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Creating Successful Bid Proposals

Richard W. Warden, PE

Course Outline

This course begins with considering various methods of measurement used to pay for work and how this choice may affect inspection staff and the contractor. Method of payment options are then explored along with some typical consequences. The engineer typically is required to determine if a bid is balanced. Therefore a brief section follows on reviewing for balanced bids, and how methods of measurement and payment may have affected that bid. Change Orders are then covered, focusing on how the original payment choice may simplify the Change Order, shorten the time for the contractor to receive payments, and can lead to further flexibility for the engineer. The benefits of using Line Item Extensions rather than Negotiated Extras, and how they are tied to the engineer's original choice of method of payment, are explored. Finally the importance of creating more win-win conditions between the engineer, the owner and staff, the contractor and the contractor's material suppliers is discussed.

The course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course will have relevance to any engineer that creates bid documents. The examples in the course relate to earthwork construction, but most any work that can be expressed for bidding purposes can be substituted into this material.

Benefit to Attendees

When this course is completed the student will have learned multiple alternatives to use when creating future Bid Proposal Forms and will recognize how each choice may affect the final bid results. The student will also learn why various techniques have beneficial effects within their organization, as well as during execution of the work by the contractor.

Course Introduction

Engineers routinely investigate and then design projects that are to be bid for construction. These bid documents not only describe the work to be done, but how the contractor will be compensated. The contractor's bid, placed on what is typically termed the Bid Proposal Form, becomes a major factor in the tone for the working relationship between the engineer/owner and the contractor. By considering how items are to be measured and paid prior to finalizing the bid documents, the engineer may create more win-win conditions between the owner and staff, the contractor and the contractor's material suppliers.

Course Content

The course content is in Creating Successful Bid Proposals (PDF File). You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

This course focused on how to develop a win-win operation through your Bid Proposal. How you structure your initial bid package has ramifications throughout the life of your project. Building in simplicity of measurements will insure your inspectors can perform their job. How the method of payment is defined should assure all parties involved that fair compensation for acceptable work is a priority. Once bids are received, all the bidders should know that acceptance of unbalanced bids are not an option, thereby prompting bids that are reasonable along a line-item basis.

During construction a good contractor and engineer need to work together. The engineer (and some contractors) wants to insure the best product is produced. The contractor (and some engineers) wants appropriate compensation in a timely manner. By making use of existing contract items, payments for completed work may be received much faster. Many contractors who recognize efforts are being made on their behalf will reciprocate during the construction process.

Finally the owner of the project could be impressed by the engineer's reduction of negotiated extras, which leads the owner to be viewed in more favorable light by outside entities.
Developing a good working relationship with a contractor is recognized by all parties to save time, money and reduce stress in the workplace. If the owner, engineer, contractor, material supplier and even inspectors have issues with one of the other members of this group, the engineer's work will be made more difficult. Setting the normal working environment as win-win between engineer and contractor will go a long way to having smoother projects.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.