Insider tips when soliciting proposals for your commercial construction project

When you solicit proposals for your commercial construction project, you want to make sure you find the best team for the right price to deliver your project on time and on budget. It can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Here are some tips—some basic, some insider—that you can use when going to bid.

Conventional Wisdom: Pull together the project requirements. This may include blueprints and/or specifications but should include all relevant details for the entire scope of work for your project.

Insider Tip: It is not uncommon under traditional forms of project delivery that the information provided isn’t sufficient to bid and build the project. When this happens, disputes, claims and change orders are often the result, with the owner caught in the middle of the finger-pointing between the designer and the contractor. With one design-build entity, the roles of designer and constructor are integrated. United from the onset of the project, an integrated team readily works to successfully complete a project faster, more cost effectively and with optimized project quality.

Conventional Wisdom: Solicit bids. In general, bidders get about two weeks to submit their paperwork.

Insider Tip: Know that contractors, and subcontractors, these days are in high demand, and can be backlogged for months, even for over a year. Consider partnering with a contractor early in the process, rather than going to bid. Your contractor can provide advance notice of your project opportunity to their network of local and regional vendors so that your project is added to their respective schedules. Bonus insider tip: use your contractor to identify optimum times for vendor bidding so you can capture vendors’ attention when they are searching for new work, as well as identify local ordinances that limit seasonal timeframes for construction activities.

Conventional Wisdom: Review the bids and award the contract. Traditionally, the standard for choosing a bidder is based on who comes in lowest and best. But you’ll want to examine bids carefully, and look out for those that come in much lower than the others. This could signify miscalculation, incomplete bids, or a contractor who plans to cut corners and make up the difference with costly change orders down the road.

Insider Tip: Think outside the bid box. The traditional method of bidding commercial construction projects may not net you the cheapest price in the long run. Sounds crazy, right? The truth is the traditional design-bid-build “low bidder” delivery can result in disputes, claims and change orders that impact your budget and timeline. With a design-build project delivery, the contractor provides input during the design phase, provides a guaranteed price and will take responsibility to ensure your project is on budget and on schedule.

Selecting the Right Team for Your Commercial Construction Project

When you’re ready to take the next step toward breaking ground on a new commercial construction project, remember that the process should be fulfilling, and to that end, finding the right partner for the job is essential. Settling for the “low bidder” during the bidding process could spell trouble down the road. Instead, select a team that has your best interests in mind.