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  • Writer's pictureTristan Wilson

Bid Reviews That Don't Suck

Bid reviews can consume a lot of resources especially for large complex civil projects. It usually goes something like this: a B2W or HCSS bid file up on a big screen, alongside plans, specs, Google Earth, takeoffs, and spreadsheets - all ready for any arising question.

These sessions are vital for risk management and consensus-building among seasoned pros on the projected costs of a project. Without this collaboration, you risk either underestimating costs, leading to potential financial loss post-bid victory, or overshooting the mark, which might cause you to miss out on winning the project altogether due to overcautious estimates.

A bid review doesn't have to be a dreaded marathon of disruptions. Streamlining and improving the process is possible with a few simple changes:

1. Equip attendees with complete access to project documents in advance to enable in-depth preparation.

2. Encourage pre-review questions directed at the estimator to clear up initial concerns.

3. Distribute standardized takeoff sheets and checklists completed by estimators prior to the review. Everyone plays their part in preparation, not just the estimators.

4. Have estimators create a video summary of the project and bid file through asynchronous tools like Loom, encouraging the team to provide insights on complex aspects ahead of the actual meeting. Credit to Sam Corcos for bringing this amazing tool to our attention.

Heads of Estimating departments can find themselves immersed in bid reviews for over 20 hours per week during peak times. Recovering some of this time can be a game-changer. The magic lies in advance preparation and provisioning of materials to ensure the efficient use of everyone's time.

I’m curious: What is one strategy you’ve employed to refine your bid review process?

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