Tender planning for a construction project is one of the most important factors in its success, and yet it constitutes a comparatively small percentage of the total project time, and often is not given the attention it needs.

Getting tender management and planning right is a specific skill honed through experience, hindsight, and industry knowledge, especially given the profound impact that it has on the project in the long-term.

The challenges of tender planning

Often, contractors are over stretched, meaning that not enough attention is paid to putting a tender programme together for work that you might not win. That’s despite it costing thousands of pounds in other resources to put the tender together and the great value of the reward for doing it well, both in the short- and long-term.

What a tender programme should include

The tender plan and programme need to match, mirror, and potentially explain all the sequences of construction that the technical narrative formulates. For example, it’s no use planning for 28 piling rigs when the site can only provide space for four – a typical challenge.

Amongst the many things that a tender programme should include to really show a detailed understanding of the scope of work and identify key client issues, timescales, and potential phasing requirements, you should consider:

  • Does it miss milestones?
  • Does it fall foul of typical tender instructions such as ‘client deliverables shall not be on the tender path’ (we can get you round that!).
  • Does it have so much float that you will never get an Extension of Time award?
  • Has it been resource levelled?
  • Has it been costed out so you can see impacts on cash flow?
  • Have you allowed for approvals, permits, design, procurement etc.?

How a claims consultant can help

The art of tender planning and programming has become a deliverable that is often not looked at until it’s too late, and this is where an experienced claims consultant can make a positive difference from the start by adopting a ‘prevention rather than cure’ approach (although we can also help when it’s reached the ‘cure’ stage as well).

At Tungsten Capital, we are often asked to provide planning support on tenders. That can range from being the short-term tender manager/planner/technical writers, all the way to following the detailed tender programme through to the project baseline programme. The result is that all your entitlements are preserved for when the expected delays manifest themselves.

While it is an extra cost upfront, having a professionally thought through tender programme is invaluable and will set a project off on the right track, reaping rewards both now and in the future.

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