In our nineteen years of providing Owner’s Representative services, we have created and responded to many requests for proposals. The RFP document is critical to getting you the best responses. A poorly structured RFP can lead to a quick no/go from candidates that you would want to work with. Well-written RFPs provide clear direction and clear information related to the project’s current status, program, and goals. All too often RFPs are issued outlining the scope of services and general project descriptions but lack information related to funding and schedules. Risk drives costs, Owner’s, you should make an effort to include this critical information so the design team, contractors, or Owner’s representatives can provide you with a comprehensive response. Why is this so important?

  1. Fees for many consultants are based on the scope of services, budget, and timeline. Without this information, explicitly provided teams will generate their own assumptions could lead to misaligned fees, deferred contract negotiations, or potential add services.
  2. This expedites the process. We recently had to resubmit fees on a project after the client had varying timelines. They had to allow the responding teams a week to update their proposal and a week for review. One of the submitting parties dropped out as they won another project and could no longer commit their staff to the pursuit.
  3. Knowing the project is funded reduces the risk of the snowplow effect.
  4. Having a schedule sheds light on the potential for the snowplow effect.

So, what is the snowplow effect? Coloradoans know a thing or two about snowstorms, but we also know we are blessed with 50-degree days soon after. Even though it’s not snowing, the full-time snowplow drivers are still getting paid. The same is true when your projects pause, and the consultant teams who thought the project was on rails are now delated and submitting additional cost requests due to downtime. Gaps in funding and schedules that cause the team to pause cost your project overhead dollars. Projects of meaningful size require that the teams dedicate staff to projects, and those costs are often assigned per month. Consultants and contractors can use the downtime on other projects, but this is a filler, just as snowplow drivers might fill in with alternative driving tasks. When possible, build a schedule that creates the momentum of a freight train and demonstrate your project is funded and ready to proceed all the way to close out without stopping.

Paul Wember, President