5 Tips + 3 Examples to Submit the Best Damn Construction RFP Ever
The RFP (request for proposal) process has become a staple of the modern construction industry for procurement teams and construction firms. In the past, many firms relied primarily on their reputation and word-of-mouth referrals to sustain themselves. Not as much anymore…
The prominence of smartphones, social media, and digital marketing techniques have significantly altered the landscape - as responding to RFPs is now one of the most common ways for construction companies to find work.
There are a few other current industry trends that are affecting how procurement teams and construction firms approach RFPs, including:
Sustainable practices and diversity. A trend that’s emerged in recent years is that many organizations and firms prioritize relationships with companies that share their values. It’s now common to see questions regarding sustainability and diversity in construction RFPs.
Quality can supersede price. While price is always a factor when selecting a construction firm, it’s typically not the most important. An organization’s ultimate goal is to discover a high-quality firm they trust will equally invest in the success of their project - which can take precedence over finding the lowest price.
On the procurement side, being able to write and submit a detailed construction RFP is a must for narrowing down and ultimately selecting the best construction company for your needs.
The process may seem a tad intimidating if you’ve never written a construction RFP before.
Yet, with the proper knowledge, wisdom, and software tools by your side, there’s no reason you can’t learn to master writing requests for proposals.
That’s why we’ve compiled 5 helpful tips to write RFP construction templates that you can save and automate to save a ton of time. Along the way, you’ll get to view 3 RFP examples from real-life construction projects to get an idea of what goes into a successful construction proposal request.
5 Tips to Create Detailed RFPs That Lead to the Best Responses
Before you download a random template, it’s crucial to note that not all construction RFPs are of the same quality.
You don’t want to wind up with an RFP that’s ineffective at attracting responses, as that’s a waste of time and resources.
You also don’t want to get stuck in a relationship with a construction firm that isn’t right for your needs, which is why you need to know how to write a stand-out construction RFP.
Here are 7 helpful tips to consider when drafting a construction request.
1: Ask the Firm to Describe the Management Approach They’ll Use for Their Project
You need to ensure that the firm you choose has a suitable management style that will lead to success. It’s one thing for a construction company to present great ideas, but it’s another thing to have a clear path laid out and a track record of successfully executing those ideas.
For this reason, you should always include questions about a firm’s management approach in your requests. Specifics to inquire about include:
How the firm handles preconstruction services
How they’ll communicate with you and their team
Any quality control measures they have in place
How they intend to make your project a reality (including a timeline)
The idea here is to ask targeted questions to see if the firm or company’s way of doing things is a suitable fit for your organization.
2: Ask for Previous Experience Working on Similar Projects
Next, you’ll want to gain confidence in the firm’s ability to tackle your particular project.
As such, you should include a spot on your RFP where you ask the firm to provide previous experience from similar construction projects.
It’s a good idea to ask for specific references from other organizations where they completed projects of similar scope and complexity.
You can also ask the firms to include pictures of their past work to gauge the quality of their work visually.
3: Coordinate with Key Stakeholders
Before putting pen to paper (literal or digital) on an RFP, you’ll need to ensure you understand the full complexities of the construction project, why it’s needed, and who it will affect the most.
After all, the point of an RFP is to solve problems for your organization - so you need to understand the problem completely.
The best way to do that is to conduct a meeting with the project’s key stakeholders, which is called the requirements discovery process.
It’s also wise to include IT, legal, accounting, and other departments in the process if they’re even slightly affected by it. That will ensure the RFP you come up with accurately reflects your organization’s needs, and that you won’t omit anything essential or unintentionally step on another department’s toes.
4: Use a Multi-Step Process
Many organizations view RFPs as the only document they need to send to request vendor information. While you can certainly exclusively use RFPs to find suitable vendors, there are other RFx processes that can make the process quicker and easier.
For example, you could start by sending out an RFQ (request for qualifications) before you send an RFP to a list of construction firms.
An RFQ asks each vendor to provide their qualifications to see if they’re capable of completing your project, which can help narrow down your list of vendors before sending out RFPs (which tend to be far more detailed).
5: Leverage RFP Software Tools
Manually creating an RFP takes a lot of time and effort, which is why you need to leverage RFx software to expedite the process.
A tool like DeepStream will enable you to save your most used RFP construction templates, questions, and processes so you can automate them in the future.
3 RFP Construction Examples to Inspire Your Creativity
Is the construction RFP process still making you scratch your head? Can you not seem to come up with any relevant vendor questions to ask?
If so, these 3 real-world construction RFPs should help get your creative juices flowing.
1: Jefferson County: RFP for Construction Management Services
This RFP from Jefferson County, Oregon, details a request for project management services for the construction of a new courthouse. It includes a thorough description of the project, a calendar of events, and the specific capabilities/requirements they need. Also, note that they include a section for their preferred response format.
2: The Center for Planning Excellence: RFP for a Model Development Code
In this RFP from the Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) in Louisiana, they’re looking for a firm to create a model development code (MDC). They include sections for the project background, deliverables, selection criteria, and budget.
3: City of Rockville: RFP for Updating a Neighborhood
This RFP is from the city of Rockville, Maryland, and they’re looking for a construction firm to update one of their neighborhoods. Note that they’ve included an entire section on conditions and instructions for their bidders, including their unique terms and conditions.
RFP Construction Software to Save You Time & Money
Those are the top ways to develop construction RFPs that attract the most attention from high-quality firms and companies.
Remember to coordinate with your key stakeholders beforehand to flesh out the needs for your particular project.
Also, leveraging software tools like DeepStream will help you save precious time and resources.
Our cloud-based platform can automate your RFx workflows, track all your responses, and ultimately help you make the most informed decision on who to select for your construction project. Set up typically only takes 2 days - so don’t wait to try it out today.