RESOURCES | To bid or not to bid

Floyd Draper of DriBuild writes:

To bid, or not to bid… that is the question.

With the economy still in a buoyant market, we look at the requirements in tendering for a design and build (D&B) project.

The tender documents

For a design and build contract this is the means, by which the employer’s design and/or works requirements are communicated to the tendering contractors. These inform the contractor of the scope and detail of the project, the conditions under which the work will be executed, and they identify the rights and obligations of the various participants under the proposed contract. The tender documents enable contractors to price the works requirements and submit an offer (bid) which, if accepted by the employer becomes a binding contract.

Contractors proposals

In D&B arrangements, the tender documents are developed and produced as Contractor’s Proposals. These should mirror the Employer’s Requirements. In an employer-led design project, the format for the tender submission will invariably be laid down in the enquiry, and contractors generally adhere to these instructions. A contractor may consider that this is a minimum, and that he/she may have a better chance of success by providing further information to enable the proposals to be evaluated more fully. The contractor will certainly highlight any innovative proposals and/or better standard than was specified in the enquiry.

However, tender documents are not always clear in practice. The aim of this article is to demonstrate the clarity and adequacy of tender documents used in practice. Subsequently if the tender documentation is unclear or is missing key items, this will result in a return incorporating a lump sum price with qualifications or no tender return.

Please note, a broad list of items in terms of due diligence information is required besides the standard design and specification; site information, legal searches, surveys, site services and planning to provide accurate price certainty for lump sum pricing.

Site information

  • Site address (including post code)
  • Site location map
  • Contact details for neighbours if known
  • Access assessment and arrangements
  • Site logistics assessment

Legal searches

  • Deeds and title Information
  • Ownership (including boundaries and possible disputes)
  • Central and local government planned works within the vicinity of the site
  • Party wall appraisals and surveys
  • Rights of light appraisals and surveys
  • Way leave agreements (telecommunications, electrical networks etc )
  • Existing licenses
  • Easements (rights of way, right to light, the right for underground services to pass beneath the land of a neighbouring property, right of support, the right to draw water etc)
  • Restricted covenants
  • Tree Preservation Orders or other tree rights
  • Listed buildings
  • Conservation areas, or other designated areas (such as national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty)
  • Schedules monuments
  • Building regulations approvals
  • Statutory waterways and any associated restrictions
  • Railways and any associated restrictions
  • On site adverts
  • Civil Aviation authority restrictions
  • Car parking licenses and agreements
  • Existing occupants and illegal occupation


  • Topographical survey
  • Existing building survey (including valuation, measured surveys, structural surveys, structural investigations, conditional surveys and demolition surveys)
  • Historic use report
  • Site investigations
  • Contamination survey
  • Boundary surveys
  • Structural survey (including retained structures, underground structures and obstructions)
  • Unexploded bomb survey
  • Railway and tunnel search
  • Air quality
  • Archaeological survey
  • Asbestos and other deleterious materials surveys and registers
  • Local area transport infrastructure (adequacy and future use)
  • Ecology survey
  • Local climate
  • Photographic survey

Site services

  • Fire hydrants
  • Telecommunications
  • Wireless networks and satellite reception
  • Electrical infrastructure and capacity
  • Gas network infrastructure and capacity
  • Foul sewers and drains infrastructure and capacity
  • Existing water supply infrastructure and capacity


  • Planning applications and approvals for the site and within the vicinity of the site, including conditions and obligations (agreed or in draft)
  • Social and economic desktop study
  • Access statement
  • Statement of community involvement
  • Cumulative impact report
  • Visual impact assessment
  • Sustainability statement
  • Heritage report
  • Traffic assessment
  • Flood Risk
  • Air quality
  • Acoustic environment and noise

We are finding more and more that certain clients are issuing employers’ requirements without fundamental key items such as asbestos surveys and site investigation reports. If the fundamentals are missing, how can we ensure price certainty, so we can only price the risk or design the risk out at an increase in cost?

So, ask yourselves when employer’s requirements are being issued, highlight missing information from the outset instead of working through 500 pages of specification and 400 sets of drawings. We all work in a collaborative team to deliver the same goal.

This article was originally published on Place Resources.


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