It’s true: SNC-Lavalin failed the technical scoring for LRT bid
Beleaguered SNC-Lavalin failed to reach the minimum 70 per cent technical score in bidding for the Trillium Line extension, but was still able to win the $1.6-billion light rail contract.
- SNC-Lavalin failed to meet technical threshold for $1.6B LRT contract: sources
- Analysis: Why can’t we know if SNC-Lavalin passed the LRT2 technical scoring?
The Montreal-based company, operating under the name TNext, scored 67.27 per cent, according to documents provided by the city under an access to information request CBC filed earlier this year.
SNC-Lavalin’s competitors, meanwhile, scored significantly better. Trillium Extension Alliance (TEA) scored 84.91 per cent, while Trillium Link earned a technical mark of 85.78 per cent.
CBC first reported SNC-Lavalin had failed to meet the technical requirement in March 2019.
At the time, city officials refused to tell councillors, reporters or the public whether SNC-Lavalin had scored 70 per cent. Council approved the giant contract without knowing whether the company had hit that threshold.
City’s top managers had sole discretion
Since March, CBC has been trying to obtain the scores through an access to information request.
Those scores arrived in the mail from the city clerk’s office Friday — the same day the city released the scores to councillors in a memo answering an inquiry from Coun. Diane Deans, a major critic of the LRT Stage 2 procurement process. The requirements to achieve a minimum of 70 per cent in the technical scoring, therefore, was not an absolute pass/fail.
The 37-page memo includes a description of how a bidder could continue in the process after failing the technical evaluation.
According to the memo, subsection 6.5.2(4) of the RFP — a document that councillors didn’t see and was refused to CBC — gave the executive steering committee of the procurement process “sole discretion” to allow a bidder to continue to be considered despite not meeting the technical threshold.
“The requirements to achieve a minimum of 70 per cent in the technical scoring, therefore, was not an absolute pass/fail,” according to the memo sent to councillors on Friday afternoon.
The executive steering committee — comprised of the city’s five top bureaucrats, including the city manager, city treasurer, city solicitor, general manager of transit and the head of rail operations — was not told that it was SNC-Lavalin that had failed to score the minimum, according to the memo.
As well, the city senior staff appears to have received legal advice on the use of this discretion, although the memo does not say exactly who gave the advice.
SNC-Lavalin highest financial score
After being evaluated for their technical proposals, all LRT Stage 2 bidders were scored for their financial submissions. In this round, SNC-Lavalin did exceptionally well, largely because its bid was the cheapest.
Chris Swail, the city’s former director of LRT planning, said publicly a number of times that the SNC-Lavalin bid was “by far” the lowest.
SNC-Lavalin’s high score in the financial round resulted in the company having the highest overall score.
In April, city auditor general Ken Hughes announced his office was launching an audit of the LRT Stage 2 procurement process. That investigation is ongoing. – CBC News
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Sooo lets get this straight….SNC-Lavalin failed the technical part of the bid…67.27 compared to the other two bids which were almost 20 points higher. BUT SNC-Lavalin was by far the cheapest bid. Not even close.
Sooo you have a company that is short on technical ability. A company that left a huge amount of money “on the table” (the difference between the lowest bid and the next higher bid). And the City of Ottawa awarded them the contract? Seriously?
I know that some people might not think the technical part of building an LRT line is not all that important but I have to disagree with that line of thought. Also, the fact that there is such a disparity between the lowest bid and the other two has to give one pause to think…. You know, that maybe the company that failed the technical portion of the bid does not have any idea what they are doing or how much its going to cost?
This stinks. I would not be surprised if companies stop bidding on Canadian contracts. Bids cost companies millions of dollars to produce. If they do not feel they are given a fair chance to win, then why bother even trying? Could be a lawsuit come out of this.