System was a 'bold' move to make electronic tendering free and available to all QSs

I would like to respond to the assertions that the RICS should not have ventured into the electronic tendering market.

If only the industry had embraced E-tendering. It was against a backdrop of apathy, naivety and confusion that the RICS produced a report which concluded that for E-tendering to take off across this diverse industry there was the need for a single system.

The report said it should not be owned by a commercially driven organisation and should deal properly with all facets of the tendering process, which was free for the tenderers to use and was adequately supported.

In addition it was clear that for E-tendering not to simply become the tool of the larger QS practices and clients. There was a need to offer a solution that could be purchased on a by tender basis at an acceptable rate.

The RICS was the obvious vehicle for such a move. It is independent - the institution whose members are responsible for the tendering process - and if any money is made from the system it would be ploughed back into the industry for its benefit.

The system chosen by the RICS deals with all of the requirements outlined above. It enables not only the secure transfer of documents - be they spreadsheets or text - but also the ability to enable unalterable on-line costing information to be passed between the tenderers and tenderees. Plus, it's a system that can control the entire tendering process not simply the passing of documents between parties.

So rather than a "flight of fantasy", this was a bold and brave move by the RICS to make a system available on a per tender basis. The belief was that the industry would take hold of this opportunity to move with the times and reap the benefits of the efficiencies and rigour that such systems bring.

I really do hope that the RICS survey shows that etendering is "well used". I fear this is not the case and as such we as an industry are again likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.