Construction Project information sources

For projects with open tenders, it is usually to the owners advantage to advertise the project widely, so as to generate sufficient competition to assure tenders that are reasonably priced and from qualified, responsible contractors. For publicly funded projects, there may be legally mandated means for notifying the construction community that projects are available for tender. In our discussion of the invitation for tender, we saw an example of such a document (Figure 3.5) that was posted on the owners website. A great variety of electronic means are used to inform the contracting community about up-coming tenders, including the following.

Various on-line construction publications, with sections devoted to new projects. Examples are Construction Industry Times On-Line (2002) in the UK and Engineering News Record (2002) in the USA.

 On-line publications with information confined to procurement opportunities and awards.
One such publication with a worldwide coverage is United Nations Development Business Online (2002). This electronic document provides information on business opportunities generated through the World Bank, regional development banks and other development agencies. While engineering and contracting firms make heavy use of the publication, it also is used by consultants, manufacturers, wholesalers and exporters of many types of products.
For the construction industry, it includes general procurement notices, followed by specific invitations to bid, to pre-qualify or to submit consulting proposals. It also publishes announcements of recently awarded World Bank and Asian Development Bank construction contracts.

 On-line publications whose only role is to advertise tender opportunities. An example is the New Zealand Tenders Gazette (2002), a sample from which is shown in Figure 4.1. To use this listing, one selects the type of tender building construction, other construction, supplies and services, motor vehicles, machinery sales, building sales and leases or all and the location. Note that the listings are basically very limited invitations to tender, including contacts for further information. This website does contain some additional information, such as recent building permits and a small number of articles of interest to project personnel, but the dominant purpose is to support the tender process. Owners can lodge new tenders electronically and the site is updated daily.

Internet plan rooms, such as one operated by the Carolinas (USA) Associated General Contractors, where contractors can search for up to 21 types of jobs, search specifications by key words, view plans, zoom in and out, make proprietary notes on the plans, use on-line estimating plans, and print or order plans (Martin, 2001). This virtual information centre provides the same kind of service as that of traditional plan rooms, sometimes called plan services, where contractors visit in person for information on upcoming projects. At this writing, the cost for members of the Carolinas Associated General Contractors is US$ 2800 per year for all project listings in the states of North and South Carolina.

Some of the more traditional means for informing contractors about jobs available for tendering are listed below (based on Bennett, 1996); it will be noted that the electronic methods already discussed had their beginnings in some of these hard-copy equivalents.

 Classified advertisements in local and regional newspapers. Invitations to bid or invitations to tender are standard categories in most classified advertising sections.
 Notices in regional, national and international trade magazines. Construction Industry Times and Engineering News Record, noted in the previous section, also publish print editions that include information on new projects.
 Publications of contractor organisations, such as newsletters distributed by local chapters of the Associated General Contractors.
 Listings at local or regional construction plan rooms, whose electronic counterparts are noted above. These facilities are often privately owned and may be sponsored by contractor federations. They provide a central place for owners to deposit plans and other information about new construction work, thus making them easily accessible to contractors.
 Notices posted to contractors who are on the list for the particular type of project, either because they have been pre-qualified or because they have expressed interest in such projects.
 In the case of some private projects, informal contacts by letter, telephone or in person.


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