Step 17. Monitor bids and review any material, system, finish or hardware substitutions to ensure that design objectives, especially the "built to last" goal, are not compromised.
"In a perfect world, construction bids would come in at - or even under - your construction budget. Unfrotunately, the world is rarely perfect and you will probably be forced to make some substitutions and trade-offs to bring the bids in line with your budget. It is essential at this stage that the most important design components in your project aren't compromised by these trade-offs. Fighting hard for these components now will ensure that the final product - even with some trade-offs and substitutions - will achieve the design quality you are aiming for."
National Institute of Building Sciences,
Tools for Step 17
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Why is this step important?
During the bid process contractors may propose substitutions to the systems and materials listed on the working drawings and in the specifications. If the cost estimates up to and during the contract documents phase are accurate, such substitutions should not be significant or numerous. Nonetheless, some substitutions can be expected over the course of bidding.
It is important to closely evaluate these substitutions to ensure that key components of the project - the components that you have already identified as critical to design quality - are not compromised. This will help ensure that the project is built "as designed" and that the quality fought for so hard over the course of development is achieved.
When should this step be done?
Who should do this step?
The owner/developer and the design team, with input from the property manager.
What should be done?
- Review all bids received and note all proposed substitutions.
- Cross reference the substitutions with the prioritized lists of design components, materials and systems, and finishes and hardware that have been developed in Step 13, Step 15 and Step 16.
- Determine whether the proposed substitutions compromise any of the prioritized components and, if so, develop strategies for either accommodating these compromises or reinstating the component as originally designed or specified.
- If compromise is inevitable, consider favoring the public realm over the private. In other words, consider trade-offs that help the more permanent, "public" face of the development truly enhance its neighborhood, even at the expense of interior items which are less visible and more easily replaced or modified.
- Print Key Bid Substitutions Form and list the key proposed substitutions in the final bid - those that impact your prioritized design, construction and finish components - together with a description of how the substitutions meet the design intent of the project or, if they do not, why this is acceptable. Add the completed form to the Project Book.
How can doing this help move my project forward?
- Using previously developed lists of prioritized items - design components, materials and systems, finishes and hardware - will make the decision-making process concerning substitutions simpler and more systematic. The result will be a clearer and speedier bid process.