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Tendering the design for your project

Paul Sancandi
June 26, 2012

For the project to proceed at the end of the detailed design stage, with the owner having formally approved the tender readiness report, the next step is to get the project out to tender.

Arrange the design documentation to be issued for tender by executing the key tasks in this stage as follows:

1. Prepare design documentation for tender
The design manager needs to manage the design team in delivering the documents as per the design management plan at the required time in the required hard and soft copy formats to the required locations. All the document transmittals need to be collated and coordinated.

2. Housekeeping
Take the opportunity to catch up with housekeeping of files on the server, in local drives and hard copies. This should include any building information modelling (BIM) related material and files.

3. Tender technical queries and clarifications
The design manager should manage all incoming tender technical queries and clarifications during the tender period and arrange responses from any of the design team where required. S/he should also participate in any tender technical clarification meetings with the contractor as requested by the project manager.

4. Addendums
The design manager should manage any design and documentation requirement for addendums that are due to omissions from the tender either as a result of time constraints or from new owner requirements.

5. Tender evaluation
The design manager needs to manage all required technical tender review and evaluation inputs from the design team to allow the tender to be evaluated from a technical perspective. Where required s/he needs to prepare a technical evaluation report and deliver to the project manager and participate in any negotiation meetings where technical matters require further clarification and arrange appropriate technical inputs from the design team.

6. Manage design consultants
The finalisation of design related fees and any outstanding variations and claims should be undertaken at this time. This is the time to review the design team consultant agreements to confirm the construction phase scope of services and fees. This ensures the scope of services during the construction phase meets the latest project requirements. Rectify any shortfalls in the required scope of services.

The design manager needs to develop the design team project organisation chart for the construction phase services. Identify key personnel, responsibilities, and line of communication. This delineates the design team’s remaining design related services and the site inspection services with the different personnel involved accordingly.

7. Approved for construction documentation
The design manager should oversee the approved for construction (AFC) documentation preparation. This is the time for finalising tender documentation to AFC level prior to contract award. Depending on the program and the project complexity, this may be a significant task to undertake.

Once the tender is awarded then the design manager can then proceed to the next stage of the project lifecycle, the construction stage.

Paul Sancandi
Paul Sancandi is a senior design manager with InfraSol Group. He has a technical background as a structural engineer, owned an architectural and engineering practice and has worked in Australia, Asia and the Middle East on a wide range of small to mega projects over the past 32 years.
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2 thoughts on “Tendering the design for your project

  1. Paul,

    I would add that “romancing the bidders” is key to an successful tender process. While an even playing field of competition is very important, so is getting the bidders excited to bid your job. There is nothing worse than inviting 5 bidders and getting only 2 bids – miles apart. When that happens, there is no place to look but in the mirror. Bidders need to be pre-qualified via a rigorous process well in advance. Then, they should be taken through the documents page by page to ensure that they know what they are selling and you know what you are buying (they must match). These contractor meetings should be done individually not in a group of multiple contractors. This is your chance to get to know them and they you so that trust and respect is build prior to bid day. Also, never open bids without having a thorough shadow estimate done before the documents are released for bid. If you put out documents that are over budget there is most often only one place to look – in the mirror! The tender process is a pivitol time in the project lifecycle. Once bids are received you life will either be hell or a pleasure. It’s up to you.

    1. Agree 100% Todd, Tender preparation is very important. In my earlier Article in this series – Processing Detailed Design – I do note the need for Pre Tender Estimate and fully completed and coordinated set of tender documents with an approved Tender Readiness Report signed off by the Owner.

      Going through an EOI process with Contractors, selection of qualified and keen contractors and then the proper briefing and working with the contractors during tender will make a difference.

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