Last edited 06 Oct 2020

Invitation to tender for construction contracts

Contents

[edit] Introduction

An invitation to tender (ITT) is a formal invitation to make an offer for the supply of goods or services. It might be issued for a range of contracts, including:

An invitation to tender may follow an assessment of pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) received by the client in response to an advert they posted, and perhaps a pre-tender interview.

The purpose of pre-qualification questionnaires and pre-tender interviews is to produce a shortlist of suppliers who are deemed most appropriate for the project and who will then be invited to tender. This avoids time being wasted preparing and assessing inappropriate tenders.

[edit] What should an invitation to tender include?

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:

[edit] Responding to an invitation to tender

In response to an ITT, invited tenderers (bidders) 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.

The precise content of tenders will vary considerably depending on the procurement route, however they might include:

See also: Common mistakes in construction tenders.

Alternative or non-compliant proposals, sometimes referred to as 'variant bids' may be submitted if the tenderer believes that what they are proposing offers better value for money. However, non-compliant proposals should only be submitted if they have been requested and should be accompanied by a compliant proposal.

For more information, see Variant bid.

NB For as long as the UK is in the EU, 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.

NB: For private finance initiative (PFI) projects, see Invitation to Negotiate.

NB The UN Procurement Practitioner's Handbook, produced by the Interagency Procurement Working Group (IAPWG) in 2006 and updated in 2012 defines an ‘invitation to bid’ as: ‘A formal method of solicitation where prospective suppliers are requested to submit a bid for the provision of goods or services. Normally used when the requirements are clearly and completely specified and the basis for award is lowest cost.’

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[edit] External references

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