Disclaimer: Please take note that this is my opinion and none of the comments below are intended to cause offence and do not point to any professional in particular.
Ok, as someone (who is not a contractor / tenderer / sub-contractor / vendor etc.) who has to obtain electronic bills of quantities from professionals, I have to state unequivocally, that I do not understand why all bills of quantities are not available in an electronic format. I understand that those electronic bills may only be available to the contractors who are tendering on the contract, but I believe there should still be electronic bills.
Some of the reasons we are given are:
1. Client does not want the electronic bill released.
2. Bill is only released to the tenderers who have purchased the tender document and attended the site inspection.
3. Bill is only released to everyone who attended the site inspection.
4. There are no electronic bills.
5. The consultant does not want his format available for anyone to copy.
6. There are some people who will try to tender on the contract without having purchased the tender documents.
My thoughts on these reasons are:
1. Why not? Does the client not realise that the electronic format is easier for redistribution to vendors, suppliers and sub-contractors? It is easier to re-incorporate the prices that are received back and makes it easier to compile prices. If it is easier for the contractor (and by extension, the vendors, suppliers and sub-contractors) to gather the prices, make sense of them and fill in the tender document, then it is probably going to mean that the client will receive better bids.
2. I have no problem with this reason, but in favour of making it easier for us to obtain the electronic bill, it would be great if you would provide us with the name of the person you sent it to at the specific contracting company, so that we can advise our contact at that company, who they need to contact in order for them to provide us with the electronic bill.
3. Please see point 2 above.
4. This is rather difficult to believe as there are various programs (WinQS, Bill, CCS, excel, etc.) which are available for use. Adobe is also used and although not optimal, it is definitely preferred over a scanned file any day.
5. Sorry to say, but most bills are in the same format already, irrespective of who the consultant was that drew it up.
6. So what? If they hand in an electronic copy of the bill or even, a printed out version of the bill, so what? The tender state clearly that only the filled in ORIGINAL tender documents will be accepted as a valid bid. Therefore, any and all bids submitted that are not filled in original tender documents should be void and it shouldn’t affect any of the other tenderers submissions.
In conclusion, the reasons we are requesting an electronic bill of quantities are:
A. Our subscribers (contractors), who are tendering on this contract (therefore they will purchase the tender documents and attend the site inspection), would like us to upload the bill on our Electronic Pricing System so that they can send it out to their suppliers / vendors / sub-contractors.
B. A vendor / supplier / subcontractor is interested in seeing if anything is on the bill that they supply or do, so that they can supply the contractors who are tendering on this project with prices (this is usually helped by an accompanying site register, so that they know who to submit their prices to…hint hint)
This should be a win-win situation for everyone concerned, so please, please be nice and provide electronic BoQ’s (even if it is just to the contractors:)).