Tenders may be conducted in many different ways. And sometimes the methods used can be a real concern. Tendering (for both the main contract and sub-contracts) is a very important process in the construction industry and should be handled professionally and consistently.

After all, it is the beginning of the contractual process and errors & omissions here could be very costly, and may lead to unexpected surprises for you and your client.

Here are some, in my opinion, important points to consider :

  • Tenders are always confidential;
  • Only call tenders when the client has a definite commitment to proceed with the project promptly; as well the financial abilities to proceed … Tendering should not be a tyre-kicking exercise or just an information-seeking process (it costs a Builder a lot of money and time to submit a bona-fide tender);
  • Ensure all areas of the project site are accessible during the tender period;
  • Ensure all documents have been approved by the relevant authorities and consultants;
  • Ensure the documents are complete and have been adequately co-ordinated by all consultants;
  • The date of closing, method of submission and location for tender must be clear;
  • A single point of contact should be provided to the Tenderers for questions, confirmations and issues of information – inconsistent responses to questions could cause unnecessary confusion;
  • Tenders should only be considered if they are on time and in the format prescribed (i.e. verbal tenders should not be considered);
  • Tenders that have been submitted early must not be opened before the actual tender time;
  • All tenderers are to be given equal opportunities, shall be treated fairly, the same and without bias;
  • Tenderers shall acknowledge all documents used and received, including Addendum;
  • Advise unsuccessful tenderers promptly.

.. and, Some Don’ts I think would be handy to consider:

  • Don’t give information or advice to one tenderer and not another;
  • Don’t issue Addenda within 7 working days of the closing date;
  • Don’t close tenders on a Monday or directly after a public holiday, rostered day off or industry closure day;
  • Don’t issue partial or incomplete tender documents and then use the tender period as an opportunity to complete or finalise and coordinate your documents.