George Brown College students use bids&tenders for competitive simulation

The COVID-19 pandemic made the 2020-2021 academic year dramatically different for George Brown College students. For third-year students in the Construction Management program, it meant the cancellation of the Construction Institute of Canada’s annual bid competition. George Brown had been sending its students to this competition for 25 years, and were scrambling to fill the empty spot it left in the curriculum.

Bill Nichols, Professor at the Angelo DelZotto School of Construction Management at George Brown College, connected with Mike Murray of the Grand Valley Construction Association for assistance. Murray connected Nichols with Link2Build and bids&tenders.

The bids&tenders team was able to set George Brown students up with a live version of the platform for them to use. Because bids&tenders has the capability to post projects, publish addenda, mediate Q&A, receive online submissions, and even accept e-bonds, entirely online, it was the ideal platform to meet the requirements of the bidding competition.

The simulation featured a real-world past public-sector project; in this case, an elementary school. Students received the documentation and acted as general contractors, using estimating software, approved subtrades, and Gordian estimating data to prepare their submissions.

Nichols believes real-world experience is a vital component of the Construction Management program. “Having students complete a real project, with documentation and addenda and subtrades, exposed them to the whole process they can expect in the real world.”

22 teams of four submitted bids through bids&tenders. A team of evaluators ranked the submissions on a number of factors, including cost, scheduling, health and safety, estimating, and communication. Prizes were awarded to teams closest to the estimated price, the most accurate and complete submissions, and the most professional bid presentations.

“It’s an easy platform, and bidding is simple and straightforward,” said Nichols. “Laura at bids&tenders went out of her way to be helpful, even though we’re not a paying customer.”

We at bids&tenders were happy to participate. Laura Case served as project manager for the student teams: “George Brown was a fun group to work with in setting up their competitive bid for their students. Once they had a handle on what bids&tenders could do for them, they just ran with it! We hope to work with them again as it was fun for us to be able to show these future buyers and suppliers a digital procurement platform.”