Last edited 31 Dec 2016

Tender documentation for construction projects

A tender is a submission made by a prospective supplier in response to an invitation to tender. It makes an offer for the supply of goods or services. Tender documents are prepared to seek tenders (offers). Generally, tendering refers to the suppliers required to complete construction works, rather than the process of selecting consultancy services which is commonly referred to as appointment.

Tender documents may be prepared for a range of contracts such as; equipment supply, the main construction contract (including design by the contractor), demolition, enabling works etc.

Ideally, tender documents should be broken down into a series of packages (even if there will only be one main contract) each with its own design drawings and specifications suitable to be issued by the main contractor to potential sub-contractors. This makes the tender easier to price for the contractor and easier to compare with other tenderers for the client. It is important when this is done to ensure that the interfaces between packages are properly identified and clearly allocated to one package or another. Having too many packages increases the number of interfaces and so the potential problems. The cost plan (pre-tender estimate) should also be re-assembled package by package to allow easy appraisal of tenders received.

Tenders documents may include:

Copies of the tender documentation should be kept for records.

It is good practice to send relevant documents direct to sub-contractors named in bills of quantities and to tell tendering contractors that this has been done, so they know they do not have to.

NB. On construction management contracts, tender documentation for trade contracts might include the construction manager's master programme.

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[edit] External references

  • CPIC the Construction Project Information Committee, responsible for providing best practice guidance on the content, form and preparation of construction production information.


1) What are the alternative tender pricing documentation formats used for different procurements available.Also in your opinion and experience what are the advantages and disadvantages of each type?

Answering this question is not straight forward and would take a lot of research.

There are number of articles on the site that might be useful to you, in particular; Contract sum analysis, Tender pricing document and Schedule of rates. Others may also be of interest, such as; Bills of quantities, Pre-tender estimate, Measurement contract, Procurement route and so on.

Sorry not to be of more help.

2) In which tender package (TP) would one put "Sliding automatic doors"? Is it Electromechanical (EM), like lifts and escalators? Who specifies them? The architect or the EM engineer?

Generally we would expect them to be in their own separate package with the builders work in the electrical package. Specified by the architect probably using a closed specification based on a preferred manufacturer.

3) Is there a publication of some sort that associates 'work results' (WR) with the corresponding generally expected TP? (although one realises that the allocation of WRs to TPs is to some degree project specific).

Not to our knowledge. A good client team ought to provide tender feedback to unsuccessful bidders.