New electronic service is designed to replace traditional paper-based tendering

The RICS has officially launched its new eTendering service.

Construction minister Stephen Timms who attended the event at the RICS headquarters yesterday voiced his support for a procurement system, saying it "needs to be more efficient and lean".

He said: "Procurement in construction needs to be more lean and more efficient, and we need to find ways of reducing waste in procurement for both purchasers and suppliers throughout the supply chain, at the tendering stage and beyond."

BCIS executive director Joe Martin was among keynote speakers on the day.

Designed as a cost-effective replacement for traditional paper-based tendering, the system allows the complete tendering procedure, from advertising through to placing the contract, to be carried out via a secure web portal.

This includes the exchange of all documents in electronic format and the ability to create a comprehensive audit trail.

Cost has been one of the main barriers to the take up of e-tendering. To overcome this the RICS online system will be made available on pay per tender basis. There are no subscription fees and buyers will pay a one off £500 sum to register each tender. Contractors and suppliers can then use the system for free.

Andrew Thompson, general manager of Building Cost Information Service, said: "It’s a method of exchange of documents and information that will drag tendering practices into the 21st Century and is intrinsically more efficient than current methods."

The system has already been trialled by consultants Gleeds and Davis Langdon and was used by CB Richard Ellis in the tendering for the refurbishment of the RICS headquarters building.