(a) When purchases are required to be made through competitive bidding, awards shall be made to the lowest responsible bidder taking into consideration the qualities of the commodities proposed to be supplied, their conformity with specifications, the purposes for which required, the terms of delivery, transportation charges, and the dates of delivery.
(b) The awarding authority in the purchase of or contract for personal property or contractual services shall give preference, provided there is no sacrifice or loss in price or quality, to commodities produced in Alabama or sold by Alabama persons, firms, or corporations. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no county official, county commission, school board, city council or city councilmen, or other public official, state board, or state agency charged with the letting of contracts or purchase of materials for the construction, modification, alteration, or repair of any publicly owned facility may specify the use of materials or systems by a sole source, unless:
(1) The governmental body can document to the satisfaction of the State of Alabama Building Commission that the "sole source" product or service is of an "indispensable" nature, all other viable alternatives have been explored, and it has been determined that only this product or service will fulfill the function for which the product is needed. Frivolous features will not be considered.
(2) The sole source specification has been recommended by the architect or engineer of record and who also documents that there is no other product available and that the use of the requirement is of an indispensable nature and why.
(3) All information substantiating the use of a sole source specification is documented in writing and is filed into the project file.
(c) The awarding authority or requisitioning agency may reject any bid if the price is deemed excessive or quality of product inferior.
(d) Each record, with the successful bid indicated thereon, and with the reasons for the award if not awarded to the lowest bidder, shall, after award of the order or contract, be open to public inspection.
(e) Contracts for the purchase of personal property or contractual services shall be let for periods not greater than three years. "Lease-purchase" contracts for capital improvements and repairs to real property shall be let for periods not greater than 10 years and all other lease-purchase contracts shall be let for periods not greater than 10 years.