Protect commercial when dealing with increasing number of addendums

Over the last 15 years, tender information sent out by clients has become progressively worse...

As the quality of information has decreased,
the number of tender addendums has increased.

A real-life story has inspired the creation of new software that
solves the growing number of addendums during tender.

Conquest is a fantastic estimating tool, but not so useful for
sending tender addendums during enquiries.

Over the last 15 years, information received from clients has become progressively worse. Information is incorrect, drawings contradict specifications and the bill of quantities contradicts the drawings. Estimators find themselves having to distribute more and more tender addendums as new information comes in. Conquest is a fantastic estimating tool but it does not excel at distributing tender addendums, causing confusion among subcontractors during enquiries with potentially negative commercial ramifications.

Conquest does have an addendum tick box but...

Even though the Conquest e-mail stipulates that it is an addendum, it often goes unnoticed and unread by subcontractors, who often assume it to be a reminder e-mail to the original enquiry. Estimators often end up in a situation in which subcontractors require them to confirm what has changed, thus creating the need to send them a separate e-mail containing only the revised documents.

Folder structure lost

Often, documents from different consultants are found in different folders. Once added to Conquest, and distributed to the supply chain, one long list of documents is received in alphabetical order within one single folder.

All documents sent again

When an addendum is sent through Conquest, all the enquiry documents are sent again, leaving subcontractors having to sift through masses of information that they already have, in order to interpret what has changed. Even though documents have been revised, at a glance, the package appears the same as the original. This risks the supply chain ignoring the revised drawings.

The need to manually delete 'old' drawings

In order to show only the current, up to date documents following an addendum, estimators using Conquest need to manually delete the original drawings. Many estimators prefer not to delete, in order to keep a record of what was sent; but this leaves multiple versions of the same drawing within the enquiry documents increasing the risk of subcontractors pricing the wrong drawing.

No auto superseding of drawings

There is no feature in Conquest to automatically detect revisions to drawings. This results in addendums being sent to all packages, and subcontractors having to review the entire package a second time to find out whether the addendum is relevant to them or not.

No dedicated folder for addendums

There is no dedicated folder to hold each addendum for the subcontractor, adding to their confusion and leaving them having to spend time trawling through e-mail threads and playing ‘spot the difference’.

No automatic way to check if the quotation allows for addendums

It is possible to track on Conquest whether or not a subcontractor has viewed your addendum, but it is not possible to see if they have downloaded the addendum documents. Subcontractors do not have the option to confirm through Conquest that their price allows for the latest addendum.

Estimators using Conquest are resorting to...

Creating a new enquiry

In an effort to send only their addendum documents, some estimators resort to creating a new enquiry on Conquest. This is not only extremely time consuming and cumbersome, but also confusing for the subcontractors.

Mass ‘bcc’ e-mail

Many estimators resort to sending their addendums over e-mail as a ‘bcc’ with a Dropbox link, which means having to carry over all contacts from Conquest and losing the facility of further enquiry tracking and paper trailing in one location.

Individual e-mails

Having to send individual e-mails with the attached addendum document to each pricing subcontractor provides clarity, but is time consuming.

Zip files on Conquest

Some people resort to adding addendum documents as a zip file within the Conquest enquiry link, in an effort to try and separate them from the main enquiry documents.

Create a classification for addendum

In an effort to keep addendum documents separate, estimators are spending a great deal of time labelling folders in project workspaces. Some even resort to labelling all their folders A-Z and using 'Z' for addendum documents.

Writing 'all other documents are unchanged'

Because new documents from the addendum can easily be overlooked, or their location misunderstood, estimators are having to continuously write messages such as, 'all other documents are unchanged', in an effort to reassure the supply chain.

Re-naming documents

Some estimators are manually changing the name of each addendum document and adding '**' or '01amendment-' at the beginning of the filename, in an effort to highlight the new addendum documents.

Adding an issue sheet of changes

Along with new documents, and in an effort to add clarity, estimators are adding an issue sheet which lists all drawings, specs and documents that are relevant to that addendum.

Using 4Projects to send addendum documents

Mixing and matching between Conquest and 4Projects often occurs, because 4Projects has better document management capabilities.

Creating a new subcontractor in the BOQ

Some estimators try to solve this issue by creating a new subcontractor in the Conquest BOQ, naming it 'Electrical - Addendum' and issuing the addendum in this way.

If addendums are not properly communicated, or understood by,
subcontractors, it can create a significant financial risk for the main contractor

Depending on the contents of the addendum, a poorly communicated addendum, or one that is misunderstood by the supply chain, can leave a main contractor in a commercially vulnerable position. Any addendum received during a tender period identifies changes in the project requirements that require an allowance. These can be both additions or omissions, and so not identifying or misunderstanding these changes could have potentially catastrophic effects on your bid.

If there is a misunderstanding, incorrect or outdated information flow from contractor to subcontractor, there are several issues that can arise, such as:

Financial impact leaving the contractor commercially vulnerable

This can result in a significant commercial exposure with delays and spiralling costs for the main contractor. The wrong price could be put forward, which can throw out profit forecasts as the contractor will be contractually liable to complete the work.

Having to withdraw a bid or the bid is deemed non-compliant

If the error is picked up pre-contract, you can potentially highlight the error to the client. In most cases, the client will expect the main contractor to stand by his offer. The alternative would be having to say to the client that you cannot do the work, and withdraw the tender as your price is inaccurate.

Being perceived as buying work or incompetent

The main contractor’s bid could be considered too low compared to other tenderers, and the client and their team could perceive this as the contractor trying to buy the work or that their submission is incomplete.

Losing a bid as the addendum could have saved money

If the specification or scope of work is reduced, and this reduction is not picked up, then the price put forward will be too high, making the tender uncompetitive, resulting in a failure to secure the work and a loss of costs associated with competitive tendering.

Order placed based on incorrect tender figures/specifications

In the case of a lump sum price, where no other quotes were made to compare it with, a contractor may not realise that a mistake had been made until it was too late. Orders could be placed based on incorrect tender figures or specifications which could incur restocking fees.

Having to strip out and install new

If the tender was won, and the error was not corrected, then it could mean more extreme commercial vulnerability if material that was removed during tender but not identified was installed in error and the client requested its removal and replacement. The main contractor then needs to pay for the work, strip out the unwanted work, and install a new item.

Insufficient money in the package

Should the main contractor be successful with a bid based on old or incomplete information, the commercial team on site are faced with a potential loss from the start. Inability to get the package procured for the allowance in tender, could mean a loss on tender.

Reputation is adversely affected with the client

It is crucial to get all addendums understood and priced correctly in order to deliver the client’s aspirations and contractually comply with your obligations. If pricing errors are found, it can cause discomfort with the client as the main contractor tries to rectify them in their bid. Issues can continue on to the site and cause friction throughout the project, which can have a negative impact on future work.

Time spent and costs associated with competitive tendering

Should part of the scope, materials or specifications be missed, then the contractor will not have like for like comparisons. This will take time and resources to resolve and correct the misunderstanding. Not being awarded the tender because of this does not justify the costs associated with competitive tendering.

Internal allowances for subcontract packages are affected causing damage to business

If a subcontractor’s price is accepted at face value, and they inform the main contractor at contract stage that they need to increase their price, it can leave the commercial team in a vulnerable position as allowances will be spent very early to cover this unexpected cost. This can cause serious internal discomfort which can be damaging to the business.

Disputes and delays after pre-con stage

If the subcontractor under-prices, and the contractor carries that price forward, then the error will be reflected in the contractor’s price. The end result could be a contractual dispute between the contractor and subcontractor, as the subcontractor tries to make good his losses.

Subcontractor walking away

If the scope of work or specification is increased in an addendum. and not picked up, the subcontractor may decline to enter into a contract, and the main contractor is left trying to replace them; potentially incurring a loss on that package.

Programme impact affecting ability to deliver on time

Depending on the size and scale of the missed addendum, it could, potentially, have a negative impact on the programme. A change in scope could open up discussions regarding the durations allowed for specific tasks. Items with longer lead in times to procure could cause serious headaches and further costs if procurements are made based on incorrect information.

How BidWork is complementary to Conquest estimating


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  • BidWork is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform
  • Deployed in hours, not days.
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How BidWork helps to distribute addendums for the main contractor

Upload addendum documents and automatically match revisions

Timescales when dealing with addendums can often be limited. It's crucial that these documents are communicated properly to the supply chain.

Sometimes an addendum can be a re-issue of the original drawing pack. Picking out changes from hundreds of drawings is extremely difficult, tedious and time consuming.

Once addendum documents are uploaded, BidWork will search for revisions with its special algorithm. If documents supersede existing documents, it will suggest superseding these documents.


Quickly see which packages are affected and issue addendums

During the tender period, communication of all documents that reflect the changes to the specification or design need to be frequently updated and passed on to the pricing supply chain.

If addendum documents affect any package within BidWork, it will be automatically flagged, indicating that an addendum should be sent for these packages.

You can issue addendums individually per package or for multiple packages at the same time. Only the allocated revised documents will be sent to each individual package.

BidWork informs you when the subcontractor has downloaded the new documents

It is essential that main contractors communicate addendums correctly to the pricing subcontractors.

BidWork not only gives you a central system that will record when the supply chain has received the information, but it also provides clarity regarding the number of documents that have been downloaded by each subcontractor.


BidWork clearly shows if each quotation includes for the latest addendum or not

When tender addendums come in thick and fast, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure that subcontractors are all pricing using the correct information.

BidWork gives you an ‘at a glance’ view per package regarding the information that received quotations have been based on. This enables a more targeted approach when it comes to cross-checking quotations.

How BidWork helps makes addendums clear for both subcontractors and suppliers

Within the current set of documents, new documents are clearly shown

Every estimator using Conquest is inventing their own way of overcoming the distribution of addendums. A subcontractor, working with many main contracting estimators who each have their own way makes it difficult for subcontractors to keep up with the addendums.

BidWork not only keeps documents within folders, it also has an always-up-to-date 'current set' of drawings and documents. If any documents are added or revised within the current set, it will be clearly marked that there have been changes.

Furthermore, BidWork helps the subcontractors keep up to date by showing them what they have and have not previously downloaded.


Each addendum is stored for easy reference

It can often happen that subcontractors either fall out of the information process or simply do not have the time to respond to changes.

Some give up when it comes to scouring their e-mail inboxes for e-mails with information about addendums.

BidWork gives them a space just for addendums, so that they can clearly see all the addendums issued for an enquiry, and what the exact changes have been for each individual addendum.

BidWork ensures that the subcontractor is aware of the latest addendums before submitting their quotation

In the myriad of e-mails and pressed tender timescales, it can often be hard for subcontractors to keep track of the latest addendum that they need to account for within their pricing.

BidWork indicates the latest addendum sent at the time of pricing. This gives subcontractors the confidence that they are pricing using the latest information for the enquiry.


See what BidWork can do for you.

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Why using BidWork as an enquiry tool alongside Conquest Estimating makes sense

BidWork Conquest
Estimating module
Take off module
Online enquiries module

Features you expect to find in an online enquiries tool

Contact database
Creating a send out
Upload trade documents and allocation
Link to all documents
Usual suspects
E-mail supply chain based on state (accepted, quoted etc)
Basic tracking

Features you will love in your next generation online enquiries tool

Manage increasing numbers of addendums effectively to protect your commercial position

Automated addendum detection and distribution
Automatic drawing revision
Folder structures for documents
Addendum tab to contain each addendum
Automatic check whether or not quotations allow for latest addendum

Get better response rates at the tender stage

Individual contact details, not just
Connected to companies house to regularly check for insolvent companies
Special algorithms helping you invite those who submit timely quotations

Spend less time updating contact information

Contact service area and trades types updated automatically
Connect ConstructionLine, BuildersProfile or Chas

Hit framework KPI targets and promote local spending

Find micro, social enterprises
Find local supply chains based on trade and service area

Improve team collaboration

Assign trade package leads
Centralising communication and clarifications received in one place
Easily hand over tender to site teams

Refreshingly new ways to be effective at tendering

Automatically unzip documents upon upload
Create tender and package templates for better standardisation
Custom company tender page

Store everything in one place

See subcontractor’s reasons for declining
Advanced document and enquiry tracking
Tender and package analytics
Access control levels within tenders
Comparison module

Discover what other challenges BidWork can also help you with

Risk of missing something in the tender

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Dealing with increasing number of addendums

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Tender deadlines feel tighter

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It can be hard to get prices back at tender

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