If you are a general contractor or subcontractor looking for public works contracting opportunities with the City, this quick guide is for you.


The first step to bidding as a general contractor on City public works contracts is to pre-qualify with the Engineering Division by the time of the bid opening. Consult the contract’s Advertisement for Bid to determine the deadline for submitting a prequalification application.

Contractors should also reference page A-3 of the spec book for required prequalification categories and confirm they are prequalified in at least one of the categories indicated. Subcontractors may be required to attain prequalification status because of Best Value Contracting requirements. However, a subcontractor does not need to be prequalified at the time of bid, but before commencing work.

An Affirmative Action Plan is a component of the application. Questions may be directed to contractorprequalification@cityofmadison.com or 608-266-4751.

Notice of Bid Opportunities

Notice of bid opportunities is published in the legal section of The Wisconsin State Journal on Fridays.

Email notification of Ad for Bids is available by signing up for a My City of Madison Account. Advertised contracts can be found at www.BidExpress.com.

Plans, Specs & Plan Holders Lists

Copies of plans and specifications are available on-line at www.BidExpress.com. Contractors are asked to register for the plan holders list on this website.

This information is used to distribute addendums. Bidders must acknowledge addendums on the Proposal Page. Failure to do so may result in the bid being disqualified.

Pre Bid Meetings

All contractors are encouraged to attend pre-bid meetings. Notice of meeting is published in a contract’s Section A: Advertisement for Bid.

Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Meetings

SBE meetings are held virtually. Notice of meeting is published in a contract’s Section A: Advertisement for Bid. How to register for a SBE meeting.

Standard Specifications

A complete copy of the Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction is available for reference on the public works web page.

Bid Receiving & Opening

Bids are due by 2 p.m. on the Thursday established by the Ad for Bid at the Engineering Division, 1600 Emil St., Madison, WI 53713 (postmark not applicable) or electronically on BidExpress.com. Bid openings are held at 2:30 p.m. that day, at the same location and are open to the public. Preliminary results are posted on Bid Express and the public works web page.

Best Value Contracting

Best Value Contracting (BVC) is addressed by Madison General Ordinance 33.07(7) and applies to all generals and subcontractors working on public works contracts. Based on contract dollar amount, trade(s) used on the project and whether the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development considers the type of work apprentice-able, companies may be required to pre-qualify and employ apprentices. The dollar value at which BVC requirements are applied to single and multiple trade contracts is computed yearly.

Contact Alane Boutelle in the Engineering Division, 608-267-1197, with questions regarding BVC requirements.

Biennial Bid Bond Contractors intending to frequently bid on public works contracts may place a Biennial Bid Bond on file with City Engineering. Applications must be received at least five calendar days prior to a bid letting in to be in effect for that letting. A confirmation notice will be emailed when the application is approved. Contractors Meetings Semi-annual meetings are held in February, and November.