Given the uncertainty in the construction industry because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many owners are looking for innovative ways to keep capital projects moving forward.

Planning is a vital phase of a project’s overall success – including the development of clear, detailed and accurate bid documents. Projects and their bid documents are growing in complexity and are often produced under significant time pressures, without adequate time for design coordination or quality management. As a result, owners may incur costs in the form of change orders that could have been avoided had the bid documents been reviewed more carefully.

What is a Bid Document Review?

Bid Document Review™ is a vital tool that provides a methodological and structured review of bid documents by experienced construction professionals. Its purpose is to identify ambiguities, inconsistencies, conflicts, missing information, and constructability problems within bid documents. The review process ranges from three to six weeks depending on project size and complexity. Owners are then provided with a clear final report that enables their design team to modify the documents prior to tendering – potentially saving considerable cost, schedule delays and a lot of unnecessary frustration.

Bid Document Review can be compared to the proofreading phase of a college or university-level essay. In juggling multiple assignment deadlines and feeling the pressure to complete them all on time, it can be tempting to skip that last proofread. However, a thorough and independent proofread allows you to catch errors that you may have missed otherwise, such as the discussion of a vital theme, prescriptive formatting, or places where you didn’t convey your thoughts clearly. By engaging an independent resource to complete the final proofread, areas of the essay that are unclear but difficult for you to pinpoint can be easily identified by a proofreader with the right experience and expertise. If left unchecked, these errors could result in a less than desired mark and might even require additional work, which would add to your workload and drag out the length of the initial assignment. Similarly, a Bid Document Review identifies possible lack of clarity in bid documents that can result in costly changes or delays on a construction site.

Modern projects require multi-discipline and increasingly complex documents that are often produced under considerable time pressure. Moreover, bid documents are often lengthy and include multiple drawings and cross-references to other documents in the bid package. When working with multidisciplinary groups, it can be challenging to clearly translate all of the requirements into a cohesive set of bid documents. Often, bid documents lack all the required information for soliciting biddings – they can also be confusing and contain ambiguities.

It’s important to note that a Bid Document Review is not intended to be a criticism of the design team. Reviews are conducted with respect for the expertise of the consultant and to provide a fresh set of eyes on bid documents that are deemed tender-ready. A Bid Document Review is a technical service that is also distinct from peer reviews, design reviews and code reviews and is not meant to provide an assessment of whether a design will fulfill its stated program of work.

Benefits to Owners

As an owner or consultant, you may be wondering – why now? What is the benefit of initiating a Bid Document Review during a pandemic?

Simply put, there is an opportunity to take advantage of the pause COVID-19 may have created in your tendering process to thoroughly review your tender-ready documents.

A Bid Document Review can help owners:

  • proactively identify issues prior to awarding a contract, ensuring more effective risk mitigation;
  • decrease the number of change orders during construction, as well as the associated schedule and budget impacts; and
  • provide contractors with a higher level of clarity and completeness, resulting in positive effects on both schedule and budget.

Increased Performance and Innovative Project Planning

By taking the opportunity to enhance the quality and reliability of bid documents now, owners can measurably improve project performance, and ultimately reduce unnecessary or unexpected project delays. Infrastructure projects and construction will play an important role in re-stimulating our economy in the months to come. By implementing the added layer of assurance a Bid Document Review can provide, owners will be in a better position to procure projects quickly and get them constructed efficiently, while meeting defined budget and schedule objectives.

About the author

Mike Sazynski is the Vice President of Saskatchewan with Colliers Project Leaders, Canada’s leading building and infrastructure project delivery solution provider.