Champions of healthy competition in the construction industry, the “Bureau des soumissions déposées du Québec”, or BSDQ, protects contractors by overseeing a fair and equal tendering process in Quebec.
“The BSDQ was created with the goal of ensuring the establishment and preservation of harmonious relations among construction contractors when a call for tenders is issued. Its main objective is to ensure healthy competition and protect contractors against unfair practices,” says Guy Lacroix, General Director of BSDQ.
A private, non-profit organization, the BSDQ receives bids from specialized contractors and forwards them to general contractors when a construction project is launched. Its mission is to receive and to distribute tenders from trade contractors working in Quebec, allowing the general and trade contractors and ultimately the owners, to benefit from a healthy competition.
HISTORY of BSDQ
“The idea to establish a tendering system favoring a healthy competition between entrepreneurs is born into a context where already, in the 50s, the Quebec construction industry consists of companies among which the size and the means vary considerably,” says Lacroix. “The specialized contractors are all in agreement: access to the construction markets must be eased, in particular, in the institutional, commercial and industrial sectors. To accomplish that, the industry has to be equipped with a system which will frame the process of call for tenders, then establish clear rules and make sure all parties are committed to respect them.”
With the establishment of a network of regional offices in the major cities within the province in 1967, which was itself modelled after a local organization of electricians and plumbers, today’s BSDQ’s mission is to receive and to distribute tenders from trade contractors working in Quebec, allowing the general and trade contractors and ultimately the owners, to benefit from a healthy competition.
BSDQ has agreements between the Corporation des maîtres électriciens du Québec (CMEQ), the Corporation des maîtres mécaniciens en tuyauterie du Québec (CMMTQ), and the Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ) to maintain that mission. The same agreement was enhanced three years later with the provincial subjection of governed specialties of mechanical and electrical works, exclusive and not exclusive to the members of the corporations. In addition, the subjection extends to other specialized works, on a regional basis, to groups of entrepreneurs who request it. “The structure established quickly becomes common practice for the entrepreneurs while the network continues to increase throughout Quebec. The BSDQ will manage up to 19 regional offices throughout Quebec,” says Lacroix, “Even through fluctuations in regional offices, we maintain a physical presence in all the Quebec territory.”
HOW IT WORKS
The BSDQ offers transparent oversight of the bidding process and gives all contractors an equal opportunity to position themselves advantageously when a construction project is launched. The purpose of its rules is to eliminate haggling and promote a healthy competition among contractors. The BSDQ has developed an electronic bid transmission platform, TES (Transmission électronique des soumissions), which gives an overview of all the registered projects, provides all the necessary information and allows contractors to deposit their bids online, at any time, seven days a week, without the need for exclusive software and with Internet access only. Now celebrating its tenth year, the TES was an instant success because of its efficiency. The system offered by the BSDQ makes it possible to receive a greater number of bids for each registered project and to obtain better prices thanks to healthy competition.
The BSDQ is built on top of a solid foundation in the law: during the construction inquiry known as “the Charbonneau Commission” the BSDQ was invited as an expert to present an overview of its role and its functioning and especially of its efficiency as administrator of a tendering system. The BSDQ was proud of the recognition given by the Charbonneau commission in their final report. The Tendering Code has been recognized many times by the courts as in the public interest as a collective contract favouring healthy competition and ensuring a serious effort to provide the best price when bids are submitted. “Not only that,” says Lacroix, “it allows access to strategic information, market efficiencies, a fair tender process, and a freedom of access to contractors.”
As for owners, Lacroix says they benefit as much as the contractors because they are able to determine the closing date and time at the BSDQ, can have a list of selected contractors, and are allowed recall for tenders.
Through its technological platform, framed by common, clear rules (the Tendering Code), the BSDQ is a driver of efficiency in the Quebec economy favoring a simplified access to the construction entrepreneurs willing to offer their expertise. The framing of the call for tenders process by the BSDQ, allows all the participants to offer the best price, at the time, for a specific project to ensure the general contractors and the owners benefit of a healthy competition. The BSDQ has been established as an essential solution in the construction industry.
Today, more than 5,000 contractors in Quebec are users of the BSDQ and the TES platform and are formally committed to respect the rules of the Tendering Code and the user protocol for the TES application. Between 4,500 and 5,000 projects annually are registered and allow the tenderers and addressees to transact between 45,000 and 55,000 tenders.
As the BSDQ evolves, it does so towards greater simplicity and clarity. “A new strategic plan adopted in 2018 clearly defines the will of the owners to simplify as much as possible the processes for our users while continuing our technological advance to ensure the TES system remains efficient and modern,” says Lacroix. “Since the creation of the TES platform, we continue to work to improve it with the aim of adapting to the needs of users while integrating the latest technological innovations, including Responsive Design, platform compatibility, automatic tax calculation, and geo-localization of the specialties subjected to the tendering code by region.”
Lacroix concludes that the BSDQ will remain tuned in to all the industries’ participants and constantly be in improvement mode of its processes. “In agreement with the contractors of the industry, we created scope-of-work guides to assist the contractors when preparing a tender,” he says. “The guides reflect the customs and practises of the specialized contractors in the execution of the works based on their expertise and knowledge.” In 2018, four new guides were adopted bringing the total to six guides affecting as many specialties. In 2017 the BSDQ underlined its 50th anniversary. The BSDQ is now poised for another successful 50 years and beyond.