Introduction to the World of Estimating

You received an Invitation to Bid (ITB) a project. What do you do now?

  1. Start a file and begin your record keeping. Name the project as shown in the title block of the plans and the documents. (The person who sent the ITB may have called it something else.) List the date your bid is due – THIS IS CRITICAL – LATE BIDS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
  2. Enter the name of the person (and their contact information – e-mail address, phone number, company name, etc.) who sent the ITB to you.
  3. If you will download the bid documents, save them to a file in the computer If you will be using paper documents, have a place to store them so they are easily accessible. List all the drawings you have and the date they were issued into your project file.
  4. List dates Requests for Information (RFI’s) and Substitution Requests are due. (The dates and forms required to be used are in the specifications.) THESE ARE ALSO CRITICAL DATES.
  5. Enter the name of the architectural firm that issued the bid documents. (This may help you down the line as you bid more projects and become familiar with how each different firm prepares and organizes their project documents and the products they will or will not accept.)
  6.  Open the specification manual. Look at the table of contents listing all the various product specification sections. The specifications dictate what the architect wants on the project. Look at the General Conditions, Alternate section (if applicable) and any sections that describe your work. (You must provide what is specified or send a Substitution Request for approval using the form in the specification manual for any equal product you may wish to bid.)
  7. Begin to look at the plans. Get familiar with the floor plans first, then look at detail and section views for further information for your scope of work. After this initial review, determine if you wish to bid this job or not. Once you have made your decision, contact the person who sent you the ITB to let them know if you will bid your scope – and what you believe the scope will be. (This is an opportunity to build a relationship that will breed trust.)

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