Last edited 08 Jan 2021

Compliant bids in the construction industry

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.

If a tender is not compliant it may be rejected.

The precise content of a tender will vary considerably, depending on the procurement route, however it might include:

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.

[edit] 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.

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