The Construction Bidding Process

31 July 2019

The Construction Bidding Process image

Not too long ago the world of construction bidding was a confusing one. It felt like a stab in the dark at times to find the right bids for a business, but over the last few years, the process is getting easier.

Copronet is trying to make it as simple as possible for anyone in charge of getting tenders for their business and not give themselves any headaches. We have created construction tender software that helps anyone in the UK find the right level of tender for their business, with construction and planning leads available on site to match personal requirements.

To dispel some myths and declutter some of the jargon for those who may be new to it all, we’ve created this short blog post to lay out the construction bidding process for Copronet users.

We’ll walk you through what the process entails, what common hiccups you’ll find along the way, and hopefully answer important questions for those new to the process.

It all starts with a solid understanding of bids.

What is construction bidding?

We’ll assume you are well versed in the world of construction already in this article. But for those who are not, construction bidding is the process of a contractor putting out a tender for work to be carried out and potential clients then replying to that tender with a bid of what they believe it will cost to carry out.

Why is construction bidding so important?

Put yourself in the shoes of a general contractor. You have a big project on the horizon, and it requires a dozen different areas to be worked on. When you have a good grasp of what needs to be completed, it is common to split that work up into several individual bids so that you (the general contractor) has a better chance of getting a wider collection of bids from potential clients.

In short, construction bidding helps contractors find subcontractors at a competitive rate.

How do you find construction bids?

By using Copronet. We have built a platform to help make finding construction tenders as simple as possible. Building your own profile, you can find relevant tenders that fall in line with the capabilities of your business, the specialities your team have and the geographical area of the UK that suits you.

Through building a complete profile, Copronet can help suggest construction bids you may be interested in.

What does the construction bid process entail?

Although not always the same, the process will generally go like this:

  1. An invitation to tender is sent out; potential candidates register their interest (it may come with a PQQ requirement)
  2. Upon receiving applications, a contractor may carry out an interview or ask for more information from applicants
  3. Applicants submit their bid based on contractor’s criteria (this is usually industry standard unless a project is incredibly specific)
  4. Contractors settle on their preferred tender and either accept straight away or carry out informal negotiations to see if the applicant will budge on costs
  5. When everyone is happy, the contract is engrossed and executed
  6. The work begins

There will be variables depending on what type of project is being touted, but this is the general bid process.

The only time you’d find a lengthier process is when dealing with public contract bids.

Are public construction bids hard to get?

No. Public tenders are the easiest to find and apply for. Here in the UK, it can sometimes take longer to go from tender to execution as there could be a higher level of regulation/ checks and balances to go through. For example, a local council might put a tender out where they have to follow OJEU procurement procedures and advertise for 52 days. It’s a guideline from the EU that there needs to be a minimum advertising period so as many companies as possible have a fair chance of being able to apply.*

*It’s uncertain just now whether Brexit is going to see this EU guideline taken away or changed in the near future.

How can the construction bid process be made easier?

There’s no denying that the biggest headache you’ll get from making a bid happens right before it when you need to provide relevant documentation in the pre-bid process. Without having to grab files for uploading from a dozen different places, house them all on your Copronet account and send them over right away to the relevant party. Copronet users can manage all their construction bid tenders in one place.

How do you bid on a contract?

So you’ve possibly had to send over proof of accreditations and such before being allowed to make a bid. Once you’re through to the main part, the bid process will usually go like this:

  • You are sent a packet/scope of work document that outlines what the contractor is looking for
  • You might get a list of the contractors preferred costs as a breakdown and cost codes of what they’re “ballparking”
  • You, as the subcontractor, then evaluate that information and send over a bid that matches your assumed cost

How do you win a construction bid contract?

Well if you are successful, you will get an email or phone call to say your bid has been accepted, but that isn’t full confirmation your company has landed the job. You’ll need to be provided with a commitment in writing from the contractor that acts as proof you’ve won the bid.

Can a bid be won without a commitment / contract?

Yes. Sometimes when a project needs to get going, but there isn’t a clear idea of the specifics from the contractor, a business may have to start work through a two-stage tender.

What is a two-stage construction tender?

It is where there is an informal agreement in place between the contractor and applicant to get work going without everything being finalised. Once work gets to an agreed safe stage,  a fixed price for work is agreed upon. This is common in design and build projects, with housing developments and building refurbishments being a prime example.

How can I start finding construction bids?

Sign up to Copronet today. Our software gives the user the chance to look at over half a million live tenders in the UK and find the ones that matter to their business. You can compare account types here and sign up for a month’s free premium right now.

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