not limited to technical analysis of applications for specialty work. 
Employees providing these services will not be appointed to the Board but may attend Board meetings as necessary.

8.4       Board members are appointed jointly by the Chief Procurement Officer and the appropriate bureau directors or designee.

8.5       Procurement Services will provide staff support, including but not limited to review for application completeness, federal debarment listing, surety information, and facilitation of Board meetings.

8.6       A quorum is required for conducting official Board business; once a quorum has been reached business may continue to be conducted, notwithstanding the number of Board members present. All Board recommendations require a vote by a majority of the Board members present in reaching prequalification determinations. If Board members are unable to attend in person, then that Board member may designate a representative.

8.7       A quorum of the Board may take action without meeting, by means of e-mail or telephone communication. E-mails will be maintained as a record of actions.

8.8       For General Prequalification, the Board will review applications within thirty (30) Days of receipt. For Bid Specific requests reviews shall be completed within three to five days.

8.9       When considering a Special Prequalification, the Board will rely on the technical expertise of and may rely on the recommendation of the applicable bureau for which the Special Prequalification is required.

8.10     The Board shall identify to Procurement Services any missing or additional information needed from bidders application in order to make a prequalification determination; new contractors to the prequalification class may be required to provide more detailed information in order to allow the Board to make a reasonable determination. Identification of additional information must be made in a reasonable time to assure that applications are being reviewed by established timelines within these rules.

8.11     The Board may choose to meet with the contractors in order to better understand their work history, capacity and resources.

8.12     When determined necessary Board or bureau representatives will be responsible for calling contractor references as assigned. 

8.13     All recommendations of the Board are subject to review by the Procurement Manager or designee. 

8.14     Board recommendations for reduction in bidding limits will be reviewed by the Procurement Manager or designee. 

8.15     If the Board cannot come to a consensus or if the Procurement Manager disagrees with a Board recommendation, the final determination will be made by the Procurement Manager or designee.

8.16     If an appeal is filed, the Board will coordinate and work with Procurement Services in providing information and assistance for defending the appeal.

9          Bureau Responsibilities  

9.1       Each infrastructure bureau is responsible for providing one representative to the Board along with any necessary technical experts when called upon to do so.

9.2       The Board may consider a bureau’s recommendations and technical knowledge when determining a contractor’s prequalification. Bureaus will provide supporting documentation when additional information is needed to make the determination.

9.3       The infrastructure bureau will provide documentation and assist the Procurement Manager when preparing for an appeal.  

10        Chief Procurement Officer Authority

10.1     The Chief Procurement Officer has authority to standardize and centrally administer the Construction Prequalification Program, adopt and revise Administrative Rules, develop procedure manuals and forms, and update City Code as necessary.

10.2     Subcontractors are not required to be prequalified unless otherwise determined by the Chief Procurement Officer for a specific bid or as required by the solicitation document.

10.3     The Chief Procurement Officer shall have the authority to request and inspect all documentation necessary to reasonably determine whether the contractor and the Board are in full compliance with these rules.

10.4     If the Chief Procurement Officer has reasonable cause to believe there has been a substantial change in the basis of a contractor’s prequalification, the Chief Procurement Officer may further review the contractor’s prequalification and broaden or restrict as deemed appropriate.

10.5     At the Chief Procurement Officer’s discretion, Bidders qualified under a Special Prequalification are eligible to bid on subsequent projects of the same size and similar scope from the same bureau, for up to two (2) years from the date of eligibility determination.

10.6     Upon receipt of a request for appeal hearing, the Chief Procurement Officer has authority to conduct an appeal hearing specific to prequalification denial, or may delegate the authority to conduct a hearing to any person(s) the Chief Procurement Officer deems appropriate, including the Procurement Board of Appeals.

10.6.1  The appeal shall be conducted within 30 Days or a date mutually agreed upon by both parties, as per PCC 5.34.750 (B).

10.6.2  The Chief Procurement Officer will adopt rules of procedure for the hearing. 

11        Legislative Authority 

Nothing in these provisions shall limit the right of the City Council to waive the requirements of these rules and procedures.


Adopted by Chief Procurement Officer on October 22, 2013, filed for inclusion in PPD October 23, 2013.

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