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Capital Improvements Program (CIP)

Contractor Prequalification Program

The program ensures compliance with Municipal Code §22.3004(a). The code requires contractors desiring to bid as a prime contractor on City of San Diego Public Works projects to be qualified based on:

  • Financial strength;
  • Technical expertise;
  • Experience;
  • A satisfactory record of past performance; and
  • Compliance with the law.

Prequalification Process

Prime contractors certified as an emerging or small local business under the City's Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) program may, become prequalified to bid up to $1,000,000 or their single-project bond limit, whichever is less, by submitting a current, complete financial statement prepared by an independent accountant, bond letter and three references. For more detailed information, please see the online Prequalification Program Application.

Prior to submitting a bid, Emerging Local Business Enterprise/SLBE firms which have not previously completed a public works project as a prime contractor are required to complete a City-provided training on the administration of public works projects.

To become prequalified to bid on City of San Diego public works projects, all other contractors must complete the online Prequalification Program Application and submit a current, complete reviewed or audited financial statement, references and a current bond letter addressed to "The City of San Diego." 

Once prequalified, contractors will be eligible to bid on City projects for two years.

The range of projects on which the prime contractor will be prequalified to bid is determined by the following:


Project Range Financial Information Type
Up to $1,000,000 (SLBE) Financial Statement and Bond Letter
Up to $15,000,000 Reviewed Financial Statement and Bond Letter
$15,000,001 and above Audited Financial Statement and Bond Letter

To continue eligibility, bi-annual renewal of prequalification is required by completing an online Prequalification Program Renewal Application with updated references, financial statement and bond letter.

City staff will verify the information submitted in the questionnaire, bond letter, and financial statements, and interview the contractor's previous clients. City staff will use standardized rating criteria to evaluate the questionnaire and interviews and to determine the contractor's maximum bidding capacity.

Complete and accurate answers to the questions in the Prequalification Application are required. Omission of requested information can result in automatic disqualification. The information provided will be the basis of rating prime contractors with respect to the size and scope of contracts on which they are prequalified to bid. The City reserves the right to check other available sources.

Prequalification program documents are not public records, subject to the Public Records Act, and are not open for public inspection. All information provided will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law. The City reserves the right to reject any and all submittals and to waive any irregularities in the information contained therein.

Each Prequalification Program Application must be submitted under penalty of perjury by an individual who has the legal authority to bind the prime contractor on whose behalf the application is submitted. If any information provided by a prime contractor changes, the prime contractor must immediately notify the City and provide accurate updated information.


A complete prequalification program application must be received at least 10 City working days prior to any bid opening on which the prime contractor wishes to bid in order to allow time for review, verification and approval.

As a result of the City's legal requirement to safeguard vendor's data, City staff is not able to provide information regarding contractors' prequalification status via the telephone. Contractors may access real-time information about their prequalification status via their vendor profile on PlanetBids™.