Overview 概論

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  • 9/1/2022: Revised. Punctuation style changed.
  • 16/3/2020: Revised.
  • 20/12/2014: Moved from wiki.
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  • Quantity Surveyors play key roles in tender documentation.
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  1. “the Works” (with capitalized “W” and “s”) – the whole of all work items under a construction contract.
  2. work” – an item of work or service under a construction contract.
  3. “the Drawings” and “the Specification” (without “s”) are used in the usual Standard Forms of Contract.
  4. "Bills of Quantities" and "Schedule of Quantities and Rates" (previously "Schedule of Rates") are used in the Private Standard Forms of Contract.
  5. Ensure that the terms used must be consistent with those used in the chosen Form of Contract.
  6. See https://kctang.com.hk/web/common-errors-use-english for common errors in use of English.

(4 to 6 added, 9 Jan 2023)

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Purpose of tender documentation

  1. Convey clearly to the tenderers what are to be required to be done during tendering and after the award of the contract such that the awarded contract sum is sufficient for the Contractor to finish the job as expected without unexpected claims:
    • complete
    • free of ambiguity
    • free of discrepancy
    • full disclosure and warning of matters which may affect the prices and time.
  2. Provide for a full set of terms and conditions ready for turning into a contract without loose ends.
  3. Afford provisions to deal with changes.
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Tender Documents 招標文件

  1. Broader meaning:
    • The complete set of documents issued for tendering, including Tender Drawings.
  2. Narrower meaning:
    • Documents issued for tendering, other than Tender Drawings.
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Generic composition of Tender Documents 招標文件的基本組成部分

  1. Conditions of Tendering / Conditions of Tender / Instructions to Tenderers:
    投標條件 / 投標條件 / 投標須知:
    • Describe rules and procedures to be followed during tendering
    • Not supposed to govern the post contract matters
    • All procedures should have been completed by the time of counter-signing the letter of award
    • Not declared as part of the contract by the Private Standard Forms of Contract
    • Though usually bound into the Contract Documents as evidence of being part of the Tender Documents
    • Therefore, they should not contain clauses or have attachments which have post contract implications
    • Otherwise, the Conditions should be declared as forming part of the contract.
  2. Form of Tender:
    • For the Tenderer to state his offer 給投標者填寫他的建議
    • Offer price based on specified completion times
    • Offer price based on offered completion times
  3. Form of Contract:
    • Describe terms and conditions to be followed when performing the Contract
    • May refer to some Standard Forms of Contract, and not actually include a copy in the Tender Documents
    • Where a Standard Form of Contract is used, the Tender Documents should include any amendments or special conditions to the standard.
  4. Tender Drawings:
    • Show the location, disposition, design (shape, form, sizes, configuration, fixing) of the work and choice of materials and workmanship.
  5. Specification or Employer's Requirements or Brief:
    • Specify the work, materials, method, workmanship, submission, testing and inspection standards required for the work
    • May include a section on Preliminaries or General Requirements, and other sections on materials and workmanship, those other sections are collectively called "Technical Specification" "技術要求"
    • May refer to some Standard Specification, and have Particular Specifications to describe deviations from or supplements to the standard
    • May use a General Specification, and have Particular Specifications to describe deviations from or supplements to the general.
  6. Pricing Schedules:
    • For the Tenderer to give a detailed build-up of his tender sum in any of the following forms:
      • Bills of Quantities
      • Summary of Tender
      • Schedule of Rates or Schedule of Quantities and Rates
      • Schedule of Works
      • Quotation.

(revised, 9 Jan 2023)

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Tender Booklet

  1. It is better to call those parts of the Tender Documents excluding Tender Drawings as "Tender Booklet" because these documents are usually bound into a booklet.
  2. Tender Documents = Tender Booklet + Tender Drawings.
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Typical contents of Tender Booklet

  1. Conditions of Tendering / Conditions of Tender / Instructions to Tenderers.
  2. Form of Tender with various kinds of appendices.
  3. Appendices to the Form of Tender (if not included in or appended to the Specification or Preliminaries):
    • Pro-forma Surety Bond
    • Form of Warranty (for Sub-Contracts)
    • Statement of all convictions or no convictions under the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115) for last <> years
    • Statement of all convictions or no convictions under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59) for last <> years
    • Statement of all convictions or no convictions under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) for last <> years
    • Statement of involvement in arbitration or litigation in the last <> years or foreseeable in the next <> months
    • Declaration of no conflict of interests
    • Declaration of no collusion.
  4. Amendments to the Standard Form of Main Contract / Special Conditions of Contract.
  5. Amendments to the Standard Form of Sub-Contract / Special Conditions of Sub-Contract.
  6. Specification:
    • Preliminaries (if not included as Bill No. 1 in full)
    • Technical Specification:
      • General Specification
      • Particular Specifications
    • Technical Schedules.
  7. Preambles to Bills of Quantities (if not included as Bill No. 2).
  8. Bills of Quantities:
    • Bill No. 1 – Preliminaries (full descriptions or headings only)
    • Bill No. 2 – Preambles
    • Bill No. 3 onwards - Measured Works Sections
    • Prime Cost and Provisional Sums
    • Dayworks Schedule or Daywork Rates Schedule
    • General Summary.
  9. Schedule of Rates or Schedule of Quantities and Rates (if without Bills of Quantities).
  10. Summary of Tender (a term used by the Private Standard Form of Contract without Quantities before 2005).
  11. Schedule of Drawings.
  12. Appendices (references to these Appendices should be given in the appropriate parts of the Tender Documents):
    • Insurance policies taken out by the Employer
    • Property Management’s house-rules (if not already described in the Specification and Preliminaries)
    • Main Contractor’s house-rules (for Sub-Contract tendering).

(10 revised, 9 Jan 2023)

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Contract specific contractual provisions (other than the usual standard provisions)

  1. Names of the Employer and Consultants.
  2. Site locations, site restrictions, permissible working hours.
  3. Works outside site boundaries.
  4. Liability for ground conditions and underground obstructions.
  5. Scope of the Works, nominated sub-contracts and supply contracts, specialist domestic sub-contracts, previous contracts, concurrent contracts, works by public authorities, demarcation, relationship, co-ordination and attendance ("named sub-contracts" is a term used by a few developers' standard forms of contracts and therefore has no commonly adopted definition. It is intended to put more liability upon the Contractors but retain the right to choose the sub-contractors and fix their prices before naming to the Contractors.)
  6. Scope of contractors’ design, statutory submissions, maintenance and warranties.
  7. Time for possession, entry, commencement, completion; allowances for anticipated delays; criteria for certifying completion.
  8. Damages for delay; qualifications by sub-contractors on the level of damages.
  9. Defects liability period (Private Standard Forms of Contract); maintenance period (Government General Conditions of Contract).
  10. Form of Main Contract and Sub-Contracts to be used; special conditions.
  11. Excusable events (with extension of time) and compensable events (with financial compensation).
  12. Payment terms, advance payment, deposit payment, period of interim certificates, grace period for honouring payments, retention percentages, maximum retention, time to release retention.
  13. Drawings and Specification to be used.
  14. Pricing basis, with or without bills of quantities, lump sum or remeasurement.
  15. Any adjustments for cost fluctuations.
  16. Liability for insurance of the Works, third party, employees, construction plant and temporary buildings; limits of indemnity; levels of excesses / deductibles.
  17. Amount of surety bond.
  18. Phasing requirements and consequential effects on completion certificate, damages for delay, retention, defects liability, maintenance obligations, insurances, bond, etc.
  19. Specific requirements on hoardings, Employer’s site office.
  20. Responsibilities for source and consumption of temporary water, lighting and power.

(3 added, 5, 9 & 11 revised, 9 Jan 2023)

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Reading Drawings and Specification

  1. For tender pricing, both the Drawings and the Specification must be read together in order to measure the quantities and estimate the unit rates.
  2. For work on existing buildings, the Drawings may not be able to represent fully and accurately the dimensions on site and the Tender Documents usually require the Tenderers to price taking into account the site conditions.
  3. The existing site (and building) conditions may also cause difficulties and inconvenience to the carrying out of the Works requiring extra costs to overcome.
  4.  Therefore, the Drawings and the Specification must also be read in conjunction with the existing conditions on site to make allowance in the quantities and/or unit rates.
  5. Drawings usually contain a lot of specification notes. For submissions to the Building Authority, the Specification is not required, all the requirements will be written as notes on the BD Submission Drawings, which may be used as the Tender Drawings. Therefore, the specification notes are important and must be reflected fully and consistently when drafting the Preliminaries and measuring the Bills of Quantities or Schedule of Quantities and Rates.
  6. It is usually specified in the Tender Documents that the Drawings and the Specification are complementary to which other and shall be read as a whole. However, there can still be cases where there are irreconcilable discrepancies (i.e. contradictions) between them that their order of precedence (i.e. which overrides which, which takes precedence over which) would need to be known.
  7. In the Standard Form of Building Contract Private Edition Without Quantities before 2015, the Specification takes precedence over the Drawings (the With Quantities version does not mention the Specification, but some Consultants may add provision to mention it with similar precedence). However, the precedence has been reversed in the 2005 and 2006 Editions. Some Consultants reverse it back. Therefore, the order of precedence is not an industry standard and has to be determined according to the individual contract.
  8. Some people view that the Specification is usually a company standard that has been carefully written as such, while the specification notes and annotations on the Tender Drawings are rather casually written, therefore, the Specification should override the Tender Drawings.
  9. Some people view that the specification notes and annotations should reflect the latest minds and wishes of the Architects and Engineers in spite of the Specification which may not be updated (with or without Particular Specifications) readily, therefore, the Tender Drawings should override the Specification. Yet, it is also possible that the Specification is finalised only towards the completion of the Tender Drawings.
  10. In theory, the Architect and the Engineers should be asked about the precedence between the Tender Drawings and Specification prepared by them, but it may be possible that they may have different choices. Adoption of the order of precedence of the Standard Forms may be the default solution.
  11. Note however that if the detailed Preliminaries clauses are included as part of the Specification instead of part of the Bills of Quantities, declaring the Tender Drawings to override the Specification may have the unexpected effect of altering the meaning of the seriously drafted Preliminaries by the loosely written specification notes and annotations. Therefore, if the Tender Drawings should override the Specification, the precedence should be preferably stated as: Preliminaries --> Tender Drawings --> Particular Specifications --> General Specification. By this, the order of precedence used in the Private Standard Form of Contract without quantities is maintained but keeping the Preliminaries as the higher authority.

(5 and 7 revised, 8 to 11 added, 9 Jan 2023)

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Considerations when dealing with Drawings

  1. How detailed should the Tender Drawings be when the design is to be further developed by the Contractor? The significance of being too detailed or too vague.
  2. Distinguish between:
    • Drawings actually issued to tenderers
    • Drawings available for inspection
    • Standard Drawings
    • BQ (Taking-off) Drawings
    • Tender Drawings
    • Preliminary design drawings to be submitted by the tenderers
    • Contract Drawings
    • Shop Drawings
    • Installation Drawings
    • Field Drawings
    • Working Drawings / Construction Drawings
    • AI Drawings
    • As-built Drawings / Record Drawings.
  3. How to manage these drawings to avoid discrepancies.
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Usual deficiencies in tender documentation

  1. Incomplete design.
  2. Inconsistent terminology.
  3. Discrepancies.
  4. Conflicts.
  5. Imprecise descriptions.
  6. Errors and omissions.
  7. Too complicated specifications.
  8. Not procurable.
  9. Outdated provisions.
  10. Insufficient ground investigation.
  11. Government approval and consent not in time.
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Usual deficiencies in Tender Drawings generally

  1. Insufficient drawings.
  2. Insufficient details.
  3. Insufficient dimensions.
  4. Terms used on drawings not matching specifications.
  5. Specifying proprietary brand names and model numbers without the client's consent.
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Usual deficiencies in Tender Drawings for alteration and addition works

  1. Consultants focusing on beautiful perspective only to obtain client's consent.
  2. Existing site and building's BD drawings not retrieved for use.
  3. Existing site and building's BD drawings issued for use not of the original scale (usually reduced).
  4. Existing site and building's BD drawings in imperial units.
  5. Existing site and building's BD drawings blurred because of scanning.
  6. Actual site construction deviating from the approved BD drawings.
  7. Extent and boundary of work items not sufficiently marked on drawings.
  8. No plumbing and drainage drawings prepared, only relying on marking on site photos or retrieved BD submission drawings.
  9. No design details.
  10. Details without dimensions.
  11. Terms used on drawings not matching specifications.
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Usual deficiencies in Specification

  1. Terms used not consistent with those used in the Conditions of Contract, e.g. Architect vs Supervising Officer vs Contract Administrator, Main Contractor vs Contractor vs Sub-Contractor, Practical Completion vs Substantial Completion, Certificate of Completion of Making Good Defects vs Defects Rectification Certificate.
  2. Job and contract title not matching the rest of the Tender Documents.
  3. Page header and footing not coordinated with the rest of the Tender Documents. 
  4. Provisions in the Particular Specification not coordinated with the provisions in the General Specification
  5. Repeating but inconsistent provisions in different parts of the specifications.
  6. Insufficient provisions or overly huge specifications.
  7. Provisions not tailored to suit the project.
  8. Provided very late.

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