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Page 1

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Call No. ;

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60758

NATIONAL LIBRARY

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Peter J. Cox B.Sc. (Eng), A.C.G.L, M.LC.E., F.I.Struc1.E.

Writing specifications
for construction

McGRAW-HILL BOOK COMPANY

London' New York' S1. Louis· San Francisco
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Sao Paulo' Singapore' Sydney' Tokyo' Toronto

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Published by
McGRAW-HILL Book Company Europe
Shoppenhangers Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 2QL, England
Telephone 0628 23432
Fax 0628 770224

This book is dedicated to untaught specification writers doing their best.

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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
~III

Cox, Peter
Writing Specifications for Construction
I. Title
692.3

ISBN 0-07-707803-9

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Cox, Peter
Writing specifications for construction I Peter Cox.

p_ c.m.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-07-707803-9:
I. Buildings - Specifications. 2. Specification writing.

I. Title.
TH425.C69 1993
692'.3-dc20 93-12838

CIP

Copyright © 1994 McGraw-Hili International (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this
pulication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission
of McGraw-Hili International (UK) Limited.

1234 CUP 9654

Typeset by Computape (Pickering) Ltd, North Yorkshire
and printed and bound in Great Britain at the University Press, Cambridge

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12 A background to specification writing

• CLIENT'S REPRESENTATIVE (BPF): the person appointed by the
Employer to liaise with the Design Team and Project Manager

• FEASIBILITY TEAM: the team responsible for the feasibility study
• DESIGN TEAM (BPF Manual): the team responsible for the production of the

Tender Documents

• EMPLOYER'S DESIGNER (NEC Guidance Notes); the designer is often a
Design Team of various design disciplines under the direction of a Design
Leader

• DESIGN LEADER (BPF Manual); the person who coordinates the efforts of
the Design Team. The whole of the design team is not necessarily within one
firm.

Other terms not used: Lead Designer, Design Manager
PROJECT MANAGER (NEC): the person employed directly by the Employer
to manage the construction. The Project Manager may be employed directly or
engaged as a consultant and is normally also the Employer's Designer. A
problem with this term is that a Project Manager of a single main contractor
project may be thought of as a manager of several contractors in a management
contract.

Other terms not used: Architect/Supervising Officer (JCT), Engineer (ICE6),
Client's Representative (BPF)

SUPERVISOR (NEC, BPF). The Supervisor is either the same person as the
Project Manager, works directly for him or her or is directly employed by the
Employer. The Supervisor monitors the performance of the Contractor. It is
the Contractor who is expected to supervise the Works according to most
Conditions of Contract.

Other terms not used: Engineer's Representative (ICE6, HDIC)
ADJUDICATOR (NEC, BPF): the person who gives rulings on Employer­
Contractor disputes and is preferably a different person to the Project
Manager. In the JCT, ICE6 and HDIC Conditions, the Architect or Engineer
and their assistants combine the role of Designer, Project Manager, Supervisor
and Adjudicator.

Other terms not used: Architect/Engineer/Design Consultant/Supervising
Officer

CONTRACTOR (NJCC; JCT, NEC, ICE6, FIDIC, BPF Conditions); The
firm that has contracted to construct the Works.
SUBCONTRACTOR (NEC, BPF): Sub-contractor (lCE6, JCT): a firm that has
a contract with the main Contractor to provide labour, materials or products.
SUPPLIER (NEC, JCT): a person or firm supplying the Contractor with
materials or products.

ARBITRATOR (JCT, NEC, ICE6, HDIC, BPF Conditions); the Arbitrator is
the person to whom the Employer and Contractor can refer their disputes to
and be bound by the Arbitrator's decision. The Arbitrator cannot be the same
person as the Project Manager.

Documents

CONTRACT DOCUMENTATION (US construction documents): Pre­
qualification, Tender and Contract Documents collectively. This term includes
all documents prepared by the Design Team.
INVITATION TO TENDER: We have taken this term to mean a request to

to the alternative definition of a request to selected tenderers to submit a tender
based upon Tender Documents accompanying the Invitation.

Other terms not used: Preliminary Invitation to Tender: NJCC uses this term
instead of Invitation to Tenderers to differentiate it from the Formal Invita­

Documents. BPF also uses this term.
• PREQUALIFICATION DOCUMENTS: Prequalification Documents

selection of list of tenderers.

potential tenderers to ascertain whether or not they wish to tender as opposed

Terminology in contract documentation 13

tion to Tenderers also used by NJCC to des,cribe Introduction to Tender

exchanged between the Employer/Designer and potential tenderers prior to

the selected tenderers to enable them to price the construction. In some NEC

• Introduction to Tender Documents
• Instructions to Tenderers
• Non-contractual information given to Tenderers.
• Blank Form of Tender and blank Bill of Quantities

to Tender includes a large amount of information with several functions, e.g.

Contract Document as it does not include matters of concern after Acceptance

Other terms not used:

• Formal Invitation to Tender (NJCC)
• Invitation to Tender (Form 5 in BPF Manual)
• Letter of Invitation to Tender (HDIC Tendering Procedures, HDIC

Guide)

• INSTRUCTIONS TO TENDERERS (ICE Procedures, HDIC Tendering

Other terms not used:

• Supplementary Information for Tenderers (BPF Manual includes this
document within the Invitation to Tenderers package).

• Information data (FIDIC Tendering Procedures, HDIC Guide)
• Information available for tenderers (CSI)

includes the following:

• TENDER DOCUMENTS (JCT, NEC, BPF Manual): the documents sent to

literature, these documents appear to be termed the Invitation to Tender.
Other terms not used: Enquiry Documents (HDIC Tendering Procedures)

• TENDERING REQUIREMENTS (US Bidding Requirements). We have used
this term when referring collectively to:

In this guide, we have excluded the Form ofTender from this definition as that
document can be a Contract Document while both the Introduction to Tender
Documents and Instructions to Tenderers are not.

Other terms not used: Invitation to Tender (BPF Manual). BPF's Invitation

Instructions to Tenderers and Site Information.
• INTRODUCTION TO TENDER DOCUMENTS: If all the Tender Docu­

ments are being sent to a tenderer, that tenderer would almost certainly have
already agreed to tender. This document is therefore not really an invitation but
merely introduces and lists the Tender Documents. The document is not a

ofa Tender.

Procedures). The term is self-explanatory but only covers procedures up to
Acceptance of Tender. For that reason, it is not a Contract Document.

• Infonnation given to tenderers (lCE6 Conditions) (covered by CAWS Al2 and
A35)

Traditionally this document which is not normally a Contract Document

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14 A background to specification writing

• Site Infonnation
• Soils infonnation
• Survey infonnation of existing land and buildings

• Employer's restrictions
• Method of operation
• Sequence of operations
• Timing of specific operations including commencement and completion

Most Site Infonnation affects the Contractor's costs and must be included in
the Contract Documents and not included in this document. Other information
such as directions to the site and availability of keys should be placed in
Instructions to Tenderers.

As Infonnation given to Tenderers is a Tender Document and not a Contract
Document, the only infonnation in this document that should be included is
preferences by the Employer, which are not mandatory.

• SITE INFORMATION (NEC Conditions, covered by CAWS AI2). This
document traditionally includes soils and survey information. This document is
quoted as a Contract Document in its own right in the NEC system. Such
infonnation given to tenderers may affect their Tenders. If the information is
incorrect, it would be unfair if the Contractor was not allowed to claim
compensation. Site Information should therefore be included as a Contract
Document or part of one and not discarded with the Tender Requirements at
Acceptance.

In the BPF system, Site Infonnation is included in 'Supplementary Infor­
mation for Tenderers' (BPF Manual) which is attached to the Invitation to
Tender, which is not a Contract Document in the BPF Agreement.

• TENDER (JCT, NEC): the documents that have been completed by a tenderer
and are then returned to the Employer for consideration.

Other tenns not used:

• Bid: US equivalent to Tender. This guide deals primarily with the written
word and the word 'Bid' in UK English tends to be used to describe both
verbal and written offers.

• Offer: another alternative to Tender not nonnally used in contract
documentation for the same reason as Bid.

• FORM OF TENDER (NJCC; NEC, ICE6, FIDIC, BPF Conditions)
• The Appendix. The word Appendix on its own has little meaning. It is essential

to say to what an Appendix is appended. Also, when completing an Appendix,
it is essential to realize its function. It is often the Employer's Special Con­
ditions such as the programme requirements and/or information required by
the Employer from the tenderers. It can be an attachment to the Conditions of
Contract (JCT Conditions) or the Form of Tender (ICE6 Conditions).

The BPF Manual appends an Appendix to the Invitation to Tender. If the
Invitation to Tender is not a Contract Document, any Employer's Conditions
attached to the Invitation must be repeated in a Contract Document.

The NEC Conditions use the term Schedule of Contract Data which is
properly divided into its constituent parts, i.e. data provided by the Employer
and data submitted by the Contractor with a Tender. It should be noted that
the two parts have very different functions.

Other tenns used: Schedule of Contract Data (NEC)
• APPENDIX TO FORM OF TENDER (ICE Conditions): a list ofinfonnation

required by the Employer from the tenderers to be included in a Tender

Terminology in contract documentation 15

• BILL OF QUANTITIES (NEC, ICE6, FIDIC Conditions)<Civil engineers and
designers using the FIDIC Conditions use the tenn Bill of Quantities and UK
building designers use the tenn Bills of Quantities. It is therefore difficult to
choose one term or the other without being accused of bias towards a particular
part of the UK construction industry. There is little advantage in using one
term over the other as far as clarity is concerned. However, Schedule of
Activities, Specification (although Specifications in the United States),
Schedule of Rates and Schedule of Work are all singular. The term Bills of
Quantities is therefore the odd term out.

Other tenns not used: Bills of Quantities (JCT, BPF Conditions)
• CONTRACT DOCUMENTS (JCT, NEC, ICE6, FIDIC, BPF Conditions).

These are usually listed in one of such documents
• STANDARD CONDITIONS OF CONTRACT (NEC Guidance): Published

Conditions of Contract
Other terms not used: Standard Articles of Agreement

• GENERAL CONDITIONS OF CONTRACT: core clauses of a Standard
Conditions of Contract
SUPPLEMENTARY CONDITIONS OF CONTRACT: optional clauses in a
Standard Conditions of Contract selected but not written by the Employer/
Design Team

• SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF CONTRACT (NEC, ICE6): conditions
amended or added by the Employer/Design Team to the standard Conditions
of Contract

• Appendix to Conditions of Contract. (JCT Conditions): a list of conditions
required by the Employer for a particular project

• CONTRACT: the binding Agreement between the Employer and Contractor.
With the inference that the Fonn of Agreement is the document that binds
together all the Contract Documents. With the BPF Conditions the Form
of Agreement is continuous with a following standard Conditions of Contract
fonning one document tenned the Agreement.

Other tenns used: Agreement (BPF Conditions)
• LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE (CE Procedures, FIDIC):

If an Employer accepts a Tender he or she is committed to that Tender whether
or not that Acceptance is followed by a fonnal Agreement.

Other tenns not used: Written Acceptance (lCE6)
• FORM OF AGREEMENT (lCE6): the fonn signed by the Employer and

Contractor referring to and binding the Contract Documents into a Contract.
Other tenns not used: Articles of Agreement (JCT Conditions)

• BOND: a contract for a party to pay a sum ofmoney in specified circumstances,
usually a default. The most common type of bond is the Performance Bond.

• SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES (BPF). The tenn Schedule of Activities
emerged first and is therefore more familiar.

Other tenns not used: Activities schedule (NEC)
• SPECIFICATION (JCT without Bills, NEC, ICE6, FIDIC, BPF Conditions)

Other tenns not used: Specifications (CSI)
• DRAWINGS: Graphic Tender and Contract Documents. Do not use the term

plans to describe all drawings, as they usually include sections, elevations and
details.

• Works Infonnation (NEC): a collective tenn used by NEC to potentially
include:

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6
Prequalification Documents and Tendering

Requirements

6.1 Prequalification

If the project is large, complex or specialized it is an advantage to precede the Invitation
to Tender with a prequalification stage. This saves time in the preparation and evalua-
tion of tenders from unsuitable tenderers.

6.2 Invitation to Prequallfy

6.2.1 General

The purpose of the Invitation to Prequalify is to attract qualified tenderers and to help
prospective tenderers to decide whether or not to ask for the Prequalification Docu-
ments. The Invitation should be limited to information that will permit prospective
tenderers to judge whether the work is within their constructional ability and financial
capability and which will explain the prequalification procedures. The Invitation to
Prequalify should always be in writing to ensure all prospective tenderers have the same
information and is normally in the form of an advertisement in newspapers or technical II
publications.,

" 6.2.2 Inclusions
The Invitation to Prequalify typically includes the following:

• Date
• Title and reference of project
• Name and address of Employer
• Name, address, telephone number and facsimile number of the Client's Repre-

sentative (BPF), Design Leader or Agent, if any, issuing the Prequalification
Documents

• Location of Site with plan of Site
• Brief description of project, including the size and type of construction
• Period of construction if already determined by the Employer
• Statement stating whether or not a Tender Bond is required
• Timetable for prequalification and tendering procedures
• Procedures for obtaining prequalification questionnaires
• Any other information that could assist prospective tenderers to decide whether

or not to request the Prequalification Documents

Prequalification documents and tendering requirements 41

6.3 Prequalification Documents

6.3.1 General

This document enlarges on the information given in the Invitation to Prequalify,
encloses prequalification forms and gives instructions regarding the completion and
return of the Prequalification Documents.

6.3.2 Information given

Items in this category are as follows:

• Date
• Title and reference of project
• Name and address of Employer
• Name, address, telephone number and facsimile number of the Client's Repre-

sentative (BPF), Design Leader or Agent, if any, issuing the Prequalification
Documents

• Location of Site with plan of Site
• Brief description of project including the size and type of construction
• Period of construction if already determined by the Employer
• Statement stating whether or not a Tender Bond is required
• Timetable for prequalification and tendering procedures
• Procedures for completing and returning prequalification questionnaires
• Type of Contract, e.g. measurement, lump sum, cost reimbursement, design

and construct (all-in)
• Name of Standard Conditions of Contract, if any, and principal features of

Supplementary Conditions such as language and law of Contract, currency,
escalation clauses, payment arrangements, advance payments

• Details of work covered by nominated subcontractors or suppliers
• Details of Performance Bond and other guarantees
• Sources of financing for project and any conditions imposed by them
• Standard of performance in broad terms
• Obligations other than construction, e.g. training
• Any other information that could assist prospective tenderers to decide whether

or not to proceed with the prequalification and tendering procedures

6.3.3 Information required

The information required from the prospective tenderers should include the following:

• Structure and organization
• Financial statement
• Joint venture information, if applicable
• Personnel resources
• Plant resources
• Current and past projects and experience in country of particular project
• Other information relative to particular project

6.4 Letters to selected and unselected contractors

Inform those contractors selected from the list of tenderers of their selection. Confirm
the intended date for issue of the Tender Documents.

If

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Prequalification documents and tendering requirements 4342 The construction documents

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In circumstances where an open tender is not legally required and wlbere the Employer
has already approved the tenders for similar work, it may be po~sible to omit the
prequalification stage. In such a case, the following items should be iincluded:

• Date
• Title and reference of project (BPF Form 4)
• Name and address of Employer (BPF Form 4)
• Name, address, telephone number and facsimile number of the Client's Repre-

sentative (BPF), Design Leader or Agent, if any, issuing the Tender Documents
(BPF Form 4)

• Location of Site with plan of Site
• Brief description of project including the size and type of <construction (BPF

Form 4)
• Period of construction if already determined by the Employ,er (BPF Form 4)
• Statement stating whether or not a Tender Bond is required-
• Timetable for tendering procedures including:

• Date when tenders are expected to be invited (BPF Foron 4)
• Date when order to commence expected to be given (BP'F Form 4)

• Procedures for completing and returning Tender Documents
• Type of Contract, e.g. measurement, lump sum, cost reimbursement, design

and construct (all-in)
• Name of Standard Conditions of Contract, if any, and pr-incipal features of

Supplementary Conditions such as language and law of Contract, currency,
escalation clauses, payment arrangements, advance paymen-ts

• Details of work covered by nominated subcontractors or sUlppliers
• Details of Performance Bond and other guarantees
• Sources of financing for project and any conditions imposed by them
• Standard of performance in broad terms
• Obligations othyr than construction, e.g. training
• Any other information that could assist prospective tenderers to decide whether

or not to proceed with the tendering procedures.

The National Joint Consultative Committee for Building (NJCC) has a standard
form in a Code ofProcedure for use with the JCT Conditions (Figuroe 6.1). Some bodies
(e.g. BPF) recommend the inclusion of the value of work but tI.is is not universal
practice. Under the BPF system, such an invitation is termed a Prelinninary Invitation as
their (Formal) Invitation to Tender accompanies the Tender Documents. The Prelimi-
nary Invitation is a standard proforma, Form 4 (Fig. 6.2).

6.5 Invitation to selected tenderers with no prequalificoation stage
Appendix A.1

Your attention is drawn to the fact that apart from the alternative clauses to the Standard
Form of Building Contract as detailed below under item j, further amendments to the
Standard Form of Building Contract, if any are annexed hereto, will be incorporated in the
tender documents.

I amlWe are authorised to prepare a preliminary list of tenderers for construction of the
works described below.

Heading

You are requested to reply by .... Your inability to accept will in no way prejudice your
opportunities for tendering for further work under my/our direction; neither will your
inclusion in the preliminary list at this stage guarantee that you will subsequently receive a
formal invitation to tender for these works.

PRELIMINARY ENQUIRY FOR INVITATION TO TENDER

Dear Sirs,

Appliceble where the Stenderd Form of Building Contrect is to be used

Please state whether you would require any additional unbound copies of the bill(s) in
addition to the two copies you would receive; a charge may be made for extra copies.

Will you please indicate whether you wish to be invited to submit a tender for these works
on this basis. Your acceptance will imply your agreement to submit a wholly bona fide
tender in accordance with the principles laid down in the 'Code of Procedure for Single
Slage Selective Tendering', and not to divulge your tender price to any person or body
before the time for submission oftenders. Once the contract has been let, I/we undertake to
supply all tenderers with a list of lhe tender prices.

Yours faithfully ...

e Job ...
b Employer ...
c Architect/Conlract Adminislrator ...
d Quantity Surveyor ...
e Consultants ...
f Location olsite... (Site plan enclosed)
g General description of work ...
h Approximate cost range £. .. to £...

Nominated sub-contractors for major items ...
Form of Contract:
Clause 15·2 VAT clause of VAT agreement willlWili not [1] apply.
Clause 19·1·2 willlWili not [1) apply.
Clause 21·2·1 Insurance may be required/is not required [1[
Clause 22A122B/22C122D wi II/wi II not [1] apply.
Clause 23·1·2 wili/will not [1] apply.
Clauses 38, 39 or 40 willlWili not [1] apply.
Clauses41·2·1/41·2·2 willlWili not [1] apply.
Formula Adjustment Part I/Part II of Formula Rules is to apply.

k Percentage to be included under Clause 38·7 or 39·8 if applicable ...
I Examination and correction of priced bill(s) (Section 6 of the Code)

Alternative l/Alternative 2 [1] will apply.
m The contract is to be under seal/under hand. 11/
n Anticipated date for possesion .
o Period for completion of works .
p Approximate date for despatch of all tender documents ...
q Tender period ... weeks.
r Tender to remain open for ... weeks [2]
s Liquidated damages (if any), anticipated value £oo. per ...

Details of Bond requirement if any.
u Particular conditions applying to the contract are ...

6.6 Tendering Requirements R"eren_ f11 Delete as appropriate, before issuing. 121 This period should be as short as possible.

6.6.1 Introduction

Before tenders may be received, prospective tenderers need specific information which
will enable them to:

• Comply with required tendering and awarding procedures
• Understand tendering and awarding requirements
• Submit tenders that will not be disqualified for technicalities

Figure 6.1 NJCC Preliminary Enquiry for Invitation to Tender. (Source: NJCC).

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