50 Nota Benes in Tender and Contract Documentation

Presented by Mr. K C Tang at One Day Seminar on Contract Management 2012 on 3rd March, 2012


1. Identify the ultimate purposes of preparing tender documents and serve the purposes

2. Comply with client’s procedures

3. Determine appropriate tender packages and tendering programme

4. Choose appropriate contractual arrangement and understand their different implications

5. Observe confidentiality

6. Avoid and declare conflict of interest

7. Ensure fair competition

8. Do not trust computer (… user)

Documentation generally

9. Identify which standard documents and templates to use

10. Ensure adequate representation

11. Avoid ambiguities, discrepancies, inconsistent terminology, etc.

12. Avoid repetition of same provisions at different parts of documents

13. Check correct page headers, footers, covers, contents, page numbers, item references, etc., correct use of units, correct cross referencing of document, page and clause numbers

Tender documentation

14. State deviations from standard form of contract, standard specification, standard method of measurement, etc.

15. Notify Client of important features and seek approvals

16. Allocate risks appropriately

17. Watch out that harsh terms may not be workable

18. Check specified brands and models are still in production

19. Be specific as to which one to choose out of the different choices available from the standard

20. Define possession, commencement and completion times and phases properly

21. Estimate genuinely the rates of liquidated damages for delay

22. Specify procurable types of bonds and set affordable level of bond amounts

23. Set procurable levels of insurance excesses

24. Check descriptions of Bills of Quantities or Schedule of Rates sufficiently cover and match with requirements on Specification and Drawings

25. Divide into smaller items for pricing if a bigger item is likely to be partially varied

26. Avoid small provisional quantities

27. Ensure that prime cost rates are set at appropriate levels

28. Ensure that the correct Prime Cost and Provisional Sums are carried forward to the Summary

29. Specify as optional if firm quantity items are likely to be omitted or added


30. Choose suitable tenderers

31. Give sufficient time for tendering

32. Give common answers to queries raised by one to all tenderers

33. Disregard late tenders

Tender analysis

34. Check sufficiency of tender submissions

35. Check arithmetic

36. Review qualifications

37. Check compatibility of submitted programmes with specified requirements

38. Check suitability of specifically stated delivery and installation periods

39. Rationalize incorrectly high or low rates

40. Watch out rates for items with small quantities, and watch out rates for dayworks and mark-ups

41. Watch out uninvited changes to tender sums or rates and prices, and post tender exclusions

Contract award

42. Award to tenders financially and technically capable

43. Award within the tender validity period

44. Choose properly between letter of intent and letter of acceptance

45. Ask for signed Form of Warranty before accepting a sub-contract tender

46. Specify how discounts should be applied, and ensure discounted all-in rates not lower than prime cost rates

47. List out documents to form the Contract Documents

48. Ask for counter-signature

49. Sign formal contract documents before things go sour

50. Note that there are actually more than 50 Nota Benes