Construction Contracting

Public works construction projects are developed within various departments throughout the City, but the bid process and contract compliance is administered within Purchasing and Contracting (PC). PC advertises all City construction projects, receives and tabulates bids, manages the contract execution process and monitors contracts for compliance, including prevailing wages.

Standard public works

The most common construction contract bidding is open competition with the lowest responsive bid from a responsible bidder, also called design-bid-build. This is used for most of the City's construction projects. The City designs the project and posts plans and specifications for public bid.

Public works projects are advertised in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce and online at OpenGov. See also a list of upcoming City construction projects.

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for Contractors and Volunteers
Learn about vaccine requirements for City of Seattle contractors and volunteers.

As allowed under RCW 39.10.420-460, job order contracting (JOC) is an alternative to the traditional design-bid-build public works contracting process where the City designs the project and posts plans and specifications for public bid. Instead, using JOC, the City may issue work orders directly to a JOC prime contractor for construction projects not exceeding $500,000. The City can award up to $6 million each year to each JOC prime contractor, who are chosen through a competitive selection process.

The City currently has a contract with Forma Construction Company. Pricing for work orders under this contract uses the 2024 edition of RS Means

JOC subcontracting opportunities

State law requires the JOC prime to subcontract 90% of the work of each work order, creating significant opportunities for subcontractors.

JOC prime contact information

If you are interested in learning more about JOC subcontracting opportunities, contact the JOC primes directly:

Public works policies and templates

Purchasing and Contracting issues policies, guidelines and boilerplates to City departments for all City bid and contract responsibilities. These are internal documents; they benefit and instruct departments about expected approaches, responsibilities and decision points. These are subject to change at any time.

Traditional Design-Bid-Build

Job Order Contracting (JOC)

Emergency Contracting

Compost and bioretention soil

The City of Seattle has mandatory specifications for soil, including compost and bioretention soil, for all City-funded projects within city limits. See section 9-14 of the City Standard Plans and Specifications.

Consistent with "closed-loop" principles, City Council Resolutions 30990 and 31459 as well as the City's Sustainable Purchasing Policy, approved compost sources are products from permitted facilities that compost organic materials generated and collected within the city of Seattle limits. The compost products from these approved facilities must also meet the compost specifications under Section 9-14 of the City Standard Plans and Specifications.