The Tender Process – a guide for clients

At the very early stages of your building project, your first task is the appointment of an architect to assess the feasibility of the land and to draw up the plans for your house. At this stage, a structural engineer may also be involved to ensure that the build will be structurally sound and can, quite literally, take the weight of the design.

Once your plans are drawn up, you can issue an Invitation to Tender. This is a fair process used to decide which builder or contractor you will employ to carry out the work.

Invitation to Tender

This is a pack of information that is collated and sent out from you, the client, via the appointed architect (who is ultimately the overseer of the project). The Invitation to Tender will contain the architect’s drawings, along with other essential information such as pre-construction notifications, the form of contract and a letter to invite the contractor to tender for the work. This pack will contain all the information required for the contractor to decide whether to accept the invitation to tender for the project. Invitations to Tender are sent to contractors at the same time and have a strict return deadline. 

Some clients will be advised to use pre-qualification questionnaires which should be completed before the Invitation to Tender is released, or to have pre-tender interviews with potential contractors. This ensures that only those suitable for the works will be invited to tender.

Mid-tender interviews sometimes take place to provide clarification to both clients and suppliers. This avoids submission of inaccurate tenders and can save time and money further down the line as once the contract has been signed, changes made will naturally involve additional estimates and could also result in changes to the architect’s drawings. Additional information or changes to the tender documents must be shared amongst all prospective suppliers to ensure a fair tendering process. 

Submission of Tenders

If a contractor or supplier wishes to tender for the work, they will prepare and submit their tender by the deadline. This will include their price for carrying out the works and details on how they will meet the client’s requirements. Usually tenders will include:

  • A Tender return form
  • A Tender pricing document
  • A schedule of rates that details additional services that allow the project to be carried out
  • An Initial Construction Phase Plan (CCP)
  • Design solutions 
  • A programme of works
  • Project management procedures
  • Project management structure for the project
  • Evidence of capability
  • Details of the plant labour resources, including sub-contractors
  • Eligibility for the project: previous experience and references


Tender Negotiations

With all tenders returned, you can then decide which builder or contractor you would like to select for the project. Sometimes there will be more than one in contention for the job, and so at this point you may enter into negotiations with the supplier to discuss specific elements of the agreement before making the final decision and signing the contract. One of your requests might be to revise a certain part of the tender, or to include a clause or additional detail. 

It is strongly advised to gain as much clarification as possible at this point, and to give as much detail as you can, to ensure a smoother execution of the specification and to prevent additional delays or costs further down the line.


Contract Engrossment and Execution

The final stage before the project start date can be agreed is the finalising of the contract, known as contract engrossment. As with all contracts, this is a legally binding document put in place to support both parties. The contract will include additional information, schedules and appendices that pertain to the specifics of the project. Depending on the nature of the project, the signing of the contract may be witnessed and will later become a deed connected with the property. 

For most general estimate requests, we normally allow a four week period to visit the property and to return the specification and price. However, this can sometimes take a little longer depending on the level of enquiries we have at any particular time.

Contact Us


2 Park Road
CT21 6DH

01303 266235