Best Practices in Developing Public Construction Bid Documents

Non Accredited

   CH Classroom 7.5 Icon

Objectives and Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Identify the roles and functions of the key components of bid documents
  • Assess what topics should be addressed in which section of the bid documents
  • Articulate essential principles that drive the development of bid documents
  • Evaluate areas for improvement in your agency’s bid documents
  • Develop steps to ensure your agency’s standard bid documents don’t get corrupted

Intended Audience

General Audience


This practical and interactive course examines the best practices for developing the structure and content of public construction bid documents, using the traditional low bid, or Design-Bid-Build method of obtaining construction services. What provisions and requirements help make bid documents effective, clear, protest-resistant, and promote effective contract administration during the project? In addition to covering basic principles for development of bid documents, the course unpacks detailed provisions in key components of bid documents including the advertisement, instructions to bidders, the bid form, public works contract, general conditions, specifications, bonds and other forms, and addenda. Students in the course are encouraged to bring a sample bid document from their agency to the course for discussion of key provisions in small group discussions. The course also covers strategies for protecting and controlling standard boilerplate documents from inadvertent or piecemeal changes. This course complements When Bad Things Happen to Bids: Strategies for Ensuring a Successful Public Construction Project and Tools for Ensuring Contractor Performance on Public Construction Projects.

Course Outline

Principles of Preparation

Formats and Structures

  • Organizational Structures
  • Content Based Systems
  • What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Industry Approved Documents?

Components of Bid Documents

  • Advertisement for Bids
  • Instructions to Bidders
  • Bid Form
  • Payment and Performance Bonds
  • Bidding and Contract Reporting Forms
  • Contract
  • General Conditions / Specifications
  • Technical Specifications
  • Prevailing Wages
  • Specialty Reports and Studies
  • Addenda

Project Review of Bid Documents

  • Do the Bid Documents Reflect Your Objectives?
  • What Provisions Should You Tailor to a Project?
  • Who Should Review the Documents Before Advertisement?

Long Term Review of Bid Documents

  • Baseline Review
  • Annual Review
  • Internal and External Consistency
  • Training

Document Management and Control

  • How Can You Protect Your Standard Documents?
  • Where Should the Standard Documents be Electronically Stored?
  • Who Should Make Changes to Your Standard Documents?
  • How Can You Keep Track of Changes?


1 Day Course

Textbook provided

Key 7
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