CDBG-DR Procurement: Reduce time and cost by using a Bid Book

Share on Social Media

IBTS staff work on a construction site, looking at a tablet.

Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program recipients are required to follow federal procurement guidelines when selecting contractors. Because most jurisdictions aren’t experienced with federal procurement policies, the process of getting contractors on board can become one of the biggest hurdles of disaster recovery.

IBTS disaster CDBG-DR program experts, who have administered some of the largest programs in the country, assist grantees with the procurement process by developing bid books that contain unit costs for every construction line item.

Bid books streamline the procurement process and can significantly reduce the amount of time and cost associated with procurement. This results in getting residents back into their homes more quickly, which ultimately reflects positively on local leaders and boosts morale among a recovering community.

Because grantees often lack the time and expertise to develop a bid book, they must typically partner with a CDBG-DR program expert like IBTS to carry out the process. Learn more about bid books and their benefits below.

What is a bid book? 

  • Bid books establish a unit cost for each construction line items needed for a CDBG-DR program (such as a home or infrastructure project) for a specific region at the time of the disaster event. For a CDBG-DR home rehab or reconstruction project, this can range from carpet and tile, to roofing, drywall, framing, and all other potential materials needed for the project.
  • IBTS completely customizes each bid book to the specific grantee’s program – integrating everything from local building and energy code to specific city ordinances – to ensure projects meet local, state and federal requirements.

How does a bid book work? 

  • The grantee or subgrantee first develops a list of pre-qualified contractors by issuing and selecting a pool of contractors eligible to bid on work packages.
  • Once the grantee issues the bid book, eligible contractors use the bid book’s unit prices to determine their multiplier or baseline modifier unique to their business model. The grantee then chooses the contractors with the best, most reasonable prices to complete the work.
    • In CDBG-DR home programs, houses are typically assessed and scoped individually, and then awarded to contractors in packages, or as a Request for Proposal (RFP), based on the contractor’s capacity to complete the work.

How do bid books streamline the bidding process? 

  • Eliminates the lengthy contractor negotiation period. Contractors no longer have to get pricing from individual traders (mechanical, electric, plumbing, etc.) and subcontractors, but simply determine pricing based on the bid book’s unit prices.
  • Bid books take the guess work out of market price changes. They establish unit-cost based on regional market prices at the time the book is written. This stabilizes overhead costs and allows for uniform adjustments to the unit price due to any inflation or shortages throughout the process.
  • Contractors can begin their jobs as soon as the contract is signed. This can reduce the timeline by up to two weeks, getting homeowners back into their homes faster and reducing the overall program timeline.
  • Change orders and unforeseen conditions are more easily priced and agreed upon. Contractors no longer have to get separate prices or bids from a subcontractor for a change order, instead they can just refer back to the unit prices in the bid book to simply add more quantity.
  • Reduced time for advertisement and award. Grantees don’t have to advertise because they are choosing from pre-qualified contractors instead of active bidders.
  • Easily identify contractor price variances. Because all of the unit costs are outlined in the bid book, grantees can easily spot contractor price markups above regional market prices.


Need help developing a bid book for your CDBG-DR program? to learn more how IBTS can help your community with bid books and the entire procurement process, and see IBTS’s full list of disaster management services to learn how else we can help.

Learn more about developing and implementing bid books, and their benefits, by watching a webinar presentation from IBTS disaster experts.

Contact Us

Comments or Questions? Reach out to IBTS.

Stay Connected

Stay up to date with all the latest IBTS news.

Full navigation