How much information is necessary to produce a tender?

Rudi Klein poses this question in Building (11 December, page 51). Much of the information produced by the designer is irrelevant, causing unnecessary expense to the tenderer.

Architects are required under the standard forms of engagement to produce information sufficient to produce a tender. Assuming the scheme to be fully designed at tender stage, I would expect my architect to produce fully developed details from which the building is to be constructed. Indeed, this expectation is normally realised when the tender drawings also comprise the first construction issue. So, even if the architect was willing to issue only the information necessary for tendering, how would he know what he could safely omit, not knowing what information each tenderer considered necessary?

There is a simple answer: a bill of quantities produced as a part of the tender package. Then the tenderer’s bid is produced solely on the bill content. He is not responsible for any information that appears on the drawings, whether included in the bill or not. Thus the status of any drawings seen by the tenderer is only a guide to the logistics of the scheme – complexity, buildability and so on.

However, we are told that bills are no longer in fashion. So tenderers have to produce their own bills (there is no other way for a scheme of any complexity). How long will it be before all the tenderers join in appointing a QS to produce just one bill on which they can all tender? And will the Office of Fair Trading then seek to fine them all for colluding against the client?

It would be interesting to hear Rudi Klein’s views on these questions.

Malcolm Taylor