Last edited 02 Sep 2020

Contractor's proposals for building design and construction

The phrase 'contractor's proposals' (CP) generally refers to documentation prepared by tenderers for design and build projects or on a traditional contract where the tenderer is to design discrete parts of the works. They are prepared in response to employer's requirements which provide a description of the client's requirements, including the specification for the building, the scope of services required and an allocation of risk for unknown items.

The contractor's proposals set out their proposals for designing and constructing the project, along with their price.

The level of detail in the employer's requirements and the extent of design required from the tenderer is variable. Employers requirements can range from a very simple specification to a fully developed performance specification and concept design.

The procurement process may follow either a single-stage or two-stage processes. A single-stage tender process is suitable where the information presented in the employer's requirements is sufficiently well developed for the tenderer to be able to calculate a realistic price. This can be the case either if a concept design has already been prepared by consultants working for the client, or if the building is very straight-forward, in which case much of the design work might be carried out by the tenderer during the tender process.

A two-stage tender process is suitable where the employer's requirements are not sufficiently well developed for the tenderer to be able to calculate a realistic price. In this case, the tender may include a fee for designing the building along with a schedule of rates that can be used to establish the construction price for the second-stage tender.

The format and content of contractor's proposals should be as described in the employer's requirement's, but they might include:

Once the client has received the contractor's proposals, there is likely to be period of negotiation during which any inconsistencies between the contractor's proposals and the employer's requirements are discussed and either the contractor's proposals or the employer's requirements are amended to ensure agreement between them. This is a very important part of the tender process as it is not always entirely clear which document prevails after the contract has been entered into.

NB The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 defines the contractor's proposals as: 'Proposals presented by a contractor to the client in response to a tender that includes the Employer’s Requirements. The Contractor’s Proposals may match the Employer’s Requirements, although certain aspects may be varied based on value engineered solutions and additional information may be submitted to clarify what is included in the tender. The Contractor’s Proposals form an integral component of the Building Contract documentation.'

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