Purchasing Guidelines

Purchasing Guidelines and Limits & Vendor Registration

Consultants and vendors who would like to receive solicitation notices from SOCWA must register with Planet Bids.  SOCWA reserves the right to prequalify bidders and may in SOCWA’s sole discretion call for applications to pre-qualify from time to time on such schedule as SOCWA may set.  If pre-qualification is announced, interested parties will be required to fill out a pre-qualification packet.  Consultants and vendors are encouraged to review SOCWA’s Web site announcements regularly and Planet Bids for pre-qualification and contracting opportunities.


The Contractor is required to maintain Insurance adequate to protect it from claims under Worker’s Compensation Acts and from claims for damages for personal injury, including death, and damage to property, which may arise from operations under the contract.  If specified or requested, the Contractor is to post insurance information on Planet Bids and attach corresponding insurance certificate along with the appropriate endorsements.  Contractor may be required to mail, fax or email hard copies to SOCWA if requested.  Failure to furnish such evidence may be considered default by the Contractor.  Additional liability insurance may be required if the contract work is to be performed on SOCWA property.  The RFB or RFP can be reviewed for specific details.


SOCWA’s procurement is conducted in accordance with the Policies and Procedures adopted by the Board of Directors.  The methods of procurement consist of competitive bidding, competitive proposals, requests for qualifications, and direct purchases.

  • Competitive bidding is primarily used for procurements for goods and non-professional services.
  • Competitive proposals are used for professional and technical services where technical approach and other factors are considered in making an award.
  • Requests for qualifications are used where the scope of work is broadly defined.  This method is used for either making an award to the most qualified provider or for pre-qualifying potential respondents for a subsequent competitive solicitation.
  • Direct purchase is authorized where conditions are met that allow exemption from competitive procurement.

Where more than one method of procurement is available, a method will be selected to promote an open, public procurement that avoids favoritism and provides the most value to SOCWA.


Piggyback purchases are purchases made under the terms and conditions of another public agency’s contract when that contract includes a provision that extends its pricing, terms, and conditions to other public agencies.

  • The Contract Administrator, with the approval of the General Manager, may enter into a cooperative purchasing agreement to acquire materials and services under the contracts of other public entities, and may participate in, sponsor, conduct, or administer a cooperative purchasing agreement for the procurement of materials and services with one or more public entities.
  • When a requisition or a consultant services request within a contract amount of $25,000.00 or more is submitted, the Contract Administrator may determine that there is another public agency contract that can be used to make the acquisition.  Consideration for use of another public agency’s contract includes:
    • The cost of the goods or services provided under the contract.
    • The quality and specifications of the goods and services provided under the contract.
    • The terms and conditions of the public agency’s contract.
    • The circumstances surrounding the acquisition such as the time and cost involved in processing a SOCWA solicitation.

Before entering into a cooperative agreement under which another public entity undertakes procurement, the Contracts Administrator verifies that the public entity has conducted procurement through competitive procedures and that use of the cooperative agreement under consideration is economically advantageous to SOCWA.


Procurement for goods or non-professional services valued at more than $50,000 are generally conducted by a standard sealed bid process.

  • Requests for bid (RFB) specify the time and place of bid opening.  The RFB shows the quantity of items required, the desired time of delivery, and the amount of any sureties required.
  • Adequate public notice of the invitation for bids is given as required by SOCWA policy.  The RFB provides for SOCWA’s right to reject any and all proposals.
  • The Contract Administrator is authorized to approve the correction or withdrawal of bids before or after bid opening and to recommend cancellation of awards or contracts based on bid mistakes.
  • A bid is late if it is received at the location designated in the invitation for bids after the time and date set for bid opening.  A late bid will be rejected, and will remain the property of the bidder.
  • Once the time for submission of bids has passed; the initial results are published on Planet Bids.

Link to SOCWA Planet Bids


After a Respondent is selected, the award of a contract is contingent upon the successful negotiation of terms, acceptability of fees, and formal approval by SOCWA.  Once the time for submission of bids has passed, the initial results are posted on SOCWA’s Planet Bids site.


SOCWA solicits professional and consulting services through a Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Qualification (RFQ).  Registered consultants/vendors receive notification of solicitations and addendums to solicitations through Planet Bids.

  • SOCWA uses competitive proposals primarily for Professional and Technical service contracts.
  • Proposals are generally solicited through an RFP.
  • Adequate public notice of the RFP is given as required by SOCWA policy.
  • A pre-proposal conference may be conducted prior to submission of proposals to explain the work and proposal requirements.  Attendance at a pre-proposal conference may be designated as mandatory for the submission of a bid.
  • The RFP states the relative importance of price and other evaluation factors.
  • As provided in the RFP and SOCWA procurement policies, discussions may be conducted:
    • Offerors are accorded fair and equal treatment with respect to any opportunity for discussion and revision of proposals, and such revisions may be permitted after submissions and prior to award for the purpose of obtaining best and final offers.
    • In conducting discussions, SOCWA will not entertain requests for the disclosure of any other bidders in formation.
  • If, after discussions with offerors, a request for best and final offer may be issued. The request sets forth the date, time, and place for the submission of best and final offers.  Best and final offers are requested only once, unless there is a written determination that it is advantageous to SOCWA to conduct further discussions.  If offerors do not submit a notice of withdrawal or a best and final offer, their immediate previous offer is construed as their best and final offer.  Other factors will not be considered.
  • The contract is awarded to the responsible and responsive offeror whose proposal is determined to be the most advantageous to SOCWA in accordance with SOCWA’s procedures for evaluation of proposals.  SOCWA may reject all proposals in its sole discretion.


Invoices shall be submitted directly to SOCWA’s Accounts Payable:


ATTN: Accounts Payable

34156 Del Obispo Street

Dana Point, California  92629


All invoices should reference the purchase order number, contract number, or solicitation number.  A completed W9 IRS form shall be submitted with the invoice or as requested by the Contract Administrator.  A vendor’s or consultant’s change of mailing address is the responsibility of the vendor or consultant and must be made in writing and submitted to either finance@socwa.com or to the Contract Administrator at jcotinola@socwa.com , the invoice payment may be delayed if notification is not received prior to the check run.

Unless a specific term is offered, SOCWA makes payment within 30 calendar days after receipt of invoice.  Where the Contractor offers a payment discount, SOCWA takes this into consideration when making payment.  SOCWA may, at its option, verify the correctness of the invoice.

Contracts Administrator

Jeanette Cotinola

(949) 234-5430


Purchasing Office Hours

Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Vendors must make an appointment prior to visiting Procurement/Contract personnel.

Courtesy visits are not encouraged.

Shipping/Receiving Hours and Delivery Instructions

7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Deliveries are not accepted at the Administration offices and must be delivered inside the plant at the Shipping/Receiving shop.

Access to Plant is located behind 34152 Del Obispo Street, Dana Point, CA  92629; Driver’s enter through the gates and proceed to the left.