What are pre-bid meetings?
Pre-bid meetings are gatherings scheduled after an invitation for bids or request for proposals is advertised. They are called pre-bid meetings because they are pertinent to procurement of goods, non-consultant services and works. When they are scheduled for consulting services, they are called pre-proposal meetings. These meetings, also called conferences, are scheduled during the preparation of the solicitation documents (invitation for bids or request for proposals) and the date, time and venue are mentioned in these documents so that all prospective bidders and consultants can become aware of them.
What is the purpose of pre-bid meetings?
The objective of pre-bid meetings is to explain the details of the solicitation documents to interested bidders. Prospective bidders are permitted to request clarifications on the invitation for bids or request for proposals by a stipulated date, and the pre-bid meeting is held within that period.
Why are pre-bid meetings held?
When preparing solicitation documents, especially the terms of reference, technical specifications and scope of work, it’s important to determine if there is need for a pre-bid meeting. The complexity of these documents should be taken into consideration and a decision made in consultation with the departments involved in contributing to the preparation of the solicitation documents.
Pre-bid meetings are held to clarify the technical and procurement aspects of the solicitation documents. They are arranged for more complex procurements in order to discuss the technical and procurement requirements with prospective bidders, listen to their concerns, and take them into consideration in order to improve the solicitation documents. The intent is to give bidders sufficient information to help them submit a bid or proposal that responds to the requirement.
Who conducts pre-bid meetings?
Pre-bid meetings are organized and held by the procuring entity at a venue agreed together with the requesting entity. The procuring entity, with the participation of the technical team that contributed to the preparation of the terms of reference or technical specifications and scope of work, prepares the agenda for this meeting. While attendance should not be mandatory, prospective bidders should be encouraged to attend.
When are pre-bid meetings held?
Pre-bid meetings should be held one week or more after the initial announcement of the invitation for bids or request for proposals. The reason for this is to allow prospective bidders enough time to get, read and study the solicitation documents, and prepare a request for clarification, if any.
It is also better to hold the pre-bid and respond to request for clarifications about two weeks before the bid or proposal submission date. This is to allow the procuring entity to prepare and send responses to bidders request for clarification after concluding the pre-bid meeting, and give bidders enough time to take the responses into consideration when preparing their bids or proposals.
Where are pre-bid meetings held?
The venue of the pre-bid meeting should be easily accessible to the target market. It could be a rented venue or a government provided facility. Although bidders will assume the cost of attending a pre-bid meeting, effort must be made to keep the cost as low as possible because it is logical to assume all cost incurred by bidders will be reflected in the bids or proposals submitted. So holding the pre-bid nearest to where target bidders are located would help to reduce the overall cost of the bidding process
How are pre-bid meeting conducted?
An agenda should be prepared to arrange how the pre-bid meeting will be carried out. An indicative pre-bid meeting schedule follows:
- Opening remarks and introduction
- Presentation on the procurement aspect of the requirement
- Questions and answers on the procurement aspects
- Presentation on the technical aspects of the requirement
- Question and answers on the technical aspects
- Closing remarks
A representative of the procuring entity should be present and should discuss the entire solicitation document. A summary of each sections should be given and bidders allowed to ask questions.
The technical aspect of the requirement should also be discussed, giving bidders the technical details of the requirement, and they should be allowed to ask questions.
Questions and answers could also be left until the end of both the procurement and the technical presentation.
There should also be someone at the pre-bid in charge of capturing all questions and answers so they can be put into the minutes of the pre-bid meeting, which is sent to all bidders that attended and those that requested or obtained the solicitation documents. Although it may not be possible to answer all questions raised at the pre-bid meeting, a written response addressing all questions, must be sent to all bidders by the date stipulated in the solicitation documents.