Bidders Trust Bid Documents for Take-off

Estimating quantities from a set of plans prepared by another architect reminds me that bidders are likely to rely on the accuracy of the drawings when preparing a take-off for a bid. If the drawings are inconsistent or include discrepancies, those are likely to affect the bids, and they may lead to claims of extra cost during construction, if the successful bidder determines that actual construction of the design requires more material (and related labor) than the drawings clearly indicated. The claims may be disputed as unreasonable based on a documented requirement for the bidder to consider the greatest quantity in the event of a discrepancy, but the limit of practicality may be exceeded where determination of actual quantity for bids would require exhaustive review and computation based on various plans and details. Bid preparation is typically limited to a short period of time due to a combination of the scheduled bid period and bidder attention. This is stated not for the purpose of blaming either the designer or the bidder but instead to suggest that accuracy in bid documents should be optimized in order to obtain accurate bids and to minimize discrepancies and the related disputes. There is an old saying that close bids are an indication of tight documents, meaning that the bidders all saw and bid the same scope. Of course, experience also shows that bids vary for reasons that have nothing to do with the bid documents, but that does not detract from the advantages of well coordinated bid documents.

Posted in Construction Documents, Design, Practice Management, Project Management

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