Standards of Tender Information

Now I’m not intending to have a go at designers or Architects here as they have a tough enough job as it is, but working closely with contracting organisations across the country we do see an awful lot of work provided by design teams and the standard we see…………..

We love the advent of electronic communication but please, please, please think about the stuff you are churning out these days. It’s all so easy to burn loads of standard stuff on a CD – oh just in case they might need this or that drawing or document, or to stuff it onto a server and say here’s the password and log in details, away you go sort out what you need!

We spend more time in our office trying to fathom out what on earth has been sent through on a job sometimes now than actually doing the job. And that is saying something! And I know that contractors and subcontractors feel the same way about it too. It’s frequent topic of conversation.

And drawings…….we have to check every time now to see that a drawing is to an actual scale you can recognise! The number of times recently we’ve had drawings that are not to scale……ok might be only between 5 and 10% error but that could make or break a tender submission.

Have to say that the best sets of documents we have seen recently come out on civil engineering projects. There’s always a list of numbered documents, you know exactly the drawings that have been issued (as you always get a drawing register) and everything is just……well……numbered logically so you can follow things. A joy to work with.

So why can we not have some uniformity in standard of documents that are issued by the design teams at tender stage? It seems everyone just does their own thing and dumps it further down the supply chain to sort out. Just saying that’s all……..

3 Responses to “Standards of Tender Information”


  1. 1 David Sharpe November 11, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I would go along with a lot of this. Another problematic variable is the quantity and quality of the information that some design teams think as acceptable. This is true for both traditional and D&B projects, with even the RIBA Plan or Work sometimes ignored when looking at the completeness and co-ordination of the design. For example, I personally do not think it acceptable to leave any significant amount of design development post-tender just because not enough work was done pre-tender. I want to see a set of structural calculations in a file at tender issue, so I know that the potential contractor could build from the information I want them to stick a tender price to.

    One idea I have is for the design team to offer to present their design to each contractor, highlighting the key issues, and allowing questions. This can be a short meeting, a half-day workshop or mini-conference, to suit the scale of the job. Would this help tendering contractors? Would design teams be up for it?

  2. 2 derekmynott November 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I like the idea of this David as we work with lots of contractors on D & B projects and I’m sure they would go along with this.

    The question would be could you get buy in from the other members of the design team?

    As surely in the long term it would benefit the client and make for a smoother run project too?

  3. 3 David Churcher November 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Very interesting to read this. I am currently working with some ‘tail-end of the supply chain’ specialist contractors and they know all about the CD-full of irrelevant information.

    A related matter is the rate at which information is reissued during the tender period (means everyone has to do their job several times over).

    I like David Sharpe’s idea of a design team presentation/ discussion with contractors, but what about extending this to lower tier sub-contractors too? Above all I think the key ingredient is dialogue between the client/lead designers who have the concepts and other specialists (be they contractors, sub-contractors, cost consultants, etc) who have ideas about solutions.

    Give me a call on 07900 254090 if you fancy discussing this further…


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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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