Last edited 09 Apr 2021

Non-compliant tender

A tender is a submission made by a prospective supplier in response to an invitation to tender (ITT). It makes an offer for the supply of goods or services.

An invitation to tender might be issued for a range of contracts, including; equipment supply, the main construction contract (perhaps including design by the contractor), demolition, enabling works, etc.

An invitation to tender will generally include very specific requirements for the information and format of the tender that prospective suppliers must submit. This ensures that necessary information is included and that it is in a format that the client is able to analyse and compare with other tenders.

If a prospective contractor or supplier submits a tender that does not comply with the client's requirements then that bidder is said to have submitted a non-compliant bid. This can result in the tender being rejected. Full compliance requires that all material conditions of the invitation to tender must be complied with.

A tender may be non-compliant by:

  • Not answering all the question(s).
  • Exceeding the required word length.
  • Submitting in the wrong format e.g PDF when Excel or Word were required.
  • Making a late submission.
  • Not breaking down information in the correct way.
  • Submitting proposals that do not comply with the client's requirements.

However, a non-compliant proposal, sometimes referred to as a variant bid, may be submitted intentionally if the tenderer believes that an alternative could offer better value for money that the requirements set out in the invitation to tender. 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 to allow direct comparison with other tenders.

See also: Qualified bid.

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