Posts Tagged 'tendering'

Two stage tendering with a twist

Here’s a variation on a theme for two stage tenders………..

How many have you been used to the traditional way of two stage tendering, simply price the prelims and give a percentage for profit and overheads.

Two stage tendering

Well maybe no more.

How many of you have seen this, or variations on this of late? Two stage tender, first stage is for the usual priced aspects of prelims, overheads and the like but now here’s the twist….

A large element of the project is to be priced and fixed at the first stage.

Other elements are to be budget costs, although in reality a design does exist and is provided with the tender documents.

I’ve seen this twice in the last month having never seen this before.

What do you think to this, a good way forward?

Is this the start of clients being able to avoid getting the run around after months of negotiations with a contractor only to find their budget has been blown?

Or is it something Contractors will shun viewing it as a risk not worth entertaining in the current economic climate for them?

Oh and by the way it’s a design and build project too, but you guessed that anyway.

BIM Rubbish In…….Rubbish Out!

It’s been a while………but here’s a link to a guest blog I’ve done for Pauley Creative on my thoughts on BIM ……..

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Honest tendering

I’ve had a rest this week from my normal blogging and provided a guest blog for John Langford a good friend of mine.

it’s about, as the title says above………. Honest tendering.

It can be found at http://www.cmmuk.com/honest-tendering-derek-mynott

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………..

Cut Throat Tender Pricing….

So another year begins and listening to all the pundits this is going to be tougher than the last one.

But what of tender prices? Inflation is allegedly running at near 4% (although it feels a lot higher to me) so tender prices on the up? No, not a bit.

So whats happening?

Well I wonder how many tender bids are going in at lunchtime today that have been priced below net cost? I’d never be able to prove it but I suspect nearly all of them.

So why is that?

Well as we know there isn’t a lot of work around, and there’s probably still too many of us chasing that amount of work too…and clients know that. So more of you are being asked to tender…and do you consider you are pricing against like for like competition? No, is the most likely answer.

So what to do?

Go in as cheap as you can, beat the opposition, keep your team intact, gain a contribution to your overhead, pray the job goes well, there are lots of variations and changes to claw some money back, over value the job on interim valuations, screw the supply chain further (after all they never put in a sensible bid at tender stage, and if they did you ask them to knock it by 15-20% anyway), and oh that the client still has the funds from his finances to pay you!

But consultants you’re not helping either.

Don’t stuff your tenders with huge provisional sums because designs haven’t been resolved or you haven’t made your mind up, or the client hasn’t. Don’t include provisional quantities or items, keep your specifications tight and detailed to what you want. Don’t send out vague, confusing, incomplete, conflicting designs, drawings and information as the contractor will see this as a great opportunity. And please stop issuing tender addendums when you’ve only just sent out the documents, send it all out once and be done with it!

And finally don’t burn everything you can possibly think of and put it on a cd, as all the contractors do is the same, but pass it on to the supply chain. And what happens? The man in a van gets it, doesn’t understand it, either doesn’t bother with it, puts in a price because he thinks he understands it, only to find he’s committed to something he doesn’t understand.

Then  he doesn’t do the job and leaves everyone with a problem.

By way of an side, but on the same vein, we’ve got a project in the office that we are doing the bills of quantities for the contractor. Tucked away in part of the tender documents there’s a clause that states if your bid is above £7.2M don’t bother sending it in! (The job has already been tendered last year at around £8M, sent out again with no design changes, what do they expect I ask?)

So clients don’t expect the impossible, but if you do ask for it be warned as if you step out of line, dither over a decision, play with the contractors cash flow expect the worst as it will come back and bite you!

Thanks to John Langford for his tweet @ConstructionMM for being the inspiration for this.


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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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