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The Estimators A-Z Tendering Checklist


Check your estimate is on target with your own A-Z checklist

A. You have made the tender list. The documents have been issued. Carefully unpack and list each uniquely labelled and bound set of documents. Discipline on document control is essential in all phases of project procurement and delivery;

B. Look for checklists, including document transmittal's, lists of drawings, tables of contents. If you cannot identify a master checklist that contains all items received, create one;

C. Is there a set of conditions of tendering? Makes sure you identify minimum requirements to avoid a low score or disqualification from participation;

D. Is there the requirement for a document deposit? What are the document deposit rules?

E. If you are still using paper, date stamp and “Tender Set” stamp all your documents;

F. Ditto for receipt of any Notices to Tenders documentation;

G. When are tenders closing? Can you meet this date? If not, when should you seek an extension? Or should you withdraw? If you seek an extension immediately, there may be time to replace you on the tender list. Do you wait for the first Notice to Tenders?

H. Read through all documents and familiarise yourself with the project requirements. Make notes as you go under key headings. Tender deliverables, bonds, insurances, programme, company resources, financial status, track record, references, probity, form of tender, proposed contract terms, specific conditions (terms subject to customisation of a standard form contract and special conditions (the alteration of standard form terms by adding, deleting or amending), provisional sums, nominated subcontractors and suppliers, sectional completions, warranties, liquidated damages, bonus and retentions;

I. Are there long lead items, access issues, existing site conditions / hazards;

J. Is there a schedule of quantities? If there is, do a bulk check to see how accurate it is;

K. What are the tender assessment rules? Is there a weighted points system?

L. Are you the Super Mario Bros? If not, then you will want specialist trade contractors to price their specialist trade works to you as part of your tender proposal;

M. Define the boundaries of the Trade packages and special material supply items need external price / assessment? Invite prices from specialists;

N. Be careful to identify scope that may fit into more than one trade package or not fit not any trade package. These are the items you will miss or double up on. Either way it is usually unwelcome news to lose or win a tender by mistake;

O. Set up your first draft trade package summary with formulas for adding up your price;

P. Setup a digital and physical package pricing filing system so you can orderly review what is receives and assessed from specialist trades and record what has been determined to be the basis of each specialist trade input into your tender proposal;

Q. Prepare and issue invitations to tender for the trade packages you have identified;

R. While you await trade tender queries and prices, measure and estimate the cost of your own direct works, i.e. Preliminary and General, concrete, carpentry, etc;

S. Prepare a programme, methodology and possible team. Does your programme meet the tender programme? If your programme is longer, can you better it? What will that cost? Will you offer a saving for a longer programme?

T. Draft your tender submission (excluding price) and double check you know the correct date, time and method of delivery allowed / required;

U. Notice to Tenders. Receive review and determine, is there time to Price, if not request an extension to closing time. Distribute to relevant specialist trade tenderers;

V. Assemble your estimates and quotes on your master summary and list the endorsements it is currently based on for management review. Is something missing? Do a quick estimate and plug that gap with a sum at risk or a provisional sum to transfer the risk;

W. Use the tender form provided;

X. What profit margin to apply? Will your tender comply with principal requirements or will you be submitting an alternative proposal? If you are not submitting a fully compliant tender, make your proposal subject to a list of tender endorsements;

Y. Deliver your tender on time to the designated place; and

Z. Pray you have not missed anything significant;


By Matthew Ensoll. Editor The New Zealand Building Economist.



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