- Eliot Cooper
Remediation design and field implementation are critical to a project’s success, but an equally important component is often given much less attention: the Request for Proposal (RFP).
When the RFP requirements are too vaguely worded, a bidder may miss the mark when designing and implementing the solution. Overly detailed and restrictive requirements, however, limit the bidder's creativity and stifle innovation. The skill with which a consultant creates an RFP can dictate the quality of a bidder's response and, consequently, the success or failure of their resulting remediation work. That’s why it’s important to understand how to write an effective RFP.
In this blog post, I’ll cover the basics about what belongs in your RFP. If you’d like to dive a little deeper, register for next week’s webinar, Can Your RFP Influence In Situ Groundwater Remediation Costs and Results? I’ll be going into more detail and taking questions during the Q&A.
Investopedia defines an RFP “as a business document that announces and provides details about a project, as well as solicits bids from contractors who will help complete the project.”
For remediation, the “project” is the cleanup of a contaminated site, typically with both soil and groundwater contamination. The “details” of the project help the contractor develop a remediation approach and costs, and include the site description and statement of work (SOW). “Complete” refers to meeting remediation objectives over a specified timeline, which can range from long term monitored natural attenuation (MNA) and institutional controls or all the way to achieving safe groundwater standards.
There are multiple goals an RFP should accomplish. A few of the most common include:
As mentioned above, an RFP typically contains two important sections: the site description and the statement of work (SOW). A third and equally important section explains to contractors what they need to do to present a bid. This includes guidance to bidders about how to prepare a proposal as well as how qualifying proposals will be evaluated. If there are any non-negotiable contract clauses or payment terms for the project, those also must be included in the RFP.
The site description is a key component of the RFP and defines the actual conditions the bidder will encounter on the project site. This is probably the most important aspect of an RFP. It is also a potential source of confusion due to lack of information. In most cases where change orders are initiated by the successful bidder, variation between actual versus described site conditions are the root cause.
A complete site description should include:
A statement of work section documents the expectations you have of the winning bidder once work begins. It’s important for this to be clearly outlined in the RFP so contractors understand exactly what they need to price out and estimate for you.
The statement of work should include:
In addition to these two key components of the RFP, the actual qualification of bidders should to be evaluated. Representative and referenceable projects should include similar lithology, target interval depths, injection equipment, and amendments. Just as important, the qualifications and experience of the proposed bidder’s design and field implementation team.
There’s a lot that goes into crafting a well-written RFP, but the results are worth it. If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your RFP skills, join me next week at the webinar.