When selecting suppliers to design, construct and perhaps operate a development, an initial short-list of prospective tenders may be invited to attend pre-tender interviews before they are invited to tender.
A pre-tender interview is an opportunity to:
- Assess the tenderers understanding of the commission.
- Assess the tenderers likely approach to the project.
- Assess the tenderers current workload.
- Assess the tenderers enthusiasm.
- Clarify ambiguities on either side.
- Verify that the proposed timescale for the tender process is achievable.
- Verify that the proposed nature of the tender process will obtain the best results.
Discussions held during the interviews may result in changes being made to the tender documents or to the length of the tender period. It can be in the interest of client to make these changes as it ensures that they get the best value and most accurate tenders possible.
Interviews may may include presentations by prospective tenderers, followed by questions from a small panel. The panel should agree in advance the nature of questions to be asked of each consultant (perhpas based on an assessment of their pre-qualification questionnaires). Answers may be scored and weighted, and sufficient time allowed between interviews for scores to be compiled and considered. This allows an objective appraisal to take place and also allows a consensus opinion to be formed, rather than having decisions driven by a single person.
Pre-tender interviews should be carefully managed so that tenderers are not made aware of who the other tenderers are, as this may impact on the competitiveness of the tenders they submit. This may include arrangements in relation to timing, car parking, waiting rooms and signing in books as well as the removal of any materials left by at the interviews by tenderers.
It may also be appropriate to hold mid-tender interviews.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Best value.
- Construction contract.
- Contract documents.
- How to prepare tender documents.
- Mid-tender interviews.
- Pre-qualification questionnaire.
- Procurement route.
- Tender documents
- Tender negotiations.
- Tender settlement meeting.
 External references
- PACE Guidance on the Appointment of Contractors and Consultants p 481 (for contractors) and p303 (for consultants).
- OGC Tendering process for consultancy support.
Featured articles and news
What is liquidation and how does it apply to contractors in the construction industry?
Scrutiny is placed on Carillion's controversial 2013 decision to extend subcontractor payment terms to 120 days.
RSHP unveil their involvement in a boundary crossing which will provide a new entry point into Hong Kong.
With PFI currently under the spotlight due to Carillion, this introductory article explains what they are.
Estimates suggest that up to 30,000 small firms could be at risk of non-payment as a result of Carillion's collapse.
Sir Oliver Letwin to lead an independent review into the delays in the delivery of housing.
As Carillion collapses, read our article explaining insolvency in the construction industry.
43,000 jobs at risk as Carillion declares insolvency..
1961 saw the publication of three important books about urban design that remain relevant today.
Next week the planning fee increases by 20% and new fees are introduced.
How the transformative power of BIM and other digital technologies can be used to gain a competitive edge.