In any form of construction, interior design is one of the most critical projects and requires efficiency to acquire a successful result. When interior design is treated as a separate project from the entire construction project, it leads to complexities, and this affects the quality and time taken on the whole project. Remarkably, the bidding stage consumes a lot of time and resources and might not guarantee better customer satisfaction in the end. During the preparation of the Request for Proposals (RFP), the general contractor and project owner need to collaborate to ensure that all the important information regarding the proposing firm’s expectations is included, hence optimizing the bidding process. The bidding process can therefore be optimized by the procurement team through RFP process optimization.
General contractors usually develop RFP, which is used as a general guide by the construction firms or architects. However, failure to include some specific and adequate details about the project expectations is a major mistake that mostly occurs whenever the project owner is not present during RFP development or misses to specify their needs (Durand, 2016). In case the proposing engineering firm is provided with inadequate or unclear specific information about the project, it will be challenging to understand their client’s specific needs. Therefore, proposing firms are not able to suggest services that might align with the project. In contrast, in case of inadequate information on RFP, there might arise complications during the decision-making process by the procurement team when selecting the firm offering the best interior design services (Durand, 2016). Due to the conditions named above, there are increased chances of selecting an unskilled bidder at the expense of a competent one. Hence, taking time to develop the RFP will avoid all these complications and will ensure a smooth interior design process.
The best way to ensure that the RFP process is well optimized and functions well for a better bidding process is by following a few insightful steps during the early development of the RFP. Mostly the quality of a proposal from an engineering firm or an architecture will be directly proportional to the RFP quality (Durand, 2016). Therefore, the client must ensure they have a well-structured and well-informed RFP to get the best bidders. One of the most important steps in developing an RFP is clearly defining the objective. The construction client should define the main reason for the project to the engineering firm or the architecture. By doing so, they will put the project description into context and include drivers behind the project. The main drivers of the project might be the market condition or operations (Smith, 2017). These factors might not seem important to the engineering firms, but they will provide an insight into how the firm can support the client. With the appropriate information, the selected firm or architecture can easily align themselves as partners in the project rather than just service providers.
For the RFP to meet the client’s primary objectives, some strategies can be used, like involving internal personnel. Before issuing the RFP, some of the employees should be brought into the process to ensure that their concerns are encompassed in the scope of work concerning specific areas of the building (Smith, 2017). The client can also involve subcontractors who will, in turn, offer valuable designs input. Not forgetting the main department that is involved in the whole construction process, the finance department, involved in budget preparation. Budgeting is another important factor that should be incorporated in the RFP.
Any complete RFP should go beyond providing technical needs and include budget and scope considerations. A budget gives the bidders a chance to align their scope of services and work with the projected costs. By providing a budget, the project owner receives more accurate fees from bidders, and there are reduced discrepancies between the client and selected bidder since the expected project cost is known upfront (Sexton et al., 2020). The architects or engineering firms usually respond to the client with an estimation of work scope against the set budget. The client should have a realistic budget prepared to attract well-skilled bidders, failure to which they will attract unqualified bidders. In addition to the budget and scope, the client should also have an efficient planning process.
While planning, the client should consider the RFP as a form of communication and a precursor to starting the project. A clearly defined RFP sets the direction from which the winning bidder will start their engagement with the client’s stakeholders. In case the architect or the engineering firm is left to interpret a vague RFP, they might end up taking over the project and changing the original intent of the project (Nguyen et al., 2018). Having a guideline will easily channel the original discussions, and the scope of the project will remain aligned to the initial plans (Durand, 2016). Without proper alignment of plans, the project execution will be impacted as it moves forward. The client should also make the bidders provide a work plan outlining their approach to the set project and any examples of previous successful projects.
Finally, to properly optimize the bidding process, the client should properly evaluate the aspiring contractors and make a decision on which one to select. The client should carefully evaluate the past works of the bidders to ensure they were successful and had no delays. By doing so, they will ensure they have hired the best among them all and that they will complete the work in the stipulated time and on the set budget (Durand, 2016). Deciding on the interior designer to hire will be easier, having gone through their previous work and also interviewed them properly. Hence, evaluation is the final and very important step in RFP, and it helps the clients make the final decision on who they should hire.
The bidding process is an essential stage during interior design projects, and it can easily be optimized by the procurement team through RFP process optimization. The RFP acts as an integral part of bidding and helps the clients in planning their projects and clearly defining the objectives of the project. The RFP can be used to optimize the bidding process by following a few insightful steps during its early development. One of the main steps is clearly defining the objectives by outlining the main reason for the project to the engineering firm or the architecture, which makes the contracted firm or individual act as a partner rather than a mere service provider. Another useful step is preparing a construction budget, which ensures that the bidders provide a proposal with the appropriate design worth the budget provided. Budgeting also avoids any conflicts between the client and the hired designer since payments are discussed upfront. Finally, the client should consider proper planning of the project, evaluating previous works of the aspiring designers, and making a sober decision of selecting the best designer.
Durand, M. (2016). Four decisive steps to optimize your RFP for project success – Project Management. Healthcare Facilities Today.
Nguyen, P. H., Lines, B. C., & Tran, D. Q. (2018). Best-value procurement in design-bid-build construction projects: Empirical analysis of selection outcomes. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 144(10), 04018093.
Sexton, D., El-adaway, I. H., Abdul Nabi, M., & El Hakea, A. H. (2020). Using the simplified acquisition of base engineer requirements in construction projects: Contract administration guidelines. Journal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction, 12(3), 04520018.
Smith, A. J. (2017). Estimating, tendering and bidding for construction work. Macmillan International Higher Education.