Published: 2015-10-30


Some Advice for Members to Consider when Submitting Tenders

 Recent experience indicates that even large corporate members with long experience sometimes overlook some of the Essentials.

The following advice is offered:

The full tender documents should be examined. The issuing party should include a comprehensive list of contents, including page and drawing numbers. There should be no un-numbered pages or drawings. If such list is not supplied one should be compiled and submitted as confirmation of what the tender will be based on.


Ascertaining the applicable standard conditions of contract, and what amendments apply, will be a first and important step. Amendments can be scattered in various, sometimes unsuitable, documents, except under JBC C2014.

Note that under standard JBCC 2014 terms all amendments to standard terms (see CD page 10) not included in the CD itself, or in a single referenced annexure, are null and void. This hasn’t stopped ASAQS issuing a standard Preliminaries Bill containing amendments to the standard JBCC terms, which amendments, according to page 10 of the CD are null and void!

This standard preliminaries bill has other ill-advised provisions


It is important to attend site inspections, and that the person attending knows what to look for and ask about. Pertinent information arising should be confirmed in writing.


Someone in the tenderers office with suitable experience should go through all the tender documents and note aspects of importance, including amendments to standard terms. Of course the required submission date should be noted and planned for.


A copy must be retained of the complete tender as submitted, and kept in safe keeping, not used as a working document.

 If the tender refers to documents intended to form part of an award as being “available for inspection”, this should be queried and a copy requested. It is not possible to retain knowledge of the contents from a visual inspection. Many serious losses have been incurred by not having a copy. Often at a later date onerous terms, which the tenderers doesn’t know whether or not are later accurately portrayed, are imposed.


Under JBCC (any edition) it is not permitted to include work in the priced document as to be designed by the contractor (or a domestic subcontractor). Design responsibility for any part of the permanent works can fall on a nominated or selected subcontractor, but not on the contractor.


Except for the simplest projects, preparation of a programme by a person skilled and experienced in programming, is essential to ensure that the required work can be executed in the required time


Pricing should never be entrusted to an outside service. Most are inadequately experienced and skilled. They will not accept responsibility when their pricing proves to be inadequate. 


CIDB registration of the required grade must be checked.


Whilst qualifications are not often successful, it is better to qualify than to obtain an award under conditions that will result in a loss.


Risk assessment is necessary. This applies to both aspects of the required work and to payment. Those that are likely to default on payment are those that will always state that there will be no payment guarantee. See 10 above. Contractors tendering under JBCC 2014 should particularly note the requirement for and maximum period allowed to defer payment to subcontractors if the employer defaults on payment


Pay when pay provisions may deal with the problem at present, but can be excluded from nominated and selected subcontracts, and are likely to be outlawed by CIDB Regulations in the near future.


Public opening is much to be preferred, but even under common law the employer is not required to accept the lowest or any tender. In the public sector the tenderer scoring the highest points, on the prescribed system, is to be awarded the contract, unless there is objective reason not to. But what is an objective reason? There have been many answers to that question.


Finally at this time (but there are other considerations) it is important not only to submit your tender timeously, but also in compliance with requirements given in the tender document, including submission of required documentation.

Jim Garner

November 2015

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