Tender lists, who cares?

Now this might start as a strange story, so bear with me, you’ll get the drift of my theme I’m sure.

Why is it, that assuming exactly the same product is available, if you went to buy it from say, Harrods as opposed to any other high street retailer such as Argos and the like, you’d expect to pay more for it at where?

Well Harrods of course, everyone agrees on that.

So far so good.

Then why is it that a current trend I’m picking up on is to line up the likes of Harrods and Argos against each other and expect Harrods to give you the cheapest deal? Now substitute those names with any diverging set of Contractors or Subcontractors or Suppliers you care to name. Oh and then also have a very extensive list too, don’t just go to Harrods and Argos. Now I can hear you all groan as you say we’ll never win that project with ‘X’ on the tender list they are ‘buying’ work all over, what an unfair listing.

Sound familiar?

What damage is this practice doing to the industry as a whole?

Well here’s my take on a bit of that.

Part of our State of the Economy Survey we carried out recently contained a question ‘Whats the single biggest likely area for costs to increase this year for you?’ We had the usual expected answers of fuel, steel, concrete and the like, see the recent building article we are living  in a materials world for more on that….…but, one of the other top answers was ‘the increasing cost of putting together a bid to win a project.’

Interesting.

Well we know for sure about that in a small way for our contribution of providing bills of quantities to contractors bidding on design and dump, errr sorry, design and build projects these days. Let alone the pqq’s that go before that, the subsequent bid team that is needed and the various documents that everyone seems to require for the bid and then no longer refer to for the duration of the project. As after all who considers those when ‘X’ has put in a bid so much cheaper than anyone else………you go with ‘X’ don’t you……… it’s such a bargain you cannot refuse it.

Now where does everyone think these costs end up?

Well on the face of it with the contracting party.

But in the long run?

Well the end user of course.

 What a waste of time, money and effort.

Who advises clients on this?

Well professional advisers naturally. So come on guys instead of lining up Harrods with Argos, make the competition realistic and keep the numbers bidding to a sensible list. Stand up to Clients who insist on having you compile unbalanced tender lists. You’ll be surprised about the outcome.

And a final thought, what practice came about as a result of extensive tender lists and contractors not wishing to decline a tender opportunity………..

2 Responses to “Tender lists, who cares?”


  1. 1 Steve letch March 29, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Nice article Derek, very interesting and all very relevant.

    If only there were something we could all do which would help to change this. I have been involved on this agenda for many years via Construction Best Practise, Egan et al and while the issue remains a significant one, it is only improving very slowly.
    We were recently invited to tender for two projects, went through an extensive PQQ process with meetings, submissions etc, only to be told that the work had been let, that we had been approved, but too late to qualify, but …that it was not our fault, the client apologised for THEIR lengthy process!!

    The best thing we can all do is just to keep going and keep the pressure up on clients of all persuasions to use viable tender processes to select their suppliers not just on bid price, but also on their capacity to add value. And …. don’t invite the whole world to bid on every job!!

    • 2 derekmynott March 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks for your comments Steve, it does seem as if it’s a long slow process to make changes in this area, and with the current economic pressures for everyone to survive this only adds to the problems. Difficult one to crack, but as you say if we each apply presssure in the best way we can on our part we can make changes.


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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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