Terren provides ready-to-build Architectural plans. The time between when you pay for your deposit till the time you have plans that are ready to be sent out for tender is remarkably short – just three weeks on average. As such our clients are using this short amount of time to get ready for tendering.
We have written this series of tendering articles to help you get ready for tendering in an honest, organised and professional way. This article is the first in the series. Our next is about how many builders to include in your tender. This one is aimed to act almost as a cheat sheet or overview to get you and your project into the right space prior to tendering.
1. What documents should you have ready to provide to tendering builders?
The short answer is you want to provide as much information as possible for your tendering builders to be able to give you the most complete picture of what your build is going to cost. They will need; full working drawings and elevations, structural engineering drawings, thermal assessments and a specifications schedule. If your project requires town planning or has special conditions attached to it you should also provide copies of you Town Planning Permits. Terren clients, will of course have all of these documents (and more) ready to provide to tendering builders.
2. What to ask each builder before you ask them to tender:
a.) Ask about their ability and capacity to deliver your project in the timeframes you are hoping for? When would they be able to start construction? If they cannot answer the timeframe question right away – then it’s important to ask them to provide this as part of their tender.
b.) Ask about their current workload. No work isn’t a good sign and too much is not great either.
c.) Ask if they have completed similar work and try and get a sense of how those projects turned out? (The more recently the better)
d.) This is key – ask if they have references they can provide if they are selected.
Rod Seidner (our Build partner) told us that he always tells potential clients, “if we are selected, I will show you around the following homes that we have completed.”
e.) Ask if there are any risks on the project that they can foresee?
3. How to set up your tender parameters so that you can compare apples with apples:
Every builder quotes differently. They all have different inclusions, exclusions, styles of quotes and break downs that they typically provide. This can make it tricky for the uninitiated to compare quotes. In order to prevent this, we suggest that prior to the commencement of the tender you should provide a clear list of trades, otherwise known as a trade breakdown, to all the builders who are tendering. This way, each builder needs to provide the same information and figures can be compared against one or another. It will assist in identifying inconsistencies or omissions from tenders.
To help you on your way – here is a trade breakdown format that you can send to each builder. Download it here.
4. Provide adequate and realistic warning of your tender timeframe.
a.) Tell them when you expect the tender to start. If, for example, you have just signed your Terren contract and you know you should expect your plans in three weeks’ time – tell the builders this so that they can be ready to start.
b.) Give them as much warning as possible of the date in which you expect all tender submissions to be completed. This will typically be 4 weeks after you provide your documents.
5. Honesty is key and interviewing builders is a two-way street.
Start this relationship as you mean to continue. There is simply no point lying to those you are asking to tender. Be honest about how many builders are included in the tender. (our next article will help you determine how many that should be). Be honest and clear about your budget and what that should and should not include. For example – are you expecting a turnkey solution including demolition and landscaping or are there elements you would prefer to handle yourself and the builder need not quote on. Also be honest about your timeframe – no one wants to complete your project in a timelier manner than your builder – that’s how they get paid – but there is no point in them providing a quote based on an unrealistic timeline.
The builder will/should also ask YOU questions to assess if your project is the right fit for them. The more professional and honest you act, the more likely they are to want to work with you enough to put the enormous effort required into providing you with a realistic and forthright tender.