Volume 2 of Vic's commercial past

One of the reasons I want to share my commercial tendering experiences with you is because there is a lot to be learned from the formal process that could make life simpler for those jobs that are not formally tendered… as explained in the last blog, commercial tendering is just a formal process for pricing, but the theory works on any sized job.


So to recap…… I’ve got all my docs, printed them out, and I’ve set up my calendar, my job folder for my documents, and my tender letter. So, what next?


Now its HIGHLIGHTER TIME. If you haven’t gathered by now, highlighters and coloured pencils are a big part of a QS’s arsenal…. We loooooove them. In fact, I remember when I was studying and we were measuring everything off the plans, we were encouraged to make our paperwork as colourful as possible.


We needed our highlighters for two jobs, one was to highlight everything our builders would be doing on the plans in one colour, and highlight the work our subs would do in another so we could check it off easily (strike through) when their quotes came in. When I say highlight the work, what I mean is to highlight the descriptions, and do that right the way through the job including in the details.


The other job was to work through the contract documentation. What this meant, was going through the tender document, which provided the conditions of contract, how the job was to be presented, what the due dates were, and other supporting information that was required etc. I was looking for anything within that document that could either cause me grief or would be something that I needed to make a cost allowance for. Sometimes we would be asked to provide a scope of works or methodology statement as to how we would be approaching the work as part of our submission. It would also not be unheard of to be asked to break down the trade summary in a specific format and to declare margin and variation day rates.

Watch out for this trap!

Ever heard the term ‘liquidated damages’? This is where you would find it. This term referred to what would happen if the job ran over time, and ‘damages’ effectively referred to the contractor having to pay the developer for every day the job went over its due date, not including client lead variations. It was definitely not something you wanted to miss!


You would also find here what type of contract was being run, was it a fixed lump sum? Cost plus? Or maybe the dreaded GMP contract? (Guaranteed Maximum Price). This information would guide you as to how your information needed to be put together and presented. This was also pertinent information to make sure my subcontractors were aware of….


The next blog in this series will be talking about a bit more paperwork, in particular, the specification. I’ll also go over how we managed the request for pricing for subs and their submissions.

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