Don’t Submit Your Construction Price (estimate/tender) Proposal Until You Get These Questions Answered On A Site Visit
Some contractors price projects, yet they’ve never seen the project site before submitting their proposal. This can be dangerous unless the RFP (Request for Proposal) document is very clear as to the specific site conditions, including the neighboring properties. I know it’s possible to view much data on the internet, including aerial views and even the underlying geology. However, to really get the full appreciation of potential problems nothing beats actually visiting and walking the project site before pricing the project – kicking the dirt and literally feeling the project conditions.
You don’t want to be awarded a project and the first day you arrive to find there’s a low level suspended power cable across the entrance road, or that the local authorities are digging up the road and access to the property is blocked, or the project site is steeply sloping, jammed in between neighbouring high-rise buildings and the site was an old landfill.
The project site conditions often dictate the construction methods and the types of equipment that can be used and it will determine the construction schedule.
Of course visiting the project site often also provides an opportunity to meet the client or their team. Meeting those involved with the project enables relationships to form and provides a sense of who they are and what’s important to them.
We once sent a young engineer to attend a site inspection. When we came to review our price we called the engineer in to explain to us what the site looked like. It was frustrating as they couldn’t provide any useful information about the site. I was quite annoyed, but in hindsight, we should have given them a better briefing and explained what to look for and note during the site visit.
When someone, other than the estimator, attends a site inspection, it’s important that they remember that they are acting as the eyes and ears of the person formulating the price and they need to note as much useful information about the project site and its immediate area as possible. The quality of the information provided could substantially influence the way the RFP is completed and may end up helping to win the project, or contribute to losing it. Potential problems which are missed during the site inspection could later be costly to the company because they weren’t taken into account when formulating the price or in preparing the construction schedule.
When inspecting a site it is important to remember that first impressions count. Clients won’t be impressed with contractors that are sloppily dressed, or that arrive late for the meeting. Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to be dressed in a suit either, in fact, suits can put some people off. Come prepared with a notebook, camera, and tape measure. Always ask permission before taking pictures. Some projects require personal protective equipment to be worn, so confirm what’s required before setting out for the meeting. Before visiting the project read through the pricing documents and information so there is an understanding of the project scope of work. Note questions to raise with the client and points to be specifically looked at on the visit.
During the visit note the following for us in your proposal:
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The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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