principal designer

Inviting tenders for your construction project

6th December 2021   |   Jamie Barrett   |   Reading Time: 4 minutes

5 things you need to know the ITT process

What to consider if you’re self managing a construction project

A key stage of any construction project inviting tenders. In fact, if you’re embarking on a construction project and plan to manage the whole process yourself, it’s highly likely that you will need to invite subcontractors to tender for the various trade packages of your project. 

It’s important to understand that the quality of your invitation to tender (ITT) will affect the quality of the tenders you receive and, in turn, the likely outcome of your project.

This article considers five things you need to know about inviting tenders for your construction project. But before we dive in, why would you need to invite tenders?

What is an invitation to tender and why is it important?

For the purposes of this article, we are considering the tendering process for projects that are not subject to OJEU or public sector tendering rules. Rather we are considering the invitation to tender for subcontractors when taking a construction management approach to delivering your construction project. 

A tender process enables you to obtain a number of submissions for your trade packages and carry out an evaluation of different suppliers in order to manage your project budget. You can use an invitation to tender process to invite the supply of goods or services for your project. 

Typically the ITT process would be a continuous process of inviting tenders, evaluating submissions, interviewing potential trade contractors and making appointments. (There may be occasions when you choose to ask potential suppliers to complete a pre-qualification process. This will enable you to check things like insurance limits or accreditations prior to supplying a full tender package, allowing you to disregard anyone who does not meet basic essential criteria.) 

Having now established what an invitation to tender is, and why it is important to your project, let’s consider 5 things you need to know in order to undertake a successful tender process. 

1. What to include in your invitation to tender

The quality of your ITT will impact the quality of the responses you receive. Therefore it is important to ensure that you develop comprehensive ITT packages that include:

  • Letter of invitation to tender
  • Form of Tender
  • Form of contract
  • Relevant supporting documents such as pre-construction information or drawings
  • Employers Information Requirements and BIM information
  • Pricing documentation 
  • Project specifications
  • Explanation of the process
  • ITT timeline
  • Queries and clarifications process
  • Submission requirements
  • Process for non compliant bids
  • Process for feedback about unsuccessful tenders

2. Clearly defined trade packages

As mentioned above, the premise of this article is for projects taking a construction management route. In this situation, the project will be broken down into trade packages which will each be subject to an ITT process. 

It is crucial that, when compiling the trade packages you consider the package interfaces and have very clearly defined packages. This will ensure that you don’t run into problems about where one trade contractor’s package ends and another begins.

3. Providing a clear brief

In order for the trade contractors to provide a reliable and accurate tender submission they need to know exactly what you want them to deliver. With this in mind, you must be very clear about what each package includes but also the quality threshold with which they must comply.Providing a detailed pricing schedule will assist trade contractors when they are compiling their tender submission and will help ensure that all items you require are included. 

Failing to provide detailed scope of works,  specifications, schedules of attendances and other pertinent information will inevitably result in varying qualities of tender submissions which may not be directly comparable and is likely to have an implication of the cost certainty of your project. 

4. How will you deal with queries and clarifications?

It’s highly likely that you will receive queries or clarifications from trade contractors about the details of your ITT. In order to ensure the process is fair and equitable you should consider setting a reasonable deadline for queries or clarifications to be raised along with a process for sharing the responses with all those invited to submit a tender.

5. Assessing submissions

Once the submission deadline has passed you will need to undertake an evaluation process. Whilst you might be tempted to skip straight to the bottom line and appoint based on price, we would always urge caution. True value for money is a much bigger picture.

In addition to the price, you need to evaluate the quality of the submissions to establish whether you are comparing like for like or whether some submissions have failed to meet the ITT specifications. This is where you will be able to measure the value for money offered by the different trade contractors. Take time to test the detail of each submission and ensure that the various trade contractors have demonstrated the requisite skills, experience and resources to fulfill your requirements. 

How Evolution5 can help you?

Evolution5 is both a Chartered Building Consultancy and RICS regulated firm with experience in delivering construction management and ITT services for clients. 

Click here to view more details about some of our projects.

Evolution5 is a professional consultancy offering construction management, project management, principal designer, CDM advisor, quantity surveying, employer’s agent, and contract administration services for projects across London and the South East.

If you have a construction project and would like to explore how the team can help you, click the button below or call 023 8040 5073.