Rand Soellner Architects provides Bidding and Pricing services for residential and commercial construction projects, and has for decades. One of the latest techniques involves electronic bid forms for contractors, managed by the architect.
Soellner provides Bidding & Pricing services by managing all the contractors interested in bidding on the project. Soellner also researches and locates qualified, interested contractors, which can be a daunting task to the homeowner. Also, the architect answers all the questions posed by the contractors during the bidding process, interpreting drawings created by the architect and the engineer(s). Most clients looking forward to having their dream house designed and built are not equipped to answer such detailed questions. It pays to have a professional who designed the project also manage the bidding and pricing. By providing clear, timely answers, the architect can actually obtain lower prices for the owner than if the contractor’s questions went unanswered. Because when contractors have questions, they typically increase their pricing, to cover unknowns.
The architect creates clear, technical and detailed documents that help the contractor to understand the nature of the project, which allows him to bid the lowest reasonable price he can, because he does not have much, if anything to cover unknowns. It is all there.
Soellner also provides an E-Bid process using custom-made Electronic Bidding Forms that automatically total the amounts the contractors propose for each line item on the Architect’s Bid Form. This guarantees a level playing field and a Bidding climate of “apples to apples,” where each contractor is bidding on exactly the same materials, size, and quality. If any of you have ever had a house or other project bid by builders without an architect managing the process, you know what is being discussed here. Without a licensed professional (the architect) to carefully detail the bid forms and schedule the bidding activities and answer the questions, it can be chaotic, with different contractors bidding wildly different amounts for wildly different scopes of work. How can this be? Why does the architect need to be there to manage this? Because without someone in charge who is knowledgeable with the design of the project, the builders will make assumptions and include and exclude items and materials and features that may not be typical in their practice. This can mean that the amount of money they bid can be significantly different from another contractor who bids according to his firm’s internal typical procedures, materials and features. This “scope creep” can mean that unless the architect is there to manage this process that one builder is bidding something very different from another.
The architect maintains level ground and insures that all builders are bidding on exactly the same materials, features and quality level.
Soellner also includes an unusual optional bid form that allows the contractors to include up to 10 suggestions of their own, indicating additional cost savings and for what and how much savings each suggestion is worth, or conversely, suggestions for improving quality for modest additional amounts. The Soellner firm monitors these forms closely, making sure that this is where the contractors insert their suggestions, Not on the main Base Bid Pricing Form.
Soellner’s Base Bid Pricing Form is where he has the builders price out each main specification Division so that he and his clients can understand where the budget is being spent. After receiving the E-Bid Forms from the various contractors, Soellner then posts their amounts into a Master Bid Form that he shares with his clients, which directly compares what each contractor bid for each area of the project. In this manner, the Architect and the Owner have a clear understanding if any particular contractor appears too high or too low in any specific area of the job. This helps insure that budgets are effectively allocated early in the project to provide for a smooth work flow throughout the job. It also helps to understand if a contractor’s bid looks right or might be questionable. They may have forgotten something.
You want your contractor happy and you want a good price, so that you will also be happy. You will be living with each other for months, so it would be wise to make sure that your Architect has obtained for you the best reasonable price from qualified contractors to deliver the best value for your project.