Bidding Is Against Client Interest

by John T. Merrifield, (F.ASCE), Vice Pres. and Chf. Engr.; Moffatt, Nichol & Bonney, Inc., Portland, OR,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 3, Pg. 389-392

Document Type: Journal Paper


Selecting an engineer or an architect on the basis of the lowest price can easily result in construction that is initially more costly, and more expensive to maintain, since it tends to discourage imaginative planning and design as well as alternate solutions. Some numbers quickly show the pennywise and pound foolish economics of competitive bidding from the owner's point of view. Assuming a savings of even as much as 25% of the design fee (normally between 5 and 10% of project cost), this saving in total project cost of 1-1/4 to 2-1/2% can be lost many times over through inadequate or incomplete planning and design. The professional engineer or architect must be free and eager, within the limitations of a soundly established, mutually accepted budget, to find the most efficient design for the client.

Subject Headings: Construction costs | Bids | Client relationships | Architects | Building design | Project management | Pricing | Construction management

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