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09 May, 2014

Proposals from the Owner's Perspective

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Read time: 2 minutes, 27 seconds

Ever wonder what owners are really thinking as they review your proposal? Do beautiful pictures and eye catching graphics truly influence buying decisions? What do they wish no one would ever do? Nancy Gordon-Brooks of Truland quizzed Brett Snyder LEED AP, Vice President of Construction for JBGR on the proposal review process at his company and how owners really receive proposal content.

Q: With regard to proposals, what is your role at JBGR?

A: I, along with my team receive proposals during the bid process for new/renovation construction projects from architects, contractors, inspection/testing agencies, and other service provides that do work with our company.

Q: How long have you been reviewing proposals?

A: I have been reviewing proposals in different roles since the beginning of my career in the industry: 18 years.

Q: How many other people typically review proposals for the same project?

A: On my projects, one person is reviewing and consolidating the major points of the proposal in depth and two others are likely strategically reviewing and or opinion on the recommended selection.

Q: When you review proposals, do you use score sheets, checklists, or similar tools?

A: Depending on the detail of the scope required, most likely yes. Again more to make sure everyone has the same scope and or to clearly note the differences in the proposals and give a good clear distinction between proposals.

Q: What kinds of things have you seen offerors do that makes it easier for you as a reviewer to evaluate their proposals?

A: I want to see key team member resumes, similar projects to what our project is, anticipated schedule, pricing broken down into specific tasks or a standardized budget, concise – project specific clarifications/qualifications, and then any other very project specific items noted in the RFP. It is very important that the offeror fill out the scope sheet and clearly include adds and value engineering proposals at the bottom. This helps us figure out how much value is being offered and understanding of how they can help the overall project.

Q: To what extent do photos, rendering, and other graphics assist in understanding what it is that the offeror is proposing?

A: I think graphics can be over utilized. I think helpful when using as similar projects or as an org. chart of the company or team, but otherwise, not necessary.

Q: What types of things do offerors do that make it harder for you to understand what it is that they are proposing or for you to evaluate and score the proposals?

A: Companies sometimes are trying to fit proposals into their standard company proposal form and it makes a simple scope and/or bid too complicated. Just because the bid binder is bigger, doesn’t usually translate to better.

Q: Is there anything that you regularly see in proposals that you think is unnecessary or that you wish offerors would stop doing and why?

A: I always want to see what the team members that will be on the team recently built that is relevant. . . . having the resume for the office head of projects that they built 15 years ago, and will hopefully never have get involved in the project, isn’t relevant.

Q: Has the quality of proposals changed over the past five years and if so, how has it changed?

A: I don’t think it has changed that drastically. I think a lot more is just sent over [in] .pdf form, so the online viewing / formatting is probably a lot more important now than it once was. Viewing and reviewing from pad devices [is] also happening a lot more.

Contributed by: Nancy Gordon-Brooks, Truland