An RFP [Request for Proposal] / RFQ [Request for Quotation] tendering process is used to obtain costs relating to a specific type of work that a client requires to be completed. Tenders are issued as ‘tender packages’ to companies and consultants who will have a team of engineers and surveyors evaluate the information to understand the requirements and expected delivery of the works, thus submitting a cost as a proposal.
The below is aimed at a Commissioning Manager but can be used for most Consultants that are being employed on a Construction Project to allow a contract to be awarded, and it will cover:
- How long does the tender period last
- What are the main steps of tendering
- What is a Tender Package, and how is it created
- Request for Information or Tender Queries
- Assessment of proposals
- Tender Interviews
- Full and Final Offer
🔗 If you want to understand the difference between an RFI, RFQ & RFP see our article | 'RFI vs RFQ vs RFP | Understanding the Differences'
🟩 How Long Does the Tender Period Last?
To be honest, it will depend on a few factors:
- How large the project is, obviously the larger the longer.
- How complex the project is, the more complex the longer.
- How long the client’s procurement can take, some clients can have a very long arduous procurement process that could take months to approve and sign off on the works.
Always check as it’s been known to create some real issues if not anticipated within the tendering programme etc.
Within the RFP, there should be a tendering timeline; this will help to plan.
To download the below graphic, click the button below
🟩 What are the Main Steps of Tendering
We use a 20-step tendering process to allow a decent tendering process to be deployed as a standard across projects. The below provides a high-level table, followed by a more detailed explanation of each step:
|Step 1||Review requirements of the project in relation to employing the CxA.||Client|
|Step 2||Create a list of tenderers that can initially meet the requirements||Client|
|Step 3||Conduct pre-tender interviews||Client|
|Step 4||Shortlist tenderers||Client|
|Step 5||Create a tender package||Client|
|Step 6||Issue RFP & SOW||Client|
|Step 7||Tenderer to confirm if intend to tender||Tenderer|
|Step 8||Request briefing if feel required.||Tenderer|
|Step 9||Conduct briefings||Client|
|Step 10||Tenders to issue any Request for Information [RFI] or Technical Queries [TQ].||Tenderer|
|Step 11||Client to respond to RFI / TQ||Client|
|Step 12||Tenderer to issue proposal and costs||Tenderer|
|Step 13||Stage 1 assessment of proposals||Client|
|Step 14||Respond to tenderers||Client|
|Step 15||Post tender interviews||Client|
|Step 16||Stage 2 assessment of proposal and interview||Client|
|Step 17||Full and final offer issued||Tenderers|
|Step 18||Write a letter to the successful tenderer||Client|
|Step 19||Write letters to unsuccessful tenderers||Client|
|Step 20||Integrate team into the project||Tenderer|
🟩 20 Steps Required to Complete the RFP Process
🟧 Step 1 – Review the Requirements of the Project in Relation to Employing the CxA
For the client to understand to who the CxA package should be issued to, a quick review of the information on the project and expectations will be undertaken to see if there is anything needed that would preclude certain consultants from tendering.
🟧 Step 2 – Create a List of Tenderers that can Initially Meet the Requirements
A list of consultants will be drawn up, usually created from pre-approved companies or from people the client has dealt with in the past. Sometimes, a new company will be thrown into the mix to keep everyone on their toes and maybe provide another option other than using the same companies to freshen it up.
🟧 Step 3 – Conduct Pre-Tender Interviews / Pre-Qualification
Tendering can be a hugely time-consuming and expensive process, so before it takes place or any documentation and information are sent to the consultants, the client will need to understand who would be the best fit for the project they are constructing and the services they are trying to procure.
There is little point in sending out information and spending time on companies that may not make the second stage due to not having the time, skillset, or ability to complete the work.
The best and most efficient way to complete this is by conducting ‘pre-tender interviews’ or ‘pre-qualification questionnaire.’
🟨 Pre-Tender Interview
The Pre Tender Interview Agenda would cover the following:
- Consultant’s details
- Date of interview
- Items that are to be discussed/presented [example below]
- Overview of Agenda
- Presentation [Tenderer]
- Questions [Client]
The interview will usually be conducted in person or remotely via Microsoft Teams / Zoom etc, with the interviews lasting for about 60 minutes, providing enough time for the invited parties to complete and discuss all the items detailed in the agenda.
To understand more about Pre-Tender Interviews, see our article 'TENDER INTERVIEWS | Simple Guide', where there is much more information and downloadable materials.
Pre-qualification would be another means to understand the tenderer’s ability.
A pre-qualification questionnaire will be sent to each tenderer. The tenderer will complete the document and submit it to the client for review.
We have written the following article on prequalification of tenderers 'PREQUALIFICATION OF TENDERERS | How to Conduct, Manage & Complete'
🟧 Step 4 – Shortlist Tenderers
A shortlist of tenderers will be drawn up based on the pre-tender interviews and/or pre-qualification works. The expectation would be that 1 to 2 companies will not be in the final selection to receive the tender packages from the original 5-6 companies selected.
This shortlist will then be used to send out the tender packages.
🟧 Step 5 – Create a Tender Package
What is a tender package?. A tender package is made up of a set of documents issued to tenderers detailing the requirements expected to be fulfilled to deliver the works & scope.
The types of documents that form part of the package would include:
|Document||Reason to Issue|
|Request for Proposal [RFP] & Scope of Works [SOW]||To ensure the Commissioning Authority allows and costs for delivering and managing the commissioning process correctly and in line with the client requirements, a Request for Proposal [RFP] and Scope Of Work [SOW] will be written and issued.|
|Client Commissioning Guide||Is a rarely available document. Still, sometimes clients will insist on creating or using them as they can be instrumental in scoping out the works and give a standard delivery. The document provides the CxA with details and information on the client's expected commissioning process and activities that should be delivered. Usually, a standard document is used across the client's portfolio.|
|Client Internal Guidelines||Some clients, usually the larger ones with portfolios of many buildings, will have a set of standard internal guidelines covering MEP&F Systems that detail the expectations for the project. These can be used to create the Owners Project Requirement [OPR] Document later on. They can provide a great amount of detail to the tenderers from the early stage of the project.|
|Project Specifications||Generally, there should not be many specifications as the Client should be creating the CxA tender document before the project pre-design stage. This will mean that the designer will not be on board. If this is not the case and specifications are available, they should be included, including any other specifications/scopes from the Architect.|
|Project Drawings||Building layouts, system layouts, system schematics, control logics, etc. Like the specifications above, there may not be many drawings due to the project's stage. We would generally expect there to be scheme drawings that can provide enough detail to proceed.|
|Project Programme||This will usually be high-level detailing milestones of the project's main target dates. The CxA will then need to create their own internal expectation programme to allow pricing, etc.|
🟧 Step 6 – Issue RFP & SOW
Once the tender package is created and the shortlist of consultants known, the client will issue a Request for Proposal [RFP] & Scope of Works [SOW].
If you would like to understand more on RFP/RFQ's and the SOW, please see our articles 'REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL | [RFP] How to write and format' and 'SCOPE OF WORKS | [SOW] How to write and format' for a detailed explination and downloadable templates.
🟧 Step 7 – Tenderer to Confirm if Intend to Tender
Upon receipt of the tender documents, the contractors should reply to the client, noting that they intend to or do not intend to tender.
If some tenderers do not notify the client that they will not tender, it could cause issues with the clients’ procurement and requirements for how many proposals should be sought.
If the client is made aware, he can plan and issue additional tender packages to other consultants that did not make the shortlist.
Generally, the tenderers will confirm during the pre-tender interview if they foresee any issues.
We have written an article on what should be included within this confirmation, please see our article 'ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RFP/RFQ | with Simple Letter and Email Template' for a detailed explination and downloadable templates.
🟧 Step 8 – Request Briefing if Required
If the tenderer feels that the information provided within the tender documents is unclear, they can request a ‘Briefing Session’ with the client team.
🟧 Step 9 – Conduct any Briefings, if Requested Above
The client will provide a date, time, and location if a briefing has been requested.
The Tenderer will lead the session, and concerns/queries answered by the client team.
The briefing will be documented and minuted, and after the briefing, the client team should issue the minutes to all tenderers. This will ensure that no information is provided in the briefing, giving a single consultant an advantage.
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🟧 Step 10 – Tenderers to Issue any Request for Information [RFI] or Technical Queries [TQ]
Once all tender packages have been received and briefings completed, the tenderers should raise any other queries or observations via a Request for Information [RFI] or Technical Query [TQ] form.
To ensure all information is shared across the project and not one tenderer has an advantage, the client team will consolidate all queries into one schedule and answers returned to all tenderers.
To read our article and download our templates on Request For Information/Technical Queries see [RFI] REQUEST FOR INFORMATION | What is it in Construction with Templates
🟧 Step 11 – Client to Respond to RFI / TQ
As noted above, to ensure all information is shared across the project, the client team will consolidate all queries into one schedule and answers returned to all tenderers.
🟧 Step 12 – Tenderer to Issue Proposal and Costs
Once all information is understood and in line with the RFP timeline, the tenderers should issue their proposal to the Client for Stage 1 assessment.
🟧 Step 13 – Stage 1 Assessment of Proposals
Once all the tenderers have returned their proposals to the Client, the client will complete the Stage 1 assessment.
Usually, the assessment will be in two parts, utilizing scoring matrixes based on the proposal’s commercial and technical details.
The Commercial Assessment will focus upon:
- the costs
- any areas omitted which could increase the costs if not covered, and
- manning schedules.
The Technical Assessment will focus upon:
- proposal vs project requirements
- delivery method,
- the team, and
- any tools that the tenderer has put forward and intends to use.
Once completed, the client will move to the next step of responding to the tenderers.
🟧 Step 14 – Respond to Tenderers
After their Stage 1 analysis, the client will submit any questions and observations relating to the proposals to each consultant/tenderer and notify them when the post-tender interviews, with an agenda, will be completed, as per the next step.
They would also use this stage to remove anyone from the process who did not match the project expectations.
🟧 Step 15 – Post-Tender Interviews
The post-tender interviews are usually held at the client’s offices or post-Covid via Zoom/remotely and conducted at a pre-arranged date and time.
The interviews are used to provide time, usually no more than 90 minutes, for the tenderers to present their proposal and provide the client with an understanding that they are the best fit for the project.
The tenderers should ensure the following to give a good impression:
- Dress smartly
- Bring along the critical team members that will be involved in the project
- Ensure that the presentation is clear and concise
- Ensure that the proposal delivers exactly what the project wants
- Show that the team has read and understood the project and requirements, this does not have to be in full detail, but the client will appreciate it if the team has taken the time to prepare
- Ensure that a few of the team members present part of the proposal, there is nothing worse than as a client, sitting listening to one guy and watching everyone else hides under the table.
- Create some questions that can be asked to create some additional conversation.
To understand more about Post Tender Interviews Click Here, where there is much more information and downloadable materials.
🟧 Step 16 – Stage 2 Assessment of Proposal and Interview
After the post tender interviews, the client will request that any clarifications are addressed and proposals resubmitted to evaluate all of their notes and observations they have made to date.
They will use the tender interview information and Stage 1 assessment procedure to conduct the final reviews
🟧 Step 17 – Full and Final Offer Issued
A ‘Full and Final Offer’ may form part of the tender process; this is where the Client will give all tenderers who have issued a compliant proposal a chance to discount their costs.
This is usually a quick process and is used to squeeze out some savings from the commissioning management package.
90% of the time, it will mean that the lowest cost will win the project.
🟧 Step 18 – Write a Letter to the Successful Tenderer
Once the final stages and evaluations have been completed, the Client will then write to the successful tenderer confirming that they will be awarded the project.
🟧 Step 19 – Write Letters to Unsuccessful Tenderers
It’s always disappointing when we are not awarded a project, and tendering can be very expensive, but only one company can usually be successful at the end of the day…
…So, to help soften the blow, it is a good idea for the Client to acknowledge the unsuccessful tenderers and write a letter or email to each, explaining why they were not chosen for the works.
This will help both sides in the following ways:
- Show to the tenderer that they were really part of the process; it was unfortunate they did not win and were not just for a price check.
- Keep a good relationship between the Client and Tenderer for any future dealings.
- Provide feedback to the Tenderer that would help them cost the next project.
- Allow the client on any next stages or projects to receive better, more competitive proposals.
🟧 Step 20 – Integrate the Team into the Project
Finally, once the confirmation to proceed has been received from the client, the Commissioning Agent should integrate their team with the Client and their other consultants.
⬜ 20 Steps to Complete the Tendering Process Guideline
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