VIRTUARCH’s core competence is not only its professional design capabilities, but also project management capabilities. The Swiss architecture and project management firm has many years of experience in managing projects of different scales, providing its clients with comprehensive and professional services. While procurement management is one of the regular scopes VIRTUARCH is performing in its projects, it’s not widely known that VIRTUARCH also provides procurement support services: From the preparation, issuance, evaluation and determination of tender to contract signing, VIRTUARCH helps its clients to control costs and achieve all construction goals. Especially in times when foreign managers can not easily travel to China, VIRTUARCH plays a valuable role in the implementation of fair and fully compliant procurement processes for construction projects.

Customized Support Based on Actual Needs

A good beginning is half done. Before the tender officially starts, the preparation work is very important. Usually at this stage, the design and planning of the project are coming to an end, and the owner has a clear idea of the construction requirements. In this phase, VIRTUARCH works together with the owner to study and decide the procurement strategy. By analyzing the scope of work, project schedule, payment schedule, cost control, contractual framework and other needs, VIRTUARCH helps the owner to set procurement goals, and select the contractor that offers the best work at the most competitive price.

VIRTUARCH supervised the procurement process for Bertschi. 

Pre-qualification: Finding Suitable and Competitive Bidders

High-quality construction projects place extremely high demands on bidders. VIRTUARCH conducts rounds of selections to help find a high-quality bidding team.

A contractor takes care of a construction project and plays a very important role in the quality of the delivered building. Therefore, the inspection and selection of a perfect contractor are the top priorities of VIRTUARCH’s procurement management process. There are normally a lot of contractors interested in the project.  In the first step, a long list is generated, discussed, and approved with the Owner. In the second step, based on the results of a strict prequalification process, the long list shall be condensed into a short list of bidders who are finally invited for the tender. During this process, VIRTUARCH delivers its professional judgment based on its rich procurement experience, and more importantly, based on the client’s actual needs. Ultimately, the task is to select a contractor that can deliver the best possible results.

In the process of screening the shortlist, VIRTUARCH focuses on examining the qualifications of bidders and project quality, aiming to select teams with high-quality project experience and mature structures. For the candidates on the shortlist, VIRTUARCH will also analyze the structure of the bidder’s company and project organization, the results of completed projects with feedbacks from the owners, the construction status of the ongoing projects, and the performance of the on-site management team and feedback from the owners. For big contracts and based on the requirements of the owner, an additional financial due diligence of the bidders will be arranged.

Tender Process: Strict and Mature Quality Control

High-quality construction projects place extremely high demands on bidders. VIRTUARCH conducts rounds of selections to help find a high-quality bidding team.

VIRTUARCH supported the Clariant OCC project in the procurement process

In the formal bidding process, VIRTUARCH assists the owner in organizing the entire bidding process, from issuing tendering documents, evaluating bidders, to making a final determination. It takes two rounds, three rounds, or even more, based on the complexity and the size of the project. VIRTUARCH will organize bidders to conduct site surveys, clarify and answer questions, and issue supplementary documents, to help bidders clarify the detailed requirements of the project.

In the subsequent bid evaluation process, VIRTUARCH assists the owner to conduct detailed interviews with the bidder’s project management team to ensure that the future winning bidder can provide a capable project management team. On one hand, the purpose of such interviews is to investigate the ability and project experience of the bidder’s team. For this purpose, VIRTUARCH will assess the expertise of all present bidders to check if the bidding team is qualified. On the other hand, the aim of the interview is also to make sure that the contractors have a correct understanding of the project, as well as a proper planning for the construction process. This is to guarantee a good foundation for smooth communication between the two parties, and also the final quality output of the project.

After the interview is done, VIRTUARCH issues a detailed evaluation report from a professional perspective to help the owner in its decision-making process. Before the final decision is made and the winner is announced, the contract needs to be negotiated and finalized. VIRTUARCH will review the entire contract signing process.

Efficient Procurement Process with Time Control

In the process of project implementation, time is money.

Clariant OCC project, Shanghai

In order to carry out the project efficiently, VIRTUARCH is planning the tasks in a way that various steps can be done at the same time. While conducting pre-qualification of longlists and shortlists, the preparation of tendering documents is continuously ongoing.  For this document, VIRTUARCH will assist the owner to determine the scope of work, technical requirements, engineering quantities list, plans of buildings, schedule, safety and quality requirements and standards, etc. Hence, when the shortlist is decided, the tendering documents will also be finished and are ready for issuing, which effectively shortens the preparation time.

During the several rounds of bidding process, VIRTUARCH will arrange the bidding meeting to be held concurrently with the bidder’s interview. As a consequence, the entire procurement process for General Contractor works can usually be done within one and a half months to two months.

In the whole process of procurement support services, the client’s needs are in focus. VIRTUARCH keeps the clients informed of each key decision point. A pros and cons analysis will be delivered to help to make proper decisions to reach the project goals.

VIRTUARCH’s reliable service is well recognized. Therefore, the Swiss architecture company is often asked to supervise and review the procurement process for clients as an independent third party. Bertschi Zhangjiagang project and Clariant OCC Shanghai project are two good examples of the trust renowned companies put into VIRTUARCH not only as architects, but also as a procurement partner.

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