The Tender AnalysisWhen you receive Subcontract tender documents, invariably they’ve got differences and it’s important to make sure you’re comparing Apples with Apples. Look out for these important cross-checks to make sure you’re comparing like-for-like proposals.
1. Fabric CheckMake sure the fabric performance is consistent across all tenders (e.g. black-out / dim-out / screen vision etc). Different fabric performance could lead to a big price difference.
2. OperationChain and crank controls are the most popular in the world of manual operation - make sure you have the same operator across all estimates. Some common misalignments are metal versus plastic chains; metal versus plastic crank or detachable versus fixed crank – check what the specification requires and make sure tenderers include for it.
3. Barrel SizeWith roller blinds, the barrel size is a key indicator to durability. If barrel sizes vary between 5mm - 10mm across estimates you will be comparing different quality products so make sure you align these with the specification.
4. Brackets and FixingsMost systems have options for metal or plastic fixing brackets. If you have both in your comparisons, it’s possibly the reason one price is lower than the other. It’s worth noting that metal brackets are safer, more durable and reduce the risk of blinds falling down.
5. Exits and DoorsCheck no blinds are blocking doors or fire exit routes. If blinds are needed for privacy then they should be installed to the actual door so they are out of the way when the door is opened. This is to eliminate the risk of hindering doorway use for fire regulations.
6. Blind ConfigurationIf the window is too large to fit a standard blind then the blinds should be split to follow the mullion (Fig. A). Splitting blinds out of line with the window pattern is not best practice (Fig.B) and can cause problems with the Architect on completion. It is cheaper to configure the blinds as per Fig.B and could mean your prices are not comparable.
Blinds Value EngineeringThis next Chapter identifies six simple, intelligent solutions to Value Engineer a blinds package.
1. Fabric faced blackout vs PVC BlackoutFabric faced blackout is a normal dim-out fabric that goes through an extra process to apply a blackout backing. Architects often prefer the aesthetics of the fabric faced solution, but it comes at a higher cost to the PVC. PVC offers a similar technical performance and is cheaper to produce whilst still delivering full blackout.
2. Fibreglass Screen Fabrics vs Polyester Screen FabricsFibreglass screen fabrics are made from glass and a mineral fibre that is known for its durability and resistance to stretching. This makes it an excellent fabric for blinds as it’s not prone to breaking, shrinking, deterioration or even mould in humidity. These qualities all come with a price and if specified you have found the perfect product. If not, you’re paying a lot of money for something the building doesn’t need. Polyester screen fabrics will visually look the same as fibreglass, will still maintain privacy and all at a fraction of the cost. Well worth considering….
3. Foil Back Fabrics vs Standard Backed FabricsFoil back fabrics are a ground-breaking idea. Manufacturers spray foil partials or vacuum foil to the back of the fabric and the ingenious concept wins for these two main reasons:
- The heat rejection properties and fabric performance are streets ahead of any standard backed fabric. It’s obvious, but foil backing rejects a huge percentage of heat which you won’t achieve with any other backing.
- It means a building can maintain continuity in its external appearance whilst providing a variety of blind colours internally.