Release of Construction Clients’ Pre-tender Cost Estimates: An Experimental Study

Bee Lan Oo


Clients engage consultant quantity surveyors or cost engineers to perform project cost estimates before calling for tender submissions. This experimental study examines the impact of releasing the clients’ pre-tender cost estimates prior to bidding on student subjects’ bidding behavioural patterns, and the extents to which their bidding tends to agree with the behavioural patterns proposed by Milgrom and Weber’s theory. The results show that the provision of clients’ pre-tender cost estimates prior to bidding does affect bidders’ bidding behaviour. Bidders with access to the clients’ pre-tender cost estimates prior to bidding, on average, recorded lower bids than those with no access to the estimate. However, the lower average bids do not result in statistically significant lower winning bids. These findings provide evidence in support of Milgrom and Weber’s theory, demonstrating the practicality of an experimental approach using student subjects for testing theories in building economics research. The practical implication is that construction clients would need to consider their information policy on releasing pre-tender cost estimates to enhance efficiency in their procurement for construction services.

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