Tenders are going in the bin

To avoid offending their clients, some contractors have taken to the practice of returning tenders with vastly inflated prices, so that they have no hope of winning. They believe that this is somehow preferable to simply ignoring or refusing the request.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  September 16, 2006

|~||~||~|To avoid offending their clients, some contractors have taken to the practice of returning tenders with vastly inflated prices, so that they have no hope of winning.

They believe that this is somehow preferable to simply ignoring or refusing the request.

Now, property developers are sensitive flowers as we know and it is easy to hurt their feelings.

But failing to respond to an invitation to bid should hardly be viewed in the same way as snubbing an invitation to their only daughter’s birthday party might be.

I mean come on. These are people who demolish orphanages and concrete over archeological remains for a living. They can deal with it.

This week Construction Week interviewed some of the largest building contractors operating in the UAE and asked them what proportion of bid invitations they responded to.

While the answers were phrased differently, most said broadly the same thing, although the most amusing response came from the general manager of a major Dubai-based building contractor, which went as follows:

“We throw about 25% in the bin straight away, then for another 25% we get our secretary to write nice letters politely refusing the invitation, and she is getting very good at these letters by the way. For another 25% we return prices that we know are too expensive and then for the final 25% we prepare serious bids.”

No word of a lie, that is what he said. It was the most refreshingly honest thing a contractor had told me for some time and an indication of just how busy, not to mention bizarre, the market has become.

I’m sure it also clears a lot of things up for some of the more recently arrived developers, who may have been questioning the efficiency of the local postal system, after several weeks of waiting for their tender documents to be returned to them.

And I suppose it means that if you’re a developer looking to find yourself a contractor in the UAE these days, you probably have a 75% chance of being ignored, rejected or ridiculed.

I’m not sure which is worse.||**||

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