Construction Requests for Proposals

The Do’s and Don’ts of Construction Requests for Proposals

The Do’s and Don’ts of Construction Requests for Proposals


Construction requests for Proposals, otherwise known as RFP’s, are the most formal type of request in the construction industry. An RFP is most often used when there is a specific project or problem. The company who requests a proposal outlines the scope of work that will need to be performed, and a vendor then responds detailing how they would execute that work, and what it will cost. A well-constructed RFP aims to provide a solid understanding of the scope of a project, such as square footage and costs, while also allowing flexibility for contractors to set themselves apart from the competition.


A well-constructed RFP can help you avoid confusion and save valuable time and money. To better understand the components of a successful RFP, let’s go over a few do’s and don’ts of construction requests for proposals.



Describe the Organization, Requirements, and Stakeholders

Each construction request for proposal should clearly describe the organization, requirements and project stakeholders. If an RFP doesn’t describe these areas clearly enough, respondents should request more information so that they can have better insight and understand the project’s needs.


Establish Expectations

Vague RFP’s can cause misunderstandings due to the lack of clarity. A well-constructed RFP needs to establish explicit expectations if you want to avoid confusion. If there are unclear expectations, the respondent must ask for clarity. In addition, RFP’s should outline how respondents should structure their proposal. This makes it easier to compare proposals to each other.



Clarify Cost Qualifications

A good RFP defines the scope of a project qualitatively and quantitatively. When a contractor is preparing a response to an RFP, it’s crucial that they clarify cost qualifications. This includes estimating the amount of meetings that will be held, review procedures, number of drawings and reports, and so on. By calculating as many hard and soft costs as possible, projects can avoid going over budget.


Set a Reasonable Schedule

The construction RFP requires a high degree of collaboration. To foster a good working relationship, RFP’s needs to set realistic and achievable dates for everyone involved in the project.


Be Flexible

Staying flexible during the RFP process is essential. Respondents are evaluating requestors just as much as requestors are assessing respondents. If both parties take a more flexible approach, you’re more likely to reach a successful outcome!




RFP’s should never assume that respondents know expectations. They need to state and define expectations explicitly!



Ignore Feedback

The RFP process can be tricky for all parties involved. Both the contractors and the owner can learn from each other and provide valuable feedback. By communicating with each other, you can improve the RFP process from both sides.


Set Unrealistic Deadlines

Responses to RFP’s take time. To allow respondents to craft quality proposals, RFP’s should allow realistic turn around time. When requestors are reviewing proposals, they should also allow themselves a realistic amount of time to evaluate and compare the responses.


The RFP process can get messy if both sides don’t take the time to craft quality requests and responses. Fortunately, both requestors and respondents can avoid the mess with a little extra effort. By focusing on flexibility and clarity, you’ll be on the right track to creating quality RFP requests and responses.


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