Bidding Process Experience

Project Manager, Caterpillar’s Development & Learning Center, Panama

Overall responsibility for CM team providing consulting services on commercial building installations from planning and design phase through final project closeout. Oversight of budgets and project controls systems, bid and award of subcontracts, procurement, prepare strategies for procurement and phasing, quality control.  Managed installation of systems and transition to turn-over and occupancy.

Senior Project Manager, Projects, US Government and US Navy Facility Engineering Commands

Managed a US. Navy project to complete technical data surveys for two US Navy Facility Engineering Commands (FECs) in the US. Extensive documentation and reporting were required   for the coordination and compilation of data into a formal technical document to the client. Project responsibilities included proposal management for CONUS and OCONUS projects.  Managed the efforts to set up project reporting, including the project execution plan for an $800M multi-year program management contract for the U.S. Government.

Senior Project Manager, Wyeth Pharmaceutical Expansion, Canada

Responsibilities included the procurement and construction activities required for a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility expansion. Project required integration of a new expansion into the existing facility.

Senior Project Manager, Gorman Rupp Industries Phase 2, Mansfield, OH

Responsible for the design, procurement and construction for a 450,000 square foot manufacturing complex. Established project mobilization, budget, and procurement of subcontract services; outlined permitting requirements to allow environmental applications through the U.S. Government, State of Ohio and the City of Mansfield to proceed.

Senior Project Manager, U.S. Dept. of Defense, Iraq/Kuwait

Responsible for design/build projects completed for the U.S. Military in Iraq and Kuwait under cost-reimbursable and firm-fixed-price contracts.  Projects were of large-scale industrial types, and were executed under difficult circumstances that ranged from high voltage transmission lines to sweet water canal and pumping station refurbishment, medium voltage distribution systems including substations, dam repair and underground sanitary repairs. Specific projects included:

  • 400kV 260-KM long high voltage transmission line repair, Baiji/Baghdad, start to finish fast track project directly managed to successful repair and energizing;
  • Sadr City underground sanitary sewer repair, deep point repairs up to 6 to 8-meters deep, high pressure jetting of large diameter UG pipe;
  • Basra Sweet water canal repair, 220KM long with two lift stations, 8 cubic meters per second flow, deep excavations for embankment repair, complete rework of standby power, 1 cubic meter per second pump rebuild, etc.
  • Adhaim Dam; assessment of existing incomplete project, completed engineering study to determine stability and work required to complete the project;
  • Diyala Governate medium voltage electrical distribution system including substations;
  • Kuwait/Iraq Border Crossing Facility, design/build firm fixed price fast track directly managed from start to finish, on time and under budget. Extreme conditions in remote location.

Project Manager, LSP Organization, Bronx, NY

Managed subcontract work required to expedite construction at a health care facility.  Priced changes initiated by the owner or required due to field conditions, maintained close coordination with the owner, and conducted negotiations with the subcontractors.

Regional Operations/Project Manager, Lucent Technologies, Delco Electronics, Johnson Controls, General Electric, General Motors

Overall responsibility for design/build projects (for Lucent, Avaya and Global Crossings) in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Mexico, Venezuela, and the US.  Work involved design and construction of facilities for manufacturing, corporate offices, warehousing, etc.  Projects were executed under fixed-price and cost-reimbursable contracts.  Responded to clients’ demands and expectations, ISO 9001 compliance requirements, reporting, etc.

Bidding Process

A construction bid is the process of providing a potential customer with a proposal to build or manage the building of a structure. It’s also the method through which subcontractors pitch their services to general contractors.

In order to create successful construction bids, remember the industry golden rules: Start with highly accurate cost estimates, and submit the lowest bid of all the competing contractors. The process of forming a bid begins with examining construction plans and performing material quantity takeoffs. However, there are a lot of nuances and complexities behind this seemingly straightforward formula. We will delve into those in detail later on.

First, it’s important to distinguish between a bid and an estimate, terms that are sometimes used interchangeably. The definitions of the two are somewhat elastic. Generally, an estimate is the calculation of the contractor’s internal costs (including materials and labor), while a bid is the final price charged to a customer. We consider a bid to be a firm offer to the customer. The difference between the bid amount and your expenses is your profit. Using construction bidding software can help ensure you’re bidding the right amount. Sometimes, on small jobs, the customer may move quickly after reviewing just an estimate, treating it, in effect, as the bid that will represent the formal terms of the deal.

Estimates should be as accurate as possible, progressing through levels of precision from preliminary or ballpark to square foot, assembly, and final estimate.

In construction bidding, price is always a key consideration. On many projects, especially in government construction, the owner must choose the lowest bid. On other jobs, however, qualifications or other factors can be equally or more important than price. The selection process depends on the project delivery method — we’ll break down the different methods shortly.

The basic construction tender process involves the following activities:

  • Bid Solicitation: The owner seeks bids and provides a package of material with drawings, specifications, and other scope documents. This is also known as making a request for proposal (RFP) or a request to tender (RTT),
  • Subcontracting: General contractors take bids from subcontractors for pieces of work. Depending on the project method, this may occur after a general contractor wins a bid.
  • Bid Submission: Builders submit bids by a deadline.
  • Bid Selection: The owner reviews bids and chooses a winner.
  • Contract Formation: This phase finalizes the terms and lays the legal groundwork for the project.
  • Project Delivery: Construction takes place.


To bid on construction, you need to understand three important structural decisions that owners make and that shape construction projects. An owner must decide on the following elements:

  • A project delivery method
  • A procurement method
  • A contract model

We’ll explore each of these three elements in detail. Each choice that an owner makes translates into different responsibilities, risks, costs, and profit formulas for the bidder. To succeed as a bidder, you must understand how these decisions impact you and design your bid to ensure you are competitive, make sufficient profit on the project, and account for the risks you will bear.