- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 24 Nov 2018
Invitation to tender for construction contracts
- Equipment supply.
- Design by contractors.
- Trade contractors.
- Works contractors.
- Main construction contractors.
- Demolition or enabling works.
The purpose of pre-qualification questionnaires and pre-tender interviews is to produce a short list of suppliers most appropriate for the project who will then be invited to tender. This avoids time being wasted preparing and assessing inappropriate tenders.
An invitation to tender will include information describing the goods or services required in sufficient detail to enable the tenderer to prepare an accurate tender that is in a prescribed format so that it is easy to compare with other tenders.
An invitation to tender might include:
- Letter of invitation to tender.
- Form of tender.
- Preliminaries (including pre-construction information and site waste management plan).
- Form of contract, contract conditions and amendments.
- Employer's information requirements and BIM protocol (BIM).
- Tender pricing document (or form of contract sum analysis on design and build projects)
- Drawing schedule.
- Design drawings.
- Prescriptive or performance specifications (on public projects, tender documentation may include an output-based specification rather than prescriptive or performance specifications and drawings).
- Instructions to tenderers explaining the tender process.
- The timescale for the tender process (including the address and time for the return of tenders).
- An explanation of how queries will be dealt with.
- The evaluation process and any evaluation criteria.
- The submission required in response to the invitation to tender.
- Policy in relation to alternative or non-compliant bids.
- Policy for providing feedback to unsuccessful tenderers.
What should be considered is how the tenders that are received will be evaluated. It might be decided to accept the lowest priced tender that meets the requirements, but it is common practice to define a set of criteria by which the most economically advantageous tender can be identified.
In response to an invitation to tender, invited tenders will submit their tender, which will include their price for supplying the goods or services along with proposals for how the clients requirements will be satisfied.
An expression of interest (sometimes referred to as request to participate) is a submission made by a prospective tenderer in response to an advert (or contract notice) for the supply of goods or services. For more information, see Expression of interest.
Public projects or publicly-subsidised projects may be subject to OJEU procurement procedures, enacted in the UK by The Public Contracts Regulations. The regulations set out rules requiring that contracts must be advertised in the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU) (The requirements for OJEU Contract Notices can be found at simap). This is of particular importance because the time taken to advertise contracts can be up to 52 days. The regulations also describe allowable procedures for the selection of contractors.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Best value.
- Bid evaluation.
- Bid writer.
- Common mistakes in construction tenders.
- Contract sum analysis.
- Employer's information requirements.
- How to prepare tender documents.
- Invitation to negotiate.
- Mid-tender interviews.
- Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT).
- OJEU procurement rules.
- Output-based specification.
- Pre-qualification questionnaire.
- Pre-tender interviews.
- Procurement route.
- Selection criteria.
- Tender documentation.
- Tender evaluation.
- Tender pricing document.
- Tender settlement meeting.
- The benefits of e-procurement in construction.
- Things to avoid when tendering.
 External references
- OGC guidance provides a range of standard documents for obtaining and processing tenders on public projects. (now archived)
- A description of the contents of an invitation to tender for public projects can be found in PACE Guidance on the Appointment of Consultants and Contracotrs P486 and 487. (Now archived)
- OGC guide to EU procurement rules. (now archived)
- The Public Contracts Regulations.
- The requirements for OJEU Contract Notices can be found at simap
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