The first 6 steps in developing a tender program

Tender Bid Documents

As part any tender bid, tenderers are required to submit a program of how they intend to achieve practical completion.

And during the assessment of the tender submissions, methodology and program can account for as much as 50% of the overall evaluation scoring system. So, it’s very important to develop good tender programs.

Let’s look at how we develop a tender program based on the tender documentations provided, this include drawings and specifications.

These are some the steps that any planner would follow:

Step 1: Kickoff Tender Meeting

At this meeting all interested parties are briefed about the tender deliverables, the direction the bid team would take and the stakeholder requirements.

Tender kick off meeting

Step 2: Understanding of the Tender Documents.

The tender document gives a detailed explanation of the deadlines, requirements, necessary information and criteria. The following documents would be included as part of the “Request For Tender (RFT)”; the terms and conditions of the contract, a bill of quantities, the specifications, designs/drawings and/or plans, the quality requirements, and the evaluation criteria.

Step 3 Tender Program/schedule strategy

Now that we understand what is required, planners need to develop the first draft of tender program/schedule. Now this where it gets interesting for the planner.

Now days tender requests have a construction start date and finish date. Therefore planners need to develop the require program(s) with these timeframes in mind.

Depending on the skill of the planner, one would have to decide on the strategy to follow. What I mean by that is some planners would develop their program by implementing finish constraints as per the tender documents. Or other would develop their programs without imposing any constraints and develop programs and strategize later on based on where the program end date would lie.

Step 4: Program/schedule Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

We all know what a WBS is and its importance when developing construction programs/schedules. Therefore we don’t need discuss further about WBS.

But yes we need to first develop the project WBS after understanding the tender project requirements. An example of a project WBS level 2 is as follow:

  • Contract Milestones
  • Project Milestones
  • Approvals & Permits
  • Design
  • Procurement
  • Mobilization
  • Construction
  • Commissioning
  • Demobilization

A further WBS from this WBS level 2 (We will discuss the various WBS levels in another article) will be develop and depending on the complexity of the project, more work breakdown should be develop for clarity.

Step 5: Sequence of Work/Deliverables

On a typical construction project involving for example a new building structure in a green field site, and after site establishment we would have this type of the next WBS level in the construction WBS(which is not exclusive);

  1. Civil Works
  2. Structure works
  3. External and Internal finishes
  4. Fit out works


Step 6: Detailed Schedule & Timeframes

Now it’s time to estimate how long it will take to complete each activity under each created WBS. To do this we need to complete the following:

  1. Determine the list of activities in the order the tasks would be completed.
  2. Identify resources for each task, and their productivity rates if known.
  3. This will allow to estimate the duration it will take to complete each activity.
  4. If you project require you to estimate cost of each activity, using an average hourly rate for each resource. You can do that too. N alternative would be to resource load the activities based on the estimated cost provided by the estimator.
  5. Consider all project constraints, or how much time each resource can realistically devoted to this project.
  6. Establish activities dependency to each other and the type of relationships (Finish to start (FS), start to start (SS), finish to finish (FF) and start to finish (SF) lead and lag times. When complete you will have developed a critical path.
  7. All activity durations should be based on project calendars. It shows by chosen time period (week, month, quarter, or year) which resource is doing which tasks, how much time they are expected to spend on each task, and when each task is scheduled to begin and end.
  8. Develop the cost baseline if required), which is a time-phased budget, or cost by time period.

This process is not a one-time effort. Throughout the tender time period you will most likely be adding to repeating some or all of these steps.

Now that we have completed the tender program/schedule for the submission, it’s time to write the construction methodology report that would go with the submission so that the stakeholders would understand how we intend to deliver the project.
This is the subject of another article.

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