Home Contact Us
Contact Us

Section 1 Information Requirements

Section 2 Design Procedure

Description:  The purpose of this unit is to enable you to identify the pre-tender information required for construction and building services engineering tenders.

Author:  Gates MacBain Associates

Section 1  Information Requirements

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Discuss the procedure for obtaining information prior to the production of a tender.

Before a tender can be produced for any type of contract it is necessary to obtain all relevant information to ensure that an accurate tender is produced. A great deal of this information is provided by the client.  

The Client may thus be need ‘advising’ - educating in the phases of the construction project and the consequences and effects (particularly in cost); getting it right first time is not necessarily compatible with speed of design or construction. To further complicate the design many Clients may know little about mechanical and electrical services and will leave this exclusively to the Engineering Design Engineer but still assume that the completed building will fulfil their requirements and expectations in full. 

The Clients role in spending time with the designers in the initial stages is vital if the building and services are to meet their requirements, all too often the client leaves too much to others and this results in a building and services which does not fulfill the clients requirements.  

Before the design of a building can be agreed it will be necessary to ensure that not only the design meets the client’s requirements but also that the costing is acceptable.  The quantity surveyor will have produced an initial cost estimate which will have been agreed by the client to ensure that they are within the client’s budget for the project.   

If there is a variance between the costed project and the budget available the architect/designer/engineer will need to reassess the design, or the materials specified or reached some agreement with the client, which will reduce the overall costs. 

When considering Building Services an issue may well be the co-ordination of the services within a structure and the programming of operations.  

The challenges of the building design and co-ordination of engineering services commences very early in the overall construction process; all too often the main structure is designed by the Architect and Structural Engineer, (particularly in the primary stages) and the aesthetics and structural stability established. This design forms the basis of the initial submission to the Client, usually accompanied by a basic specification and outline cost estimate.  

The estimate may include a Prime Cost sum for engineering services but it is likely that the overall cost has been established by approximate estimating techniques without any regard for the type and quality of the engineering services required; basic services only having been included; any specialist services needed being considered as extra and no doubt the subject of a variation. 

The use of competitive tendering between construction companies the design stage often for package deal contracts exacerbates the problem.  

Unless the building is for a specific and specialist purpose little thought may have been given to service installation and the usual standbys of suspended ceilings, raised floors and circulation area ducts will prevail. 

Architects may have limited experience of engineering service design and by the time that the Services Design Engineer has been consulted the ceiling heights and general layout of the building are established.  The question then is how to fit in the services rather than how best to integrate the services during initial design, this should be avoided. 

Greater co-ordination of engineering services requirements at the initial building design stages will result in a greater efficiency of construction and produce service. Though consideration should be given to the inclusion, allowing for maintenance and commissioning though, where possible concealing from view. 

At the construction phase engineering services should be capable of ‘right first time’ installation in a cost efficient manner. 

It is essential therefore, to identifying the client’s requirement at the commencement of the construction design. It must be accepted that to many clients the construction phase of the new property is considered as a delay in the use of the building or manufacturing process and they are anxious to proceed with construction in the shortest time possible. 

The Architect, Structural and Services Design Engineer must work together to establish the design and co-ordinate the installation of services it is not possible to separated the design function from the installation and commissioning of services without leaving areas of potentially contractual claims. 

The phases of a construction project with particular reference to the integration of services can be found in the constructionsite unit Phases of a Building Services Project which can be accessed from the link below. 

Pre -tender design information requirements is considered in Preparation and Design stages of the Building Services Job Book, the publication Soft Landings Framework and the constructionsite unit Production of Estimates  



  • BSRIA (2009) Building Services Job Book, BRSIA: Bracknell
  • BSRIA BG4/2009, The Soft Landings Framework, BRSIA Imagedata Group
  • BRE, Information Paper - Whole Building Commissioning 69.02.
  • Brook M. (2010) Estimating and Tendering for Construction Work,  Elsevier: Oxford
  • CIOB (2009) Code of Estimating Practice,  Wiley Blackwell: Oxford

Constructionsite Units

Self-Assessment Task

  • Determine how the communication processes between Architect and Building Services Engineer could be improved and bullet point you main findings.

Section 2  Design Procedures

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Discuss the design procedure and its effect on the production of a tender.

BSRIA Publication Building Services Job Book (see Publications) Stage 1 considers the role of ‘preparation’ work before the design process commences and includes activity checklists to determine processes and procedures are pro-actively addressed.  This stage moves on to consider the clients brief and again produces checklist and action plans to cover and encompass design information and surveys requirements including quality plans, master schedules, cost planning, risk-planning, CDM and energy performance all with reference to the regulations and legislation applicable. 

Stage 2 of this publication considers the design stage of construction with reference to the role of the building services discipline and contains extensive checklists and comments; together with sources of additional information.  It links the stages to the RIBA stages (See Websites noted under RIBA and RIBA Mapped with OGC Gateway)  to clarify the liaison requirement between architect and services design engineer, so important if co-ordination of design and construction is to be achieved. 

Whilst this unit is concerned mainly with pre-tender information requirements the publication as a whole considers each phase of preparation design, pre-construction, construction, commissioning, pre-handover, initial occupation and post occupation. These are linked to the RIBA plan of work stages and the OGC Gateway stages some informative Video presentations may be accessed by using the OGC Gateway website. 

The publication Building Services Job Book is an excellent as a source of reference for those involved in the design to commissioning of buildings and their aftercare and contains extensive tools and templates. 

The BRSIA publication The Soft Landings Framework; (noted in Publications and also on the Websites), considers how the design, construction, operation and feedback can be used to improve the design process.  

In the publications own words:  

‘Soft Landings provides a unified vehicle for engaging with outcomes throughout the process of briefing, design and delivery.  It dovetails with energy performance certification, building logbooks, green leases, and corporate social responsibility’. 

‘It can run alongside any procurement process.  It helps design and building teams to appreciate how buildings are used, managed and maintained.’ 

‘It provides the best opportunity for producing low-carbon buildings that meet their design targets. It includes fine-tuning in the early days of occupation and provides a natural route for post-occupancy evaluation.’ 

‘It costs very little, well within the margin of competitive bids.  During design and construction, Soft Landings helps performance-related activities to be carried out more systematically.  There is some extra work during the three-year aftercare period, but the costs are modest in relation to the value added to the client’s building.’ 

‘Most of all, Soft Landings creates virtuous circles for all and offers the best hope for truly integrated, robust and sustainable design.’ 

Additional publications listed below contain supporting information which can be located via the index and these should also be consulted.  The constructionsite units listed also provide additional relevant information. 


  • BSRIA (2009) Building Services Job Book; BRSIA: Bracknell
  • BSRIA BG4/2009 (2009) The Soft Landings Framework; BRSIA Usable Buildings Trust
  • CIOB (2009) Code of Estimating Practice; 7th Edition,  Wiley - Blackwell
  • Brook M. (2010) Estimating and Tendering for Construction Work, 4th Edition, Oxford:  Elsevier
  • BRE, (2004) Information Paper - Whole Building Commissioning; BRE: Watford  

Constructionsite Units

Self-Assessment Task

  • List and discuss the procedures that will be carried out in order to ensure that the design meets the requirements of the client.

Site Map