Automating construction bidding process



Info-communication technology (ICT) is a computer-based communication mechanism which makes it easier and faster to communicate to people and organisations. Procurement is the process of buying, leasing or renting construction products like buildings, roads, bridges, etc. This process requires competition to ensure value for money (VFM) to ensure the best quality job at the cheapest cost and fastest time or the optimum combination of these three factors. Information and communication technology (ICT) is a term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage and audio device, used for communicating between two or more parties.

One of the ways that ICT can be used in the procurement of construction process is online bidding. Online bidding is known by several names, including ‘electronic reverse bid auction’, ‘reverse auction’ or simply ‘e-auctions’. The process of bidding electronically through the use of software in construction process is online bidding. The use of on-line bidding should only be used where the requirement can be ‘accurately specified’ by the client, even when requirement is complex. On-line bidding can only take place once the brief has been fully developed. Factors other than price (e.g. activity, time, quality etc) should be taken into account by the client prior to the on-line bidding in order to ‘weigh’ the price bids in which to determine the overall position of the bidder. The online bidding process should open and transparent as a matter of good practice.

The Online-bidding process is an e-technology method of determining bid-winner in a traditional construction procurement process. The process in on-line bidding varies depending upon the construction products and services being procured. Generally speaking however, the process is as follows:

Bidders are pre-qualified using the criteria expressed at the outset by the contracting authority.

Pre-qualified bidders will be invited by the client to submit a ’technical proposal containing everything (except the price) and to participate in the auction on a specific date and at a specific time.

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