Bidding a Civil Construction Project: Part II

Letting, or bidding out, a civil construction project can be a challenge for an Owner. Questions inexperienced owners may have involved choosing an engineer, what sort of contract to use, how to collect bids from contractors, and finally how to manage the construction of the contract. In this two-part series, in Part I, we concentrated first on Engineer selection and drafting of Contract Documents. In Part II, we talk about the bid process and the considerations in the management of your construction project.

 

Bid Process

The process for assembling the documents, advertising for bidders, accepting bids, and awarding the project is important to consider.

   BID PROCESS – QUESTIONS AN OWNER SHOULD ASK:
  1. How do I want to advertise for bids (public advertisement or invite only)?
  2. Do I want to have a pre-bid meeting with or without a site walk?
  3. What is a bond and do I want my project bonded?
  4. What level and type of insurance do I want my contractor to carry?
  5. Do I want bids submitted in paper form or electronically?
  6. What are the evaluation criteria for award (low bid, qualifications, etc.)?

Whether the engineer performs this function, a hired construction manager, or the actual owner, the process should be simple and clear.

A private owner has options that public agencies do not.

Management of the Construction

Once the construction starts, the construction needs to be managed. The three most common ways are to have your engineer manage the construction, hire an outside construction manager, or have an in-house employee manage the construction. This person, or company, manages the submittal process, the RFI process, the recommendation of change orders (or not), the amount of payment to the contractor, and perhaps site observation.

 

   CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT – QUESTIONS AN OWNER SHOULD ASK:
  1. What are my options for construction managers (i.e., the engineer, a third party, or an in-house employee)? What is my decision?
  2. Do I need constant on-site observation?
  3. Do I need the engineer of record present during construction or at certain milestone events during construction?
  4. Does my construction manager have to have minimum qualifications?
  5. Who will be my owner’s representative?

Conclusion
A qualified construction manager knows civil construction contracting, construction means and methods, civil engineering, and the local area.

Civil construction can be very risky work; however, proper planning on the front end can help prevent large time and cost impacts throughout the process. Timely and clear management and direction of the engineer, the construction manager, and the contractor will give any owner the best chance of success!