Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How Detailed Must Plans and Specifications Be?

In developing public works construction bid documents - for either a small or large project - what principles should guide the level of detail and completeness of the documents?

3 principles:  There are three basic principles that should help drive the level of detail for preparing the plans and specifications:
  • Level playing field:  The documents should be clear enough so that all bidders are making the same assumptions about the documents and what is required, without relying on bidders to come to their own different conclusions.  Because we typically bid public construction projects and award based on the low bid, the scope, schedule, and terms/conditions must be specified by the public agency and not left up to individual bidders.
  • Accountability:  The plans and specifications should be clear enough so that the public agency is able to hold the contractor accountable for getting the project that was intended and needed.  Without this level of clarity, it may be difficult to ensure that the contractor performs consistent with the agency's expectations and needs.
  • Permits and codes:  The bid documents should be clear enough so that the design is in compliance with all building codes and the project is able to receive the necessary permits from the appropriate authorities.

Presidential History:
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Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2015 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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