FAQs: Public Sector Users of BC Bid
Answers to frequently asked questions about posting to BC Bid are below.
- User Information
- Register to Post on BC Bid
- Post an Opportunity
- Cancel an Opportunity
- Amend an Opportunity
- Post Unverified Bid Results
- Post a Contract Award Summary
Q. My contact information has changed. How can I update my BC Bid profile?
- Log into BC Bid with the usual username and password, and click on My Profile in the left-hand menu. Registered public sector users can change the address, email address, phone and fax numbers. If logging on with a BC Bid account (not IDIR or BCeID), the password can also be changed. Contact the BC Bid Help Desk to change the title or the organization associated with the profile.
Q. My IDIR or BCeID password has changed. How do I update BC Bid?
- If an IDIR or BCeID password is changed, just use the new one when logging on to BC Bid. BC Bid uses IDIR and BCeID for validation of those logon credentials and does not store passwords separately.
Q. When do I have to post an opportunity on BC Bid?
- Any business opportunity can be posted to BC Bid, and ministries must post on BC Bid at certain dollar thresholds, as per the Core Policy and Procedures Manual, 6.3.2.b.3 for goods, and 6.3.2.c.4 for services and construction. Ministries may have thresholds that are lower than those in policy; more information can be found at How to Buy Goods, How to Buy Services, or How to Buy Construction, or contact the ministry’s Procurement Specialist.
Q. How much does it cost to post on BC Bid?
- There is no cost for public sector users to post on BC Bid.
Q. How much does it cost vendors to access opportunities on BC Bid?
- In general, the information posted and any attached documents will be available at no cost to anyone with internet access. The exceptions are those opportunities that have mandatory planholder lists for their opportunities (usually construction-related). In order to eligible for a planholder list, a vendor is required to register on BC Bid at a cost of $100/150 per year More information about planholder lists is included in the Post your Opportunity section below.
Q. Do I have to register on BC Bid even if I have an IDIR or BCeID username and password?
- Yes, registration on BC Bid is required to create an account. The BC Bid account will be set up to use the existing IDIR or BCeID username and password for logging on.
Q. Where can I enter the Original Publish Date on my opportunity notice?
- The Original Publish Date field will automatically fill in with the date at the time the opportunity is first published on BC Bid.
Q. My co-worker started an opportunity but did not publish it. Can I publish the opportunity?
- Draft documents, such as an amendment or opportunity that is created but not yet published, belong to the public sector user who created them. Others will be able to find the opportunity but cannot make changes or publish it. Contact the BC Bid Help Desk (by email or phone 250 387-7301) for assistance. The help desk can forward a draft BC Bid opportunity so that a co-worker can edit and publish it.
Q. Can I use the same number more than once on BC Bid? When I try to enter the number I get the error message “Warning: Document number already on file for organization”.
- Document numbers can be reused in BC Bid, but the system will warn that it is a duplicate. To reuse a number, close down the warning screen and click Refresh in the left-hand menu. The number entered will then appear in the Solicitation Number field. Note that if a number is reused, it may be difficult to differentiate the opportunities when searching for one of them in BC Bid. If two postings are closely related, consider changing the number slightly (e.g. if the original number is RFQ-2523, the second posting could be RFQ-2523-A).
Q. Do I have to choose a category (commodity) for my opportunity?
- Yes, category selection is mandatory when posting an opportunity on BC Bid. Opportunities are grouped by dates, organizations and categories. BC Bid email subscribers receive notifications of opportunities published that match the category they chose for their profile. However, an opportunity can include more than one category.
Q. Can I see who has downloaded my opportunity after it is posted?
- Most information on BC Bid is available anonymously to anyone with internet access; therefore, the system is unable to track who has downloaded the attachments, or how many times the attachments have been downloaded. The exception is opportunities posted with a mandatory planholder list.
Q. What are planholder lists?
- Planholder lists are most often used for construction-related opportunities. A planholder list allows the posting organization know who has downloaded their attachments because vendors are unable to access any until they have added themselves to the list. The planholder list is also helpful for tradespeople (i.e. potential subcontractors) to submit their pricing for the portion of the goods and services that they can provide for the general contractors on the planholder list.
When an opportunity has a planholder list, vendors require a paid subscription on BC Bid to be able to add their details to the list and download the attachments. The planholder lists are publically available for each opportunity.
Q. How do I post an opportunity with a planholder list?
- If an organization is set up to use planholder lists, they will automatically be on every opportunity posted by that organization. Have the appropriate manager or director contact the BC Bid Help Desk if a separate organization is required to be set up on BC Bid for planholder lists. Organizations that have been set up for planholder lists will then have two listings in BC Bid – one with planholder list in the organization name, and one without. Choose the appropriate organization when posting each opportunity, depending on whether or not a planholder list is needed.
Q. When will my opportunity appear publically on BC Bid?
- As soon as the “Document Completed” message appears on the screen after issuing an opportunity notice, it is live on the BC Bid site.
To confirm that an opportunity is publically available on BC Bid:
- Click on Exit from BC Bid in the left-hand menu and log off.
- Go to the BC Bid homepage and click on Browse for Bid Opportunities without logging on with an username and password.
- Choose the Browse opportunities by organization link at the top of the Browse page, then click on the applicable organization name to find all opportunities currently posted by that organization.
- Confirm that the opportunity is in the list, and therefore accessible by the public.
If the opportunity is not in the list, it has not been properly finalized. Log back on to BC Bid, click My Documents then Document Search to find the opportunity and complete the posting process. For assistance, refer to Post Opportunities or contact the BC Bid Help Desk by email or telephone at 250 387-7301.
Q. I need to publish an opportunity on BC Bid to coincide with a public announcement (or for any other reason). Can I complete the opportunity notice now and have it automatically publish at a later date and time?
- Yes, the publish date and time of an opportunity can be postponed. To do this, complete both the postpone date and postpone time fields on the Tender Notice Control Fields screen, which will delay the publication of the opportunity.
Continue to complete and publish the opportunity notice as usual. The opportunity will be held by BC Bid and then released publically at the postponed date and time.
Be sure that the opportunity is ready before publishing. If a change is needed after completing the notice but before the postponed date and time, do not amend the opportunity. Contact the BC Bid Help Desk for assistance in making changes to postponed opportunity notices.
Q. Can I copy an opportunity notice?
- Yes, opportunity notices can be copied (cloned). This is useful for re-publishing an opportunity (e.g. a refresh of a Request for Qualifications) or for publishing opportunities with similar attachments or details. Go to My Documents, then Document Search to open the opportunity notice that will be copied. Click Clone in the left-hand menu to create a draft copy of the notice, including any attachments. Make whatever changes or adjustments are needed to the new opportunity.
Q. Can I cancel an opportunity that is currently open on BC Bid?
A. Yes, opportunities can be cancelled using one of the following two options:
- Withdraw the opportunity notice by accessing the notice through My Documents, then Document Search. Withdraw is an option in the left-hand menu. There is no ability to add an explanation when withdrawing a notice. The opportunity notice will remain on BC Bid until it closes, but the number will be greyed-out and display a yellow notation. BC Bid users will not be able to open it from the browse screen, and BC Bid email subscribers whose profile matches the applicable category will receive an email advising that the opportunity has been withdrawn.
- Alternatively, amend the opportunity and explain that the opportunity is cancelled in the Summary Details area. Attachments can be deleted or other information changed if desired before publishing the amendment.
Q. I withdrew an opportunity by mistake. Can I undo that step?
- No, the withdraw step is final and cannot be changed. If an opportunity was withdrawn and should be back on BC Bid, publish a new opportunity notice and include a brief explanation in the new opportunity for clarity.
Q. My co-worker published an opportunity and is now sick / on vacation / away. How do I amend their opportunity?
- Any public sector user with privileges for the same organization can amend another user’s opportunity. When signed into BC Bid, the default when clicking on Document Search is to “Find by Person” (the opportunities published by the user). To change a co-worker’s published opportunity, change the search to “Find by Document Number” and enter the document number before clicking the Search button. Open the opportunity and amend as normal. Note that when the co-worker who originally published the opportunity returns, he/she will need to follow this same process to see any amendments published by others.
Q. My co-worker started an amendment but didn’t publish it. Can I publish this amendment?
- Draft documents, such as an amendment or opportunity that is created but not yet published, belong to the public sector user who created them. Others will be able to find the opportunity but not make changes or publish. Contact the BC Bid Help Desk (by email or phone 250 387-7301) for assistance. The help desk will be able to forward the draft amendment to another user to allow for editing and publishing.
Q. Can I amend my opportunity after it has closed?
- No. Amendments can only be done when an opportunity is open on BC Bid. Once the opportunity closes, there is no option to create an amendment. If something significantly changes after the opportunity closes that impacts the procurement process, contact the ministry’s Procurement Specialist or Procurement Services for advice.
Q. Do I have to publish unverified bid results?
- No, posting unverified bid results on BC Bid is optional.
Q. Why would I publish unverified bid results?
- Unverified bid results are a listing of all bidders / proponents / respondents who participated with a submission, and may (optionally) include their total bid amounts. Publically announcing the names and dollar values of bids is a common practice for construction-related opportunities, as it is the electronic equivalent of an in-person public tender opening. Some organizations use unverified bid results routinely for all their opportunities as a proactive open release of information.
Q. My RFP doesn’t have a total bid amount because there are many factors that could affect the total. What do I put in the unverified bid results?
- The minimum information for posting unverified bid results is the names of all bidders / proponents / respondents who responded. Everything else, including the total bid amount or other financial information, such as an hourly rate or optional pricing, if applicable can be included, but is not required. There is also an optional Notes field for further explanatory information, if desired.
Q. Do I have to publish contract award summaries?
- Ministries have been directed to post contract award summaries for each competitive opportunity published on BC Bid effective July 1, 2014 as per the Core Policy and Procedure Manual (6.3.3.b.11). Others should follow their own policy that relates to publishing contract awards.
If you need assistance, contact the BC Bid Help Desk by email or telephone at 250 387-7301.