Origin of the term. 

Dictionaries explain the etymology as coming from Old French ,tendre, which means “to offer"

Brook (1997) defines Tender as “A sum of money, time and other conditions required by a tenderer to complete the specific construction work”. 

Invitation to Tender ITToften called Tender for short (also known as a call for bids, call for tenders) is a special procedure of submitting a proposal to undertake, or manage the undertaking of a construction project. The process starts with a cost estimate from blueprints and material take offs.

A typical set of documents prepared for tendering will include the following: 

Step 1. Instructions to tenderers. These tell the contractor where and when he must deliver his tender and what matters he must fill in to provide information on guarantees, bond, proposed methods for construction, etc. The instructions may also inform him of items which will be supplied by the employer, and sources of materials he should use (e.g. source of filling for earthworks construction, etc.).

Step 2. General and particular conditions of contract. The general conditions of contract may comprise any of the ‘standard’ forms of contract. The particular conditions adopted may contain amendments or additions that the employer wishes to make to the standard conditions. 

Step 3. The specification. This describes in words the works required, the quality of materials and workmanship to be used, and methods of testing to be adopted to ensure compliance.

Step 4. Bill of quantities or schedule of prices. A bill of quantities shows the number or quantity of each item and its unit of measure, the rate per unit of quantity quoted by the tenderer, and the consequent total price for that item.

Step 5. Tender and appendices. The tender sets out the formal wording which comprises the tenderer’s offer to undertake the contract, the tenderer having to enter the sum price he offers.

The appendices to tender will contain other matters defining the contract terms and which the tenderer confirms he accepts in making his offer, such as time for completion of the works, damages for failure to complete on time, minimum amount of insurances, completion of bond, etc.There may be other matters concerning the basis of his offer he is required to supply, such as currency exchange rates (for international contracts) or sources of materials.

Step 6. The contract drawings. These should provide as complete a picture as possible of all the works to be built. The more complete the contract drawings are, the more accurately the contractor can price the work, and the less likelihood there is that variations and extra payments will be necessary. 

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