Last edited 21 Jun 2016

Pre-tender interview

When selecting suppliers to design, construct and perhaps operate a development, an initial short-list of prospective tenders may be invited to attend pre-tender interviews before they are invited to tender. Sometimes this will follow an assessment of the pre-qualification questionnaires submitted by prospective tenderers,

A pre-tender interview is an opportunity to:

  • Assess the tenderers understanding of the commission.
  • Assess the tenderers likely approach to the project.
  • Assess the tenderers current workload.
  • Assess the tenderers enthusiasm.
  • Clarify ambiguities on either side.
  • Verify that the proposed timescale for the tender process is achievable.
  • Verify that the proposed nature of the tender process will obtain the best results.

Price does not feature in the pre-tender interviews as tender documents have yet to be issued.

Discussions held during the interviews may result in changes being made to the tender documents or to the length of the tender period. It can be in the interest of client to make these changes as it ensures that they get the best value and most accurate tenders possible.

Interviews may may include presentations by prospective tenderers, followed by questions from a small panel. The panel should agree in advance the nature of questions to be asked of each consultant (perhpas based on an assessment of their pre-qualification questionnaires). Answers may be scored and weighted, and sufficient time allowed between interviews for scores to be compiled and considered. This allows an objective appraisal to take place and also allows a consensus opinion to be formed, rather than having decisions driven by a single person.

Pre-tender interviews should be carefully managed so that tenderers are not made aware of who the other tenderers are, as this may impact on the competitiveness of the tenders they submit. This may include arrangements in relation to timing, car parking, waiting rooms and signing in books as well as the removal of any materials left by at the interviews by tenderers.

If the pre-tender interviews reveal that one or more prospective candidates are unsuitable, the initial short list may be reduced and the remaining candidates invited to tender.

It may also be appropriate to hold mid-tender interviews.

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