If you are planning a home building or renovation project, one of the most crucial stages is putting together a well-researched tender pack. A good tender document will mean that your project will attract reliable and competitive quotes from the most suitable contractors for the work that you want carried out. Here are the main points to bear in mind.


What a tender pack should contain

There are some non-negotiables, starting with the planning drawings which detail the floor plan, site plan, and elevations. The Building Regulations notes should also be included, which set out the standards and specifications required. The building control drawings will usually include the architect’s engineering calculations.

The specification should also include a timeframe in which the works are to be carried out, and any restrictions on working days/times, if relevant. Any other planning permission and legislative requirements should also be included, and if there is anything significant in the soil report, for example drainage considerations, this needs to be added.

The schedule of works needs to encompass every stage of the project, from site prep to the final interior and exterior fittings and finishes. If there are some exact details about the later stages of the project to be decided on, you can pencil these in as a provisional sum. The final cost framework needs to be clearly set out however.


How to select a building firm

Write an invitation letter to set out your intended timeline and process, and bear in mind that the builder will need to see that the project will be economically viable for them, and not just you. In other words, they need to make sure they are renumerated for their labour in line with the going market rates, so research what these are in your area.

The more thorough you are in preparing your tender, the more chance you will have of attracting reputable builders who will carry out the work at a fair price. Choose between four and six construction firms to approach in the first instance.

Research their reputation carefully, through online reviews, viewing examples of their past work, and word of mouth from family, friends, and neighbours if you are able to. However, a newer builder who is perfectly competent but has not had a chance to create a portfolio of past clients may be just as good, so keep an open mind.

Allow a reasonable timeframe for firms to respond to your tender invitation, to take into account the level of detail involved. Encouraging a rushed and speedy response may be counterproductive, as you will probably end up with a lot of back-and-to confirming further details.

Before making your final decision, you should ask for evidence that the builder has all the relevant insurance documents, verified references, and discloses details of any part of the tender that is excluded or will be subcontracted. In busy periods, some builders may change their mind at a later date, so don’t narrow down your shortlist too early.


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