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Basic things you should know about tender documents – Part 01


It refers to the submission given as a reply for an invitation by a potential contractor or vendor. It gives an offer to obtain services or goods. Although there are many tendering activities, in construction tendering mainly focus on the selection of constructor for a given project. As a Quantity Surveyor, you should understand all aspects of it whether you are working with contractor or consultant. Therefore, this article focus on tender documents which are commonly used in construction industry.

Tender Documents

  • Instruction to bidders
  • Bidding data
  • Conditions of contract
  • Contract data
  • Standard forms
  • Specifications
  • Forms of bid
  • Bills of Quantities
  • Schedules
  • Drawings
  • Standard forms (BID)


Instruction to bidders

By referring this a bidder can conduct a self-evaluation about themselves on the eligibility criteria. It gives a complete picture about the procedures to be followed in particular project starting from preparation bid to award of contract. In other words, it illustrates all activities till the finalization of the bidder to a project. For example, a bidder can decide that going for the tender submission will be worth or not. In an instruction to bidders below information shall be available.

  • Language of bid
  • Eligibility and qualification of the bidders
  • Rules related to joint ventures
  • Bid validity & Bid security
  • Pre-bid meetings & site visits
  • Bid finalization procedures


Bidding data

Employer shall provide necessary information before issuing tender documents to bidders. If any discrepancies with instruction to bidders, bidding data shall supersede. The following information shall be found in a bidding data.

  • Employer’s name & address
  • Scope of works
  • Time for completion
  • Qualification information & required registration
  • Essential equipment requirement
  • Bid validity & bid security


Conditions of Contract

It refers to procedures to be followed throughout contract by all the stakeholders involved in a construction project. Usage of conditions of contract is vital for smooth movement of activities. Depends on the complexity of project and locations of projects, there are several condition s of contracts have been used. They are published by various professionals bodies like as FIDIC (Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs – Conseils), and CIDA (Construction Industry Development Authority). Depth understand of conditions of contract is necessary to the successful management of construction project. Responsibilities and commitments to be undertaken are notified in a detail manner. The following information shall be found in conditions of contract.

  • Roles and powers of parties (Engineer/Employer/Contractor)
  • Delays and commencements
  • Variations and adjustments
  • Contract price & payments
  • Measurements & Termination
  • Claims
  • Disputes and arbitration

Conditions of contract shall be explained in a separate article in future. For example clause by clause analysis.


Contract Data

It is about referring the conditions of contract and adding or modifying specific terms related to the particular project. In other words, although conditions of contract are being very useful for the management of project, at occasions it may be irrelevant for specific project. If any discrepancies with conditions of contract, contract data shall supersede. The following example shall clarify this in detail by using CIDA/SBD/02.

SBD/02/Clause 2.1

SBD/02/Clause 2.1

SBD/02/Clause 2.1

Although it is stated that contractor can access to the site within 14 days from LOA received, but if employer wishes to reduce to 7 days it can be done through contract data.

Standard forms

Forms are used in construction industry at the awarding stage to avoid disputes and maintain uniformity amongst project.  In other words it confirms that every stakeholder in the contract is being committed fully and risk has been shared. The following standard forms are available generally in construction contracts.

  • Letter of acceptance
  • Agreement
  • Performance security – Insuring a client against the risk of contractor failing to fulfill contractual obligations
  • Advance payment security – To secure the advance payment given to contractor against default by the contractor
  • Retention money guarantee

Note: other elements of tender documents shall be explained in next article.

Written by Gowrinath.S  ©