- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 14 Jun 2019
A tender (or bid) is a submission made by a prospective supplier (such as a contractor) in response to an invitation to tender (ITT) from a client. It makes an offer for the supply of goods or services.
If a prospective contractor or supplier submits a tender which meets the client's stipulated requirements, (ie the mandatory elements of the Invitation to Tender (ITT) have been satisfied) then that bidder is said to have submitted a compliant bid.
Guidance to prospective bidders is usually clear about the requirements, in terms of precise information required, word length, presentation format, requirement for images, etc. Simply put, full compliance means all material conditions of a tender must be complied with and the price submitted should be based on the client’s tender specification documents.
- A tender return slip, with details of the contract, including information such as return address and tender checklist;
- A completed tender pricing document (or contract sum analysis on design and build projects);
- Schedules of rates;
- An initial construction phase plan;
- Any design proposals or method statements that have been requested;
- Procedures to be adopted, such as procurement procedures and cost management procedures;
- Demonstration of capability, for example design capability, systems used etc;
- A BIM execution plan - if building information modelling is being used;
- Key project personnel, which may require submission of CVs;
- Management organisation;
- Plant and labour resources and availability;
- Prior experience, and
However, some circumstances may allow a tender to be accepted even if it does not comply. A non-compliant proposal, sometimes referred to as a variant bid, may be submitted if the tenderer believes that an alternative could offer better value for money. However, non-compliant proposals should only be submitted if they have been requested or are explicitly permitted by the client, and they may need to be accompanied by a compliant bid.
 Ways to create a compliant tender:
- Answer the question i.e. state what is required under each question;
- Answer all the question(s);
- Do not exceed the required word length;
- Do not supply information that is not required, e.g if a tender requires brief personal profiles, do not submit full CVs unless these are explicitly asked for;
- Do not leave sections blank;
- Submit in the correct format, e.g PDF, Excel, Word etc where required;
- Submit on time, and to the correct person;
- Ensure that proposals satisfy the client's requirements.
- Ensure works are packaged in the way the client requires.
- Visit the site, and if permitted, ask questions to avoid misunderstandings.
- Provide pricing information in the format and breakdown requested.
See also: Common mistakes in construction tenders.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Best value.
- Bid writer.
- Competitive tender.
- Contract award.
- Contract conditions.
- Contract documents.
- Due diligence when selecting contractors or subcontractors.
- Invitation to tender.
- Letter of award.
- Mid-tender interview.
- Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT).
- Pre-tender interview.
- Procurement route.
- Selection criteria.
- Tender documentation.
- Tender evaluation.
- Tender processes.
Featured articles and news
Why civil engineering is the 'best' career.
Green rating systems
Information is the lifeblood of quality management.
How PowerLottery helps industry colleagues.
Eliminating waste through blockchain.
Emerging cost contracts.
Connecting infrastructure with housing.
All about E-procurement.
Winners and finalists in CIAT's architectural technology awards.
Their survival against the odds is a remarkable feature of the City’s history.
Immersed, charmed and inspired on conservation’s front line.