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Request for tender

Prepare a request for tender and understand the key components of the documentation.

Purpose of a request for tender

A request for tender (RFT) is a formal, structured invitation to potential tenders to bid for planned construction works. The RFT should allow tenderers to provide information that aligns with the evaluation criteria, enabling you to evaluate responses and select the contractor.

If the procurement process involves a two-staged go-to-market strategy, you will need to develop and evaluate the expression of interest (EOI) before issuing the RFT.

When structuring the RFT document, consider separating key aspects of the document, such as tender conditions, the scope of works and contractual aspects, avoiding unnecessary content crossovers between these sections.

Broadly, the RFT should outline:

  • project overview and tender requirements including:
    • an overview of the opportunity, tender process and key timeframes
    • project scope summary and commercial arrangements
    • tender requirements, and
    • returnable schedules aligned to the evaluation criteria
  • project scope and delivery requirements including elements such as:
    • functional brief
    • technical specification
    • services specification (only where relevant), and
    • any other relevant requirements of the project
  • draft contract documents.

Specific information on the project scope and delivery requirements, as well as the draft contractual documents, can then be issued to the relevant disciplines.

The extent of information included within the RFT may be dependent on the project's size and complexity and selected procurement model. Depending on the capability and capacity of in-house resources, you may wish to engage a consultant to assist in developing the RFT.

Regardless of the complexity of the project, it is recommended that all RFT response requirements are only articulated within the returnable schedules (clearly aligned to the evaluation criteria) and nowhere else throughout the documentation.

You may wish to speak with your OTCD representative about gaining access to standardised RFT documents to help in preparing the tender documentation. Standard conditions of tendering and tender returnable schedulesExternal Link are available for low and medium complexity projects (for use with the Victorian public sector model AS 4300-1995 General Conditions of ContractExternal Link and AS 2124-1992 (June 2018 General Conditions of Contract for Design and Construct)External Link ).

For HVHR projects you will likely require more bespoke advice in the development of the tender documentation. Notwithstanding this, strong precedents exist for most procurement models and can be requested via DTF and OTCD project representatives.

Guidance on the process and requirements for releasing the tender documentation, including tender and forward notices, and evaluating responses, is available.

  • Project overview and tender requirements

    You should provide tenderers with a high-level summary of the project and the requirements for tender submissions, as well as associated timeframes for both tender submission and project delivery. This will allow tenderers to quickly identify whether the opportunity is aligned to their organisation’s strengths and interests as well as capacity to deliver the project.

    The opportunity, tender process and key timeframes

    You will need to provide tenderers with an overview of the project. For business-as-usual projects this may involve:

    • introducing the project and the procurement model
    • outlining the rationale for the project
    • outlining the project scope and timing, and
    • additional details, such as key project contacts and a glossary of key terms used, may be appended to the RFT document.

    To assist you with drafting, you may wish to leverage material produced as part of the EOI document (if applicable).

    Project scope summary and commercial arrangements

    You will need to provide tenderers with an overview of the project’s scope and commercial arrangement. For business-as-usual projects, this may simply involve outlining the project’s scope and the general commercial arrangement under which you propose to contract.

    For more complex projects, you may also wish to:

    • outline the rationale for the project, including strategic alignment to the TAFE and any service needs the project is addressing
    • outline the project scope, including the procurement model, scope of works, design principles and procurement packaging or staging (if applicable)
    • provide an overview of the site(s) of the project, including zoning, environmental assessments, permits, site investigations, community consultation and relevant local infrastructure
    • outline the proposed commercial principles and proposed risk allocation. Depending on the project's size and complexity, you may wish to engage commercial advisors to assist in developing these principles
    • outline any potential commercial development/partnership opportunities to consider work-integrated learning and realisation of commercial revenues to offset project development costs (if relevant), and
    • outline any additional complementary opportunities relevant to the project that you may wish tenderers to provide insight into how they could be addressed.

    Summary of the tender process

    You will need to provide tenderers with an overview of the tender process. The level of detail contained within this section will vary depending on the project’s size and complexity. Broadly, it should seek to:

    • outline the tender process timelines, including the release of RFT, interactive tender process (ITP) sessions, closing date and time, identification of preferred tenderer or shortlisted tenderers, planned negotiations, selection of preferred tenderer and contract execution
    • outline the tender process details, including the terms and conditions, proposal lodgement details (time and method of submission) and relevant probity principles
    • provide guidance as to the proposed interaction between the TAFE and the tenderers, including access to information via a data room, any interactive tender workshops, Q&A process and any site inspections and/or due diligence requirements
    • provide details on the evaluation process, including required information, evaluation criteria, and additional evaluation considerations (such as value-add initiatives)
    • detail how, or if any, tenderer departures may be considered, and
    • where relevant, provide additional details such as project governance and stakeholder management, including communications plans, key project contacts and details of the project team, and a glossary of key terms used which may be appended to the RFT document.

    Returnable schedules

    As part of the RFT, you should include returnable schedules aligned to the evaluation criteria and reflective of the information you have asked tenderers to provide throughout the RFT. In addition to these returnable schedules, you may also wish to ask tenderers:

    • to sign a conflict of interest and confidentiality form (in some cases, you may wish to require tenderers to return these prior to the release of the tender documents)
    • for evidence of financial robustness to deliver the project (to the extent not already addressed as part of the EOI process)
    • to confirm or provide evidence of their compliance with key policies such as the National Construction Code, Social Procurement Framework, and Local Jobs First Policy etc., and
    • to confirm or provide evidence of relevant insurance details.

    It is important to ensure that you only ask for the information that you require to:

    • evaluate tenderers against the criteria
    • form part of a minimum pass/fail hurdle requirement to participate (ie financial strength and compliance), or
    • provide evidence and commitment to the delivery of content required as a condition precedent to contractual close or starting on site.

    Requesting unnecessary information in an RFT may require you to spend unnecessary time assessing it and the tenderer’s time in preparing it.

  • Functional requirements

    Typically, you will need to provide tenderers with an outline of the project's functional requirements. The functional requirements, sometimes called user requirements, will vary depending on the project’s specifics as well as the procurement model.

    Technical requirements

    You should provide tenderers with an outline of what must be addressed in relation to the architectural and technical requirements. Technical specifications will vary significantly depending on the selected procurement model, such as differing output specification vs input specification requirements. If the procurement model does not involve a design component (i.e. construct only), then you should provide the detailed design and other design specifications to the tenderers as part of this section.

    Broadly this section should outline:

    • general architectural and technical requirements
    • design intent and quality requirements, and
    • building services requirements.

    While not mandatory for TAFE projects, you may wish to use the Department of Education and Training's National Building Specification (NATSPEC) reference specification systemExternal Link that has been developed for educational projects. Further information may be obtained by contacting your OTCD representative for the project.

    Ongoing service requirements

    If the project involves procuring an ongoing component or service post-commissioning during its operations phase, you will need to outline these specific ongoing requirements in the tender, for example the provision of on-site practical training in the operation and/or maintenance of equipment. It may also be relevant to the installation and maintenance of specific specialist equipment. This is typically only relevant for complex projects with alternative procurement models that involve private sector collaboration.

  • The RFT should include draft contract documents detailing the commercial arrangements under which the contractor will deliver the works. The form of contract required will vary significantly depending on the chosen procurement model. Depending on the project's size and complexity, you may wish to engage legal advisors to assist in drafting the contract documentation.

    Construction contracts must be to be in a form approved by the Secretary to the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF). These contracts are referred to as the Victorian Public Construction Contracts. It is recommended that TAFEs contact the OTCD to secure the most up-to-date conditions of contract for the project depending on the procurement approach. For most low and medium complexity projects this may be a construct-only tender approach where the Victorian public sector model AS 2124-1992 (June 2018)External Link general conditions of contract will be applicable. Where a design and construct procurement approach has been selected, the Victorian public sector model AS 4300-1995External Link general conditions of contract may be applicable. The OTCD can also advise where ’time is of the essence’ and other special forms of contract may be advisable.

    If you are approaching selected tenderers off a preferred supplier panel, you may need to comply with standard terms and conditions when engaging contractors.

    Further guidanceExternal Link on contracting requirements, as well as Victorian Public Construction Contracts that you may wish to leverage (depending on the chosen procurement model) for minor and major works, is available.

Reviewed 05 July 2023

TAFE Toolkit

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