Permit vs Tender Standard Drawings
Working Drawings –
Explanation of the difference between Design &
Construct/Permit Standard documentation and Tender
There are 2 different methods to present the detailed working drawings required for
construction. The first method is to prepare drawings and detailed supporting specifications
to tender standard. The purpose of this approach requires the documents to describe the
‘whole of the required works in complete detail’. It also requires the documentation by the
various supporting consultants to describe the ‘whole of their required works in complete
detail’. These works include structural and civil engineering, mechanical, hydraulic and
electrical engineering, landscape design, etc.
The benefit of this method is that the ‘complete extent’ of the required work is known at the
time of tendering and a fixed tender price can be sought from a range of builders on a ‘same
for same’ basis. The negative side of this method is that in many cases, the builder and his
trade contractors can often create a less costly and more direct way of achieving the same
outcome as that detailed by the supporting consultants. This occurs as a result of the builder
and his trades utilising their specific products, strengths or proven methods that differ from
builder to builder and trade to trade.
Experience shows us that seeking a fixed tender price using tender standard documents can
reduce the perceived risk for the client, but can often negate the cost and time savings that
can come from the creativity and flexibility of the builder and his trade team; sometimes
resulting in a higher cost of project.
Design & Construct/Permit Standard
The second method is to prepare drawings and detailed supporting specifications to design
& construct/permit standard. The purpose of this approach requires the documents to
describe the ‘required works in enough detail necessary to enable a clear description of the
expected outcome, enable a contractual agreement of the required outcome between the
client and the builder, show compliance with all necessary standards and obtain required
The working drawings, landscape design, civil and structural engineers drawings remain
much the same as the tender standard method, but do not include details requiring the
builder to adopt particular products or methodologies, rather than to achieve the outcome.
Additionally, the documentation by the mechanical, hydraulic and electrical engineers is
limited to a description of the ‘required building outcome’.
The negative of this approach is that the documents are less prescriptive in content and
methodology and a degree of trust and confidence in the ability of the builder and his trade
team is required. Competitive tenders can still be sought from various builders using this
approach to documentation, however detailed discussions with each of the tenderers is
required to assess that their tender price will achieve the ‘required building outcomes’ and
that the client and the tenderer agree on this.
The benefits of the permit standard approach to documentation are; the cost of consultant
documentation is usually at least half that of the tender standard, the time to complete the
documents is also halved, the ability of the builder and his trades to utilise their specific
products, strengths or proven methods that differ from builder to builder and trade to trade
are enabled, and lastly the cost and time of construction can be significantly reduced.
Which is method is right for you or your organisation?
The choice of the best method for you depends on your individual circumstances. Some
clients choose the tender standard method because:
• They are bound by group or company policy to do so
• They feel that they do not have an adequate understanding of the building process and
that the certainty that can come for a fully detailed set of documents is necessary for
• They are conservative or risk averse and are prefer to use only design consultants
rather than involve the experience of trade professionals.
• Any additional time or cost for the project is worth the peace of mind in knowing and
describing the products and methodologies to be used.
• They prefer to use design consultants knowing that they have a contract with them and
carry professional indemnity insurances that can provide recourse to the client in the
event of some design failure.
• A choice of possible Builders are not known to them and they are unable to get suitable
recommendations from advisors, friends or associates. They don’t feel that they can
trust the Builder.
Others choose the permit standard method because:
• They are more interested in the ‘required building outcome’ than how it is achieved.
• They have limited time to complete the project
• They prefer to save money on the fees of design consultants
• They have limited construction budgets and need to utilise every possible cost saving
• There are some ‘unknown’ elements to the project that the project documentation
cannot fully describe.
• Builders are known to them, or have been recommended to them, that they feel they
can trust and have proven reputations.