Intelligent Buildings & Bid Specifications

Today’s post, written by Kurt Meckley of Oliver Mechanical, is an interpretation of the 2012 Landmark Research Study conducted by Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA). For more information about the original study, please click here.


One of the biggest challenges for today’s facility managers (or any building decision maker) is determining the proper solutions for their buildings. The usual process involves getting three bids from qualified contractors and the majority of the time, the lowest price wins. But, is this really the best choice for you buildings? The bidding companies know the lowest price usually wins, so they may cut corners or look for the least expensive way to capture your business. In the long run, this will not provide the best value. Recently, the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) released the results from a 2012 Landmark Research Study on Intelligent Buildings and the Bid Specifications Process.

Some of the Key Research Objectives include the following:

  • Evaluate the main aspects of the bid specification process.
  • Understand how decisions are made and the role of key influencers in such decisions
  • Determine the optimal way of working with various stakeholders involved in the process
  • Create the right customer and partner awareness approaches to achieve better technology
  • Understand changing dynamics of the industry and the impact on intelligent building solutions
  • Create the right business approach to respond to the changing demand

Some of the Key Takeaways of the Research are as follows:

  • Intelligent building owners consider technology integration to be important. However, the investment and perceived value derived from it are not well aligned. Lack of product knowledge is a common issue among most owners and operators.
  • The demand potential for intelligent building solutions is further impacted by the perceived price-performance ratio of these products. Building owners do not have a clear idea of the actual benefits of buying these products and solutions.
  • Bid & Spec is considered an integral part of the technology procurement processes in the intelligent building industry.
  • However, present bid and spec processes followed in the industry lack transparency, are price driven, and do not offer adequate impetus to the incorporation of intelligent technologies.
  • The issue lies in the fact that technology suppliers do not have a good grasp of spec practices, and likewise, spec providers lack a thorough understanding of technology advancements.
  • There is a greater need for vendors and service providers to collaborate and create joint bid and spec business models to service the intelligent building market.
  • The immediate need for industry participants is to organize initiatives to work together, and create structural frameworks for joint collaboration in developing building technology and spec development practices.

The key thing going forward is communicating effectively between the owners/operators and the contractors during the bid and spec process. Sometimes the scope of work on certain projects are not the best solutions for that building. Educating the owners/operators on the latest intelligent technology can help determine  the best solutions for their long term goals. Please continue to participate in future Oliver Mechanical educational events and stay up to date by reading our blog.

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