Specifications, Tenders, and Bidding Etiquette

February 28, 2024 at 10:01 PM

Why are tenders better for a strata or commercial building better than just going out to get a bunch of quotes?

Once upon a time, there was an estimator for a large scale painting contractor. This estimator got a call from XYZ strata council to quote an upcoming painting project. This was a fairly complex project involving a strata townhouse complex, but there were some general terms that the estimator was given for items in the scope of work. So, the estimator made some assumptions, and added a few extra items that they saw on site. In those few assumptions, they have effectively changed the scope of work, separating their quote from all of the others. If every estimator makes slightly different assumptions, your quotes will not match, and the process has been tainted.

Presenting the project to multiple estimators at the same time, with the same specification (see our previous post for the “Specifics on Specifications”), containing the same scope of work, presented by the individual (or ideally the consultant) who developed the scope of work with the stakeholders is the best way to ensure that the bids can be compared “Apples to Apples”. This is the advantage of a tendered job. When you, as the stakeholder, are facing a painting project that will be costing your strata well over $100K, or up to $1M, it is in your best interest to eliminate assumptions, and ensure that the process is systematic, and well managed.

Following a well designed program of tendering also allows you to assess the bidders professionalism, integrity, and ability to follow instructions. If bidders A, B, C, and D all submit their bids on time, complete all areas, sign where they’re supposed to sign and provide their Bid Qualifications as requested, then you know you have a solid bidding group. If bidder E however submits a few minutes late, has only submitted the bid numbers, omits the reference page, the credit check permission page, then claims it is “no big deal” when asked… they have displayed all the traits that you do NOT want on your project. If they’re willing to let this slide, what else will be addressed unprofessionally?

The worst case scenario is that without good coaching, you end up choosing contractor E's bid, because his price is lower. That opens your strata or building owner up to a potential suit from contractors A through D who followed the rules, and completed their bids completely and on time. Contractor E broke the rules of submission, so should have been disqualified.

The best way to ensure a fair and well managed tender process, is to lean on professionals that manage these types of processes all the time. If you are a council member or Property Manager that may go through a process like this once a year, maybe twice, or in the case of a council member, possibly never, or 10 years ago, it can be overwhelming. At Inspec Consulting, we tender 50 to 60 projects a year and have developed a system that is continually evolving to keep up with a fast paced industry.

If you have an upcoming painting, sealant, membrane or other protective coatings project upcoming on your complex, building, or property, feel free to visit our website for more information, or reach out to one of our experienced consultants to get more insight into how we can support your needs.


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