Using Design Management to Win Design and Construct Tenders for Building and Infrastructure Projects

Design Management

Design Management (DM) seeks to establish project management practices that are primarily focused on enhancing the design process. For Design and Construct (D&C)projects, the successful implementation of DM throughout the Tender bid preparation process can represent the difference between the winning and losing of the Contract.

D &C Contractors can win more projects if they can ensure that the Tender Design is effectively managed such that the Owner or Developer’s requirements are fully incorporated and that the process yields the required outcomes in terms of Quality, Timing, Cost and Value.

The design of a building is such a critical component of the overall bidding process that it needs dedicated DM to achieve the best results for the D & C Contractor. This DM needs to be implemented from the start of the Tender bid process and then throughout all the critical stages of the Tender bid process so that it lays a solid foundation on the award of the project.

This brief article outlines the critical stage by stage D & C Tender design process and the benefits a good Design Manager can bring to the Tender bid. The DM role is considered in this article in the context of an in-house or consultant D & C Contractor side Design Manager and is also on the basis of a Preliminary Performance Based Design to be completed by the D & C Contractor.

Challenges in the Design Process for Design and Construct Contracts

The following is a list of some challenges D & C Contractors have faced with managing the design component in their bids and subsequent completion of the design once awarded the tender if they do not implement proper DM processes and employ appropriately qualified Design Manager:

Lack of clarity of responsibility for design between Client, Contractor and design team

Poorly managed design leads to increased construction costs, changes, rework and programme delays

Poor design can penalise the Contractor’s bid affecting ability to win projects

Lack of reviews due to pressures of delivery and as such are not as efficient as they could be.

Client’s Brief is not followed in all respects

Team trying to reduce their own costs rather than reducing cost of construction

Design Managers not having the right experience

Poor change management

Inappropriate planning, inadequate review processes, poor resource availability and inadequate quality controls all lead to overall poor results in construction and delivery to the Owner or Developer.

Work is sub contracted to external design consultants who are managed from a programme perspective rather than carefully managing what is being produced.

Pressure of design happening in parallel to the construction with conflicting requirements being given to the designers from Client brief and construction requirements

Planning approval process interfering with the process

Poor communication between Client, team and Contractor

All the above challenges can be overcome if the D & C Contractor implements effective and consistent DM to his bids and subsequent design on award of projects as well as the employment of appropriate Design Managers with the required set of skills and experience to undertake this complex task. The following are the two critical stages in the tender stages of a D & C project from a design perspective.

Stage 1- The Go/No-Go Project Tender Evaluation

In any tender the first step should be to review and assess the tender documentation and determine if in fact the Contractor should tender for the project. The Design Manager’s role is to provide the Design related inputs and recommendations to the Go/No-Go Report for the Tender. Review and Assessment of Tender Design Information The Design Manager should undertake the following key tasks during this phase of the tender process

Collect all relevant data related to the design provided in the tender documentation
Review the Contract for conditions as related to the design obligations
Go to the site and take photos
Assess the design related information available and seek clarification as required
Assess the cost to undertake the tender design
Assess the internal and external design related resources required and their availability to undertake the tender design

Undertake a Design Risk Review

The Design Manager should undertake the following key tasks as related to Design Risks:

Identify Design Risks in the tender documentation
Assess the Design risks
Recommend Risk mitigation and highlight risks that need to be carefully considered

Design Recommendation in Go/No-Go Report

The Design Manager should undertake the following key tasks as related to contributing to the Go/No-Go Report:

Summarise all design related findings from the work done to date.
Make a recommendationas related to the deign aspects of the tender.
Present the findingsas related to design to management if required.

Stage 2- Proceeding with the Tender

Following the positive decision to proceed with the tender by the management team within the Contractor’s organisation, the next step will be the tender preparation. The Design Manager’s role is to provide the Design related inputs to the tender bid which involves the following key tasks:

Tender Bid Team Establishment

The Design Manager should undertake the following key tasks during this phase of the tender preparation process:

Attend Bid Team meetings to understand team organisation, communication protocols and team responsibilities
Confirm deliverables and programme
Discuss any design related risks and mitigation strategies
Understand the overall Contractor’s approach/strategy to this particular tender

Prepare Design Brief

The Design Manager should undertake the following key tasks in preparing the tender Design Brief

Gather all available design related information and briefs and compile a Tender Design Brief
Seek any additional clarifications or information required so as to be able to proceed with the tender

Engage the Design Team

The Design Manager should undertake the following key tasks in the engagement of the design team:

Select Design team from internal and external resources as appropriate and available
Define scope of work and deliverables for design team
Engage the design team formally for the bid and delivery stages

Prepare the Design Management Plan (DMP)

The Design Manager should undertake the following key tasks in the preparation of the DMP:

Develop the DMP to suit the tender bid taking into consideration the delivery phase of the project if the tender is successful
The DMP should include the following Design related sections:

Introduction
Project Overview
Objectives
Process and related procedures
Status
Documentation & Deliverables Schedule
Value Engineering
Reviews
Change Management
Independent Third Party Checks, Permits
Quality Management
Internal Sign Off
Draft Delivery DMP

Tender Design Preparation

The Design Manager should undertake the following key tasks in the engagement of the preparation of the tender design:

Supervise and manage the preparation of the tender bid design in accordance with the DMP
Review the Contract Design and undertake Value Engineering (VE) from a design and constructability perspective
Incorporate any VE recommendations into the tender bid
Present the progress to the bid team for review and approval
Monitor programme and deliverables
Seek any additional clarification from the client side as required
Update Risk Register
Meet regularly with the bid manager and team to review and report on progress

Tender Design Contribution to Tender Submission

The Design Manager should undertake the following key tasks in the delivery of the tender design submission inputs.

Provide input to the overall design and construct tender programme schedule with respect to the design, submissions and approvals as relevant to the tender bid design.
Provide input to the construction team
Deliver the design to the estimators as required
Prepare the Design Report Section of the Tender submission in accordance with required Returnable Schedules
Prepare inputs to any tender presentations
Update final tender Risk Register
Prepare the documents to be submitted with the Tender submissionin the required format
Prepare for and arrange required design related inputs to attend to any meetings with the client prior to award of the tender as requested
Respond to any clarifications that may be requested by the client during the tender process

Superior Outcomes from the Tender Design Process can be achieved

The above methodology represents a successful approach to Design managing the design inputs for Tender bids for D & C projects on behalf of Contractors.

The key to making the above methodology work is having the right Design Manager with the ability to concentrate on managing the design process and having the right skills, resources and support within the Contractor’s organisation.

It offers focus and a clear direction for any management of a design in a D & C project to achieve superior outcomes for Clients and Contractors alike.