PM-1: Tender Course - Technical Specifications

1- What are the Technical Specifications? 

The Technical Specifications can be defined as follows:

  • Text Articles which describe in detail the qualitative characteristics of the activities, resources and results of the contract and if these characteristics being achieved, the objectives of the contract will be achieved. 
  • It can be used as an acceptance and/or evaluation Criteria of the tenders submitted by the contractors 
  • It can be used as a measure for acceptance of the results or activities or resources of the contract (and for their certification/payment) during the implementation phase. 

2- What are the Advantages and disadvantages of Technical Specifications? 
Advantages will be as follows:
  • With prescriptive specifications there is little scope for misunderstanding. 
  • Evaluation should be more straightforward as price can be a greater deciding factor. 
  • Emphasises critical requirements 

Disadvantages will be as follows:
  • Technical specifications may take longer to prepare Discourages innovation. 
  • Puts more risk on the contracting authority. If specification is incorrect contracting authority will have to pay for variations 
  • Greater chance of over-specifying and therefore increasing the price unnecessarily. 

3- What are the general contents in the Technical Specifications? 
The general characteristics to which the Technical Specifications refer are as follows (but not limited to):

a- Requirements for quality of manufacture:

  • Content and composition 
  • Performance 
  • Use (usability) 
  • Safety (operation) 
  • Appearance 
  • Size 
  • Implementation methods/techniques etc. 
b- Quantitative indications such as values for the levels of performance, size etc., which are either a minimum which must be met or a maximum which must not be exceeded.

c- Environmental criteria (e.g. exhaust emission levels, noise levels etc.).

d- social criteria such as the accessibility by persons with a disability etc.

4- What are the contents of the Technical terms of Reference volume? 
In general, Technical Specifications with clarifications and instructions form a separate volume which will be referred to as “Technical Terms of Reference” and will include the following chapters:

A- Introduction 

The contents of this chapter are organized in the following way:

  • An introduction presents the Technical Specifications which follow in the text, also describing their purpose and structure 
  • Mention is made of what to be included or not in the Technical Specifications 
  • A list is given, in order of precedence, of the specifications/standards to be used in the case of activities, resources and/or results of the contract which are not covered by the Technical Specifications presented next 
  • Reference is made to constraints (mandatory collaborations/synergies, time constraints etc.) and to the allocation of responsibility to the Contractor in connection with the application of the Technical Specifications 
  • Special issues – clarifications are presented, to facilitate the understanding of the Technical Specifications presented next 

B-Technical Specifications 
This chapter is the main body of the Technical Terms of Reference volume; it will be structured in subchapters, each one of these subchapters will represent one activity of the contract scope

So, every contract activity can be easily located and taken into account during the preparation of the tenders as well as during the implementation of the contract.

In every subchapter, the Technical Specifications that satisfy the respective activity requirements are mentioned.
The quality of the Technical Specifications is a very important element which must be checked by the Contracting Authority before the contract is put out to tender and there will be a checklist intended to guide the Contracting Authorities in identifying the items to be checked before approving the Technical Specifications for a contract which can be downloaded by clicking Here

5- How to avoid financial claims due to Technical Specification errors? 
To avoid financial claims from the part of the Contractor, the Introduction of the Technical Specifications volume may also contain certain provisions such as follows:

a- “If a contractor finds out that a specific term of the Technical Specifications deviates from the National or Community Legislation, it must inform to this effect the Contracting Authority within the deadline expiring on the date specified for the submission of comments, questions or recommendations, by special letter, otherwise such Candidate economic operator Shall be deprived of the right to any financial compensation".

b- "If appointed Contractor, it shall additionally be obliged to join forces with the Contracting Authority in the harmonization of the deviating term with the National or Community Legislation, even if this entails the economic operator incurring a financial burden, as such financial burden (if any) is assumed to be part of the normal business risk.”

c- Regarding any material, activity, construction, quality control etc. not covered by:

The mandatory national regulations/specifications/codes (not conflicting with the Community Law), and the present Technical Specifications the following shall apply, in order of precedence:
  • National Standards transposing European Standards 
  • The European Technical Approvals 
  • The Common Technical Specifications 
  • The International Standards 
  • The National Standards, Technical Approvals and Technical Specifications (not contrary to the Community Legislation and the present Technical Specifications) 
d- “Every participant in the tender procedure and, consequently, the Contractor, acknowledges, by the mere submission of its tender, that the Technical Specifications provided are suitable and adequate for the performance of the contract scope, and that it undertakes any obligation, risk or consequence deriving from their application.”

e- “All expenses for the application of the Technical Specifications and of the associated and/or referenced regulations/codes/specifications shall be borne by the Contractor, regardless of whether or not a relevant explicit statement to this effect is made. The Contractor shall not bear the expenses for a particular activity only if an explicit and undisputable statement to the contrary is made in a relevant article of the Technical Specifications".

6- What are the Types of Technical Specifications? 
In general, Technical Specifications are classified in three types:

  • Functional specifications 
  • Performance specifications 
  • Technical design specifications 

In the next topic, we will explain in detailed each type of the technical specifications. 

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