Chapter 3 Usual steps in a tender process

The steps set out below cover both government and private sector tendering, but government tendering is usually more complex and may include additional steps.

  • Define the scope of the supply and specify the principal’s requirements and objectives.
  • Prepare the tender documents on which tenders will be based, including the terms of contract.
  • Issue invitations to tender or advertise for tenders.
  • Supply potential tenderers with a copy of the tender documents and background information on the project and the site.
  • Hold meetings with potential tenderers to give background information or to inspect site locations.
  • Answer questions from potential tenderers and provide additional information, if requested.
  • Receive tender submissions for assessment by the principal.
  • Arrange presentations of the tender.
  • Clarify aspects of a tender. This may be a multi-stage process, culminating in the submission of a ‘best and final offer’ (BAFO) prior to the acceptance or selection of a tenderer.
  • Assess and evaluate tenders and select a tender for acceptance.
  • Issue a letter of acceptance or finalise and sign a contract with the successful tenderer.

Tender documents

These are documents prepared by the principal and made available to potential tenderers. Principals should identify which tender documents are intended to form part of the contract. Tender documents that usually form part of the contract are the conditions of contract, specifications, drawings and other documents that set out or explain the scope of the supply.

One of the tender documents will be the conditions of tender. These conditions allow the principal to specify:

  • what a tenderer has to do to make its tender valid for assessment (known as a conforming tender);
  • the rules which will apply to the tender process; and
  • the rights of the principal to terminate the tender process and to use discretions without incurring any liability to tenderers.

Other tender documents usually include an invitation to submit a tender, a blank tender form and schedules (or templates) to be completed by the tenderer.

Care should be taken in assembling the contract documents. The contract documents should not simply incorporate the tender, but rather relevant information should be selected which aligns with the relevant contractual elements.