The evolution of construction tenders and bids – how to achieve best practice

Winning contracts in the construction industry is becoming increasingly competitive. A formal procurement process is usually conducted by the government and private sector. Therefore, a compelling, best practice tender is a must for any company looking to secure contracts and a pipeline of work.

Common ‘best practice’ strategies employed by construction companies to win contracts include:

A comprehensive methodology

Methodologies have evolved from simply writing a description of the program. In order to write a quality methodology, you need to look at the project from a client and community perspective and address the issues that may apply to them. For example, if you are tendering to government to construct an extension to a school, the methodology will need to consider items such as:

• Scheduling transport to minimise disruption to the school.

• How you will conduct works in a manner that ensures no danger to students.

• How you will communicate with the school, parents and community about construction times.

• Where and when you will have scheduled meetings with school and community stakeholders.

• If the school or student community will be involved in any of the design or construction process in any way.

In addition to looking at the project from a client and community perspective, you also need to go into detail and highlight any aspect of your approach that go above and beyond New Zealand standards.

For example, waterproofing is an area which raises concern among many developers. Where you have a novel or more comprehensive approach to waterproofing balconies than the norm, such applying a third coat of waterproofing after the installation of the substrate, it is important to detail this in the methodology. This not only helps justify any price difference between your company and the other bidders, but it also gives the reader confidence that you will take a quality focused approach to delivering the project.

Comprehensive case studies

Listing previous projects you have completed and providing references to demonstrate your experience are fast becoming a thing of the past.

To excel in bids and tenders and put forward a winning submission, you need to describe your previous projects in detail and talk about the similarities between the project you are bidding for and your experience to date. A basic structure for a comprehensive case study is:

• Name of client

• Name of project

• Brief description of the project

• Key personnel and their role on the project, as well as their role on the proposed project. This is critical. For example, if the proposed project manager for the project was involved in your previous project, this will give the reader and client confidence that key lessons learned will be applied to the project.

• Methodology: A summary of the methodology adopted including any innovative strategies to complete the project in a better timeline or to a higher quality.

• Project challenges and how they were overcome: It is important to demonstrate and showcase your ability to deal with and mitigate risks. If there were any unforeseen issues with the project, detail how you were solutions focused in overcoming them and delivering the project on time and on budget.

• Local employment: Talk about any local employment or other downstream economic benefits delivered as a result of the project and how you ensured they were delivered.

• Safety: Confirm there were no safety issues (assuming there weren’t) and talk about any unique safety initiatives.

With the weighting criteria for major infrastructure and construction tenders largely focused on price, prior experience and methodology, it is critical to adopt best practice in these areas when submitting a bid or tender. However, in such a competitive landscape one or two marks often makes the difference between winning and losing. Don’t forget to ensure your safety, environmental and compliance documentation is correct and that you provide a concise and detailed response to each and every question in a bid or tender.