March 25, 2020, IKM held a public bid opening for an educational project in Armstrong County. What made this bid so unique? It was done via video conference. With an ever-evolving reality as to what was and was not deemed safe, IKM worked closely with district officials and their solicitors to devise a way to keep this project moving forward, and make sure contractors receive this important information in a simple and safe format.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the numerous shelter-in-place orders across the state, as well as CDC recommendations and guidelines, the bidding process was hosted via a Zoom meeting. Contractors were instructed to place envelopes in a bin outside of the district office main entry and were given access to the online meeting where they could log in and watch the public bid opening live from the safety of their homes. By law, as it is a public project, bid openings are still required to be offered in person. However, because of the health and safety concerns for individuals, the virtual option was also provided as an alternative.
Two of IKM’s architects attended the virtual Zoom bidding and reported that overall, it went well. There were minimal technical issues, and roughly twenty-two bids were submitted across the contracts for which bids were being solicited. One of our employees that attended the meeting had some tips to share for Zoom oriented meetings, especially those on project bids for the best audio quality. Such as, do not talk while envelopes are being opened, and speak loudly and be sure to enunciate
This was a first for IKM. As a company, IKM has never had a bid opening held virtually. As the world is adjusting to work from home options, as well as virtual options for meetings/tours/appointments/etc., society is entering into a technologically oriented world that is on a scale like never before. Technology has always held a focal point in our society since its creation, but now we are adapting to something new and finding ways to be able to continue our jobs, run our companies, open bids for projects—all the while maintaining our commitment to the health and safety of individuals, both inside and outside of IKM.
As each day brings new challenges and news with this developing situation, it is comforting to know that our work can proceed and we can continue to serve our clients in familiar ways, albeit – virtually.
From all of us at IKM, stay safe!