Last edited 04 Nov 2020


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A proposal is a plan, idea, suggestion or offer that is put forward by one party to another for consideration. It may form the basis of negotiations, and may be accepted or rejected.

In terms of construction, a proposal typically takes the form of a competitive bid that is put forward with the intention of winning business, for example, quotes from suppliers or subcontractors, concept designs from architects, tenders from contractors, detailed designs from specialist contractors, and so on.

The process of selecting consultants might involve the preparation by the client of a 'request for proposals' (RFP) which is sent out to each prospective consultant. The request for proposals describes the nature of the project, the nature of the appointment and a description of the information required from the consultant. Consultants respond by submitting 'consultant's proposals' to the client.

Consultant’s proposals might include the following:

For more information, see Consultant’s proposals.

Consultants proposals may also be referred to as 'fee proposals'.

Seeking proposals from a contractor or other supplier (rather than a consultant) is generally referred to as a tender process. Typically this involves an invitation to tender issued by the client, and then bids submitted by contractors or other suppliers.

For more information see: Tender process.

The exact phrase 'contractor's proposals' may be used specifically to refer to documentation prepared by prospective contractors for design and build projects or on a traditional contract where the contractor is to design discrete parts of the works. They are prepared in response to employer's requirements which provide a description of the client's requirements, including the specification for the building, the scope of services required and an allocation of risk for unknown items.

The contractor's proposals set out their proposals for designing and constructing the project, along with their price.

For more information, see Contractor’s proposals.

The term proposals may also be used in relation to documentation submitted to obtain planning permission or building regulations approval, or any other form of design submission. Here the term 'proposal' is typically used to distinguish between existing and proposed designs.

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