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.
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:
- A letter of invitation to tender.
- The form of tender.
- Preliminaries: including pre-construction information and site waste management plan (if required).
- The form of contract, contract conditions and amendments. This might include a model enabling amendment for building information modelling (BIM), making a BIM protocol a contractual document.
- A tender pricing document (or contract sum analysis on design and build projects).
- Employer's information requirements for BIM.
- Design drawings, and perhaps an existing building information model.
Copies of the tender documentation should be kept for records.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Best value.
- Bid writer.
- Construction contract.
- Contract conditions.
- Due diligence when selecting contractors or subcontractors.
- Form of tender.
- Mid-tender Interviews.
- OJEU procurement rules.
- Pre-qualification questionnaire.
- Pre-tender estimate.
- Pre-tender interviews.
- Private Finance Initiative.
- Tender negotiations.
- Tender processes.
- Two stage tender.
- Tender settlement meetings.
 External references
- CPIC the Construction Project Information Committee, responsible for providing best practice guidance on the content, form and preparation of construction production information.
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