Bidding on construction projects is becoming more competitive than ever. As a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, there are currently fewer building projects going out to tender. This means that more firms are bidding for less work. Industry data backs this up, with evidence suggesting an increase in the average size of tender panels.
This is especially worrying for building firms because bidding on construction projects is an expensive business – contractors spend roughly one-fifth of their operational turnover tendering for new work. With more competition and an expensive tender process, contractors and subcontractors need to increase their success rate when bidding on construction projects.
There is no single solution to increase your chances of winning a tender process. However, by investing in new technology, you can make your bid more attractive and stand out from the competition. Let’s see how.
The problems with traditional bidding on construction projects
The traditional approach to responding to tender packages in construction relies heavily on paperwork and manual, time-consuming processes. The current approach to responding to tenders has several drawbacks:
- Cost estimation relies on painstaking analysis of data drawn from multiple spreadsheets stored in your company’s servers
- Mistakes can easily be made on tender applications
- Project planning and scheduling is often based on best guesses and unclear information
- Compiling internal documentation (information on procurement procedures, cost management protocols or staff CV’s, for instance) is extremely time-consuming
- It’s difficult to stand out from the crowd when just using written text in presentations
Modernize your tender package
Construction firms are in something of an arms race when it comes to presenting the best bids. And this is why more companies are turning to sophisticated technologies in support of their applications. This means those who continue to use traditional bidding methods risk being left behind.
If you are not yet using more advanced technology to support your bidding on construction projects, the following list gives an overview of what’s available.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is increasingly seen as the standard for construction projects. In the UK it is also mandatory for any company that wishes to participate in the tender process for government contracts. By demonstrating that your design team has long-standing experience using 3D BIM, you will stand out from the crowd.
What is more, if you can deliver BIM models digitally to all contractors and subcontractors, they will all be able to see updates to the building model, reducing the risk of errors and mistakes. This will improve how your tender is perceived by the customer.
Tech overview: History of BIM adoption in the UK
Use Virtual Reality (VR)
A growing number of construction firms are using VR solutions as part of their tender package. For instance, VR flythroughs allow the customer to see how the building would look at different stages of the build. That will help them to visualise your proposed project plan.
Once again this is about creating a good impression when bidding on construction projects, and donning a VR headset can make for a very memorable sales pitch! It gives the owner confidence that your firm can deliver and understands the project’s requirements.
Cost estimation software
In the traditional tender process, construction firms would estimate how much the building will cost to complete by referring to past projects and drilling down into old spreadsheets and expense data. However, this is a time-consuming process, and it is also likely to be inaccurate – especially if you are bidding on an innovative project.
Cost estimation software is increasingly being used by contractors when they are bidding on construction projects. This technology can automatically bring together all of your past cost data then use smart algorithms which estimate realistic prices for different kinds of projects. That saves you a lot of time and effort when trying to cost a new project.
Better project management
All construction firms today use some form of project management software. However, this is often something that sits purely inside the project manager’s office and is sometimes very distant from what is actually happening on the building site.
A new generation of project management tools aligns much more closely with what’s actually happening on site. Mobile-based task management apps connect contractors and subcontractors to the project plan and instantaneously feed data about completed jobs into your ‘live’ schedule. By showing that you are using this kind of software, you can give the buyer greater confidence that you’ll be able to deliver on time and within budget.
Ability to produce more data and reports
Bidding on construction projects is all about developing trust and showing the buyer that you can deliver what they need. By using project management software that automatically compiles reports about progress and delivers this directly to the customer, you give them more confidence in your tender package.
Giving your customers more detailed information throughout the project means that they will have fewer worries on completion. For example, if you can automatically generate as-built drawings, this will mean that it is easier for them to sell the final product and support facilities management in future.
Innovate when bidding on construction projects
The tender process is more complex and competitive today than it has ever been. It is therefore valuable to consider how you can innovate with your approach to bidding on construction projects. Using smart technology not only makes your company stand out against your competitors, but it also means that you can be more productive and manage your costs more effectively.
PlanRadar is a construction management app that supports building firms to manage projects more efficiently. Users can easily generate reports, share BIM models with all subcontractors and improve communication and productivity on their sites. Contact us for a demo today to find out how PlanRadar can support you with bidding on construction projects.