Ductwork specialists embark on campaign for slimline tender documentation

Published:  18 May, 2009

ADCAS director Cedric Sloan gets a feel for how much paper can be produced by a tender CD as the association launches its ‘slender tender’ campaign.

Ductwork specialists are to launch a major campaign aimed at reducing information overload in the tendering process. Their trade association ADCAS (Association of Ductwork Contractors & Allied Services) believes that a week’s work could be cut from the tendering process for almost every major ductwork project if specifications were better defined in relation to specialist services. Such time savings should cut the final cost of a job significantly.

Cedric Sloan, director of ADCAS, says, ‘In a way, we’re the victims of progress. In the old days, producing huge, paper-based specifications was expensive, so the ductwork contractor got only the sections that were relevant to him.

‘In the electronic age, it’s all too easy just to send a CD of the whole project with everything on it. And I do mean everything — drainage, plumbing and electrical services, windows and doors! A tender CD can have as many as a thousand drawings, of which only 40 to 50 have anything to do with ductwork.’

ADCAS members report that they often have to print every drawing to find out which ones are relevant. Detail drawings then have to be passed to manufacturers of specialist equipment like fire dampers. The cost to the ductwork industry is considerable, but Cedric Sloan and his colleagues realise that they are not alone. ‘ADCAS recognises that this is an industry-wide problem — one we share with suppliers of specialist products from electrical cables to pipework for heating and cooling services. It’s a huge problem that generates enormous wastage, but it’s so big that it can be difficult to appreciate its true scale — a real “elephant in the room”.’

With that image in mind, we have set up an Internet discussion group on Linkedin called ‘Information overload — the elephant in the room’. We are seeking support from every sector of the construction industry. Anyone is welcome to join the group [at the address below] and exchange ideas on how the problem might be resolved. There are some relevant standards, but few seem to know of their existence, and even fewer stick to them.

Cedric Sloan says, ‘We don’t expect quick results. Winning hearts and minds always takes time. But when the current downturn ends and construction demand booms again, we’d like everyone to appreciate the cost advantages of the “slender tender”.’

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