After reading a depressing opinion piece by Grant Prior on Construction Enquirer (Contractors need less yacking, more backing), I noticed a news item from yesterday about the RICS eTendering service. The RICS has extended its offering to provide a pay-per-use service for subcontract tenders.
As long-standing readers of this blog may know, RICS eTendering was launched nearly five years ago as a standalone service, immediately facing stiff competition from rival services which were integrated with SaaS document collaboration services. Partly as a result, the RICS service was used just 50 times in the 15 months following its launch (post), with RICS tendering working party chairman Peter Sell forced to defend the under-used solution in February 2009 (post). RICS research later that year confirmed e-tendering was still a minority pursuit, and further businesses began to offer rival services.
For example, SaaS vendor Aconex launched a streamlined tendering solution in June 2010, soon after Asktobi.com (post), and followed by Darley eTender (post). And, just a few months ago, BIW (now conject) extended its e-tendering services to offer a pre-construction enquiry service (post).
The RICS system is managed by the Building Cost Information Service and it costs contractors £500 to issue up to 10 electronic subcontractor tenders on a single project (£35 will be levied for each additional sub-contractor tender). Peter Sell (Davis Langdon) says this initiative is “forward thinking”, though I can’t really see anything radically new or different from what is already available in the UK market.