LAWA Contracting Process

LAWA Contracting Process

The Contracting Process at Los Angeles World Airports

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) procures over $500 million a year of goods, materials, and services to maintain efficient operation of its network of airports at Los Angeles (LAX), Van Nuys (VNY), and LAWA-Palmdale Land Holdings (PMD). From asphalt to safety equipment to legal services, many of LAWA’s divisions utilize outside contractors to provide specialized products or services to fulfill the needs of the airport.

While each contract solicitation presents a unique business opportunity focused on individual goals and needs, there is a standard process by which LAWA solicits and evaluates potential contractors.

The process generally includes the following steps:
  • LAWA issues a Request for Bid (RFB) or Request for Proposal (RFP) at the time it is seeking contractors for specific projects, which contains details on the contracting process and criteria for selection. An RFB is utilized for the purchases of materials, supplies, equipment, construction services, and non-professional services, and an RFP is used for unique, scientific, expert, or technical services of a temporary and occasional nature, performed by independent contractors whose occupation is the rendering of such services.
  • LAWA advertises in a variety of sources (detailed below) to inform potential contractors about business opportunities.
  • Potential contractors must sign, and return required administrative forms along with their proposals. These forms are detailed within the RFB or RFP.
  • Once the detailed proposals and required City administrative documents are submitted, designated staff members from our contracting department review the proposals for compliance and provide it to an evaluation committee to determine the qualifications of the proposers. RFBs are evaluated based on the amount of the product or service purchased and involve a quote (contract value of less than $1,000), a letter bid (value of $1,000 - $10,000), formal, written, and sealed bid ($10,000 - $150,000) or formal, written and sealed bid in response to an advertisement and approved by the Board of Airport Commissioners ($150,000 or more). In the RFP process, proposals are generally evaluated on the minimum qualifications stated in the RFP and other criteria, which may include experience, financial stability of the proposer, cost, approach/methodology, inclusivity plan and staff size and location.
  • Depending on the nature of the contract, interviews may be conducted with the proposers, utilizing a standard list of questions, based on the evaluation criteria stated in the RFP/RFQ.
  • Qualified contractors are then selected based on the evaluation criteria stated in the RFP/RFQ.

Additional details on the procurement process are provided below.

Types of Procurement at Los Angeles World Airports
Los Angeles World Airports procures materials, products, and services through the following methods:

  • Request for Bid (RFB) Process: A Request for Bid is used for purchase of materials, supplies, equipment, construction services, and non-professional services. Los Angeles City Charter, Section 371, requires an open and competitive bidding process in awarding the contract to the: lowest responsive and responsible bidder meeting the product/services specifications. Bids are not subject to negotiation.

The RFP/Selection Criteria
As noted, in the RFP process, proposals are generally evaluated on the qualifications outlined in the RFP. Other criteria that may be utilized in selecting potential contractors is as follows:

  • Professional/Technical Services Contracts: Experience of lead firm and sub-consultants with similar types of projects, experience and qualifications of key staff members, financial stability, cost, inclusivity, staff size and location.
  • Concessions Contracts: Financial return to LAWA, facility design, quality of improvements and capital investment, concept, merchandise, marketing plan and pricing, proposer financial capability, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation.
  • Request for Qualification (RFQ) & Request for Information (RFI)

In preparation for the procurement of services and for budget purposes, LAWA may perform preliminary research for potential contractors, and cost of the same services that are offered prior to developing the Request for Proposal. In rare instances, a Request for Qualification or Request for Information is used.

Request for Qualification (RFQ) is typically used when the City wishes to select a vendor to help develop a project (including project scope, cost, time frame, staffing, etc.) and to subsequently implement that project. An RFQ is used to gather information about vendors to determine if they are capable of performing certain types of services for the City. The RFQ might ask for information such as the size of the company, the amount of business conducted during the last year, the number of customers of projects similar to what the City is contemplating, time frame for completion, and appropriate references. The RFQ is usually reserved for the selection of engineers, architects, or other highly specialized technical providers.

Request for Information (RFI) is used when the actual scope of work is not known or difficult to define or when LAWA needs to develop a “pool” of likely proposers. An RFI is a solicitation of ideas, solutions and/or recommendations to assist LAWA in the development of a scope of work for an RFP.

Request for Proposals (RFP), Request for Bids (RFB) and other solicitations are advertised through the City’s Regional Alliance Marketplace for Procurement at RAMPLA.ORG. Documents for a specific project and submittal of bids/proposals are though LAWA’s electronic procurement system, Bonfire, at

Reviewing Proposals

A panel is appointed to review the proposals for the contract. The proposals are evaluated against the criteria set forth in the proposal solicitation.


Interviews are conducted where appropriate. For each specific contract – depending on its nature – LAWA staff typically prepares a standardized list of questions following the evaluation criteria published in the RFP/RFQ for possible use by the interview panel. Standard procedures are followed for each step of each contract proposal process. Time spent with firms during interviews is dependent upon the length of the firms’ presentations and time allotted for follow-up questioning.

Opening of the Bids

Bids valued between $10,000 - $25,000 do not have formal public openings but do have stated opening dates and times. Bids valued at greater than $25,000 have a formal public opening and have stated opening dates and times.

Awarding the Contract

It is part of standard procedure that at the time a contract is awarded, LAWA staff submits a report to the Board of Airport Commissioners describing the RFP process, the contractor selection process, and the reasons why the recommended contractor submitted the most responsive and responsible bid or proposal.

Contractor Responsibility

LAWA’s Strategic Sourcing Division (SSD) administers the Contractor Responsibility Program (CRP). SSD provides technical support, conducts the CRP reviews, and determines contractor responsibility. Upon receipt of complaints regarding alleged responsibility violations by a current or prospective contractor/tenant, the SSD collects necessary facts and documentation from the complainant(s) and issues a “Notice to Respond” to the alleged contractor/tenant summarizing the facts of the investigation. A contractor/tenant found non-responsible is subject to sanctions.

LAWA enjoys an excellent reputation for its contracting practices, and the CRP ensures that we maintain the highest standards with our contractors.

Purchasing, Procurement and Contract Management at Los Angeles World Airports

Technical Support

Strategic Sourcing Division can be reached at:
Mail: P.O. Box 92216, Los Angeles, CA 90009-2216
Phone: (424)646-5380

For an overview of the procurement process at LAWA, you are welcome to attend one of our seminars on Doing Business with LAWA..

As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services and activities.

We look forward to doing business with you!
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