Construction Bidding Requirements

Guidelines for Preparing Project Specifications: Bidding Requirements

When a project manual is issued for competitive bids it is often necessary to include documents to assist prospective bidders in preparing and submitting a bid. This Spec Topic looks at several of these documents.

Types of Bidding:


  • An Advertisement for Bids is issued to invite qualified bidders to submit a bid for the proposed work.
  • Any bidder that meets the stated qualifications may submit a bid.
  • Almost always required when public funds are involved.


  • An Invitation to Bid, or a simple letter, is issued to bidders selected by the Owner to request the submission of a bid for the proposed work.
  • Typically used on privately funded projects.

Bidding Requirements:

Since their job is complete when bids are received, the Bidding Requirements are typically not a part of the construction contract. The possible exception is the Bid Form, which is sometimes incorporated.

Bidding Requirements Include:

Advertisement for Bids:

  • Used to attract bidders, inform them of the nature of the project, and help them decide whether or not to obtain Bidding Documents.
  • Provides information about when and where bids will be received and how to obtain Bidding Documents.
  • On publicly funded projects a legal advertisement is typically required.  Published in several local or regional newspapers or online publications prior to receipt of bids.

Topics often covered by the Advertisement for Bids include:

  • Introduction to project: Discusses issues such as a brief description of the project, type of contract to be executed, and whether or not bid security is required.
  • Bidding Documents: How and where Bidding Documents can be obtained.
  • Bidder qualifications: Previous experience, bonding capabilities, and other requirements.
  • Pre-bid conference: When and where a pre-bid conference will be held, if any, and who may or must attend.
  • Site examination: Access to existing buildings or in gated locations.

Instructions to Bidders:

These are the requirements with which bidders must comply for the submission of bids.

Often preprinted form by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Engineers Joint Contract Documents Council (EJCDC), and Design/Build Institute of America (DBIA).  Which are incorporated by reference rather than being included in the documents.

AIA Document A701 – Instructions to Bidders, includes articles on definitions, bidder’s representations, bidding documents, bidding procedures, consideration of bids, post-bid information, performance and payment bond, enumeration of the proposed Contract Documents.

Information Available to Bidders:

  • This group of documents includes information prepared by others and made available to bidders.
  • May include geotechnical data, existing conditions surveys, hazardous material surveys, and property surveys among others.

Bid Form:

  • This document provides the format for the submission of bids.
  • May include blanks for base and alternate bid amounts, contractor fees, unit prices, number of days for construction, and information on the bidder.

Bid Form Supplements:

These are documents submitted along with or after the submission of bids.

May include such documentation as a list of subcontractors, base bid breakdown, and non-collusion affidavits.

To learn more about specifying Advertisement for Bids and other editable specification templates, visit our SimpleSpecs catalog.

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