Tender open times (Construction Guidance 3.5)

Explains how to determine an appropriate period for a tender to be open.

Effective date: 1 July 2018

Objective:  To help Agencies determine an appropriate period for a tender to be open


Agencies should ensure the period between the Tender Notice and the tender closing date is reasonable taking account of:

  • the tender strategy and Procurement Model
  • the likely tender participants and market characteristics
  • the complexity of the Works or Construction Services
  • the time required to investigate, prepare, check and submit the response

This Guidance describes the factors to consider when determining the tender open time.

How to determine the tender open time

When determining the tender open time, consider the:

  • complexity of the deliverable(s)
  • extent and complexity of the tender requirements
  • level of completion of design specifications
  • extent to which the project scope, risks and commercial terms are unique
  • time required to obtain, read and analyse the Tender Documentation and seek and obtain responses to clarifying questions
  • information and level of detail tender participants are required to provide in a meaningful response that includes accurate pricing
  • level of risk and allocation of risk proposed or implied
  • likelihood and extent of subcontracting
  • likelihood of national or international tender participant interest
  • likelihood of multiple tender participants with different skills having to prepare in joint bids

The following table shows estimates of tender open and evaluation times. These estimates should only be used as a general guide. Times will of course vary depending on factors such as the project’s size and complexity.

Delivery method Tender open time
Simple to Complex
(time in weeks)
Tender evaluation by Agency
Simple to Complex
(time in weeks)
Construct-only 2 to 4 1 to 2
Design and Construct 6 to 26 4 to 20
Construction Management 3 to 4 2 to 4
Alliance 2 to 4 2 to 4
Public private partnership 16 to 26 12 to 20

When an Agency and particular procurement is required to comply with International Agreements, a longer minimum open time will apply (see Complying with International Agreements (Construction Instruction 2.1).

Considerations for opening and closing dates

The timing of a Tender Notice can be important and may affect the extent of competition.

In determining the opening date try to:

  • avoid periods when industry closes for key holidays
  • avoid the week after a recognised industry holiday period

In determining the closing date, try to:

  • avoid setting a time before 2pm
  • avoid Mondays or days following a public holiday
  • provide at least one clear day after a weekend, building industry holiday, or standard industry rostered day off
  • provide a least one week after a recognised industry holiday period

Useful resources

Efficiencies in Major Project Procurement benchmarks for Efficient Procurement of Major Infrastructure, Volume 1 Benchmarks for Efficient Procurement of Major Infrastructure (Infrastructure Australia, June 2012)

Describes tender open times for very large infrastructure projects

Tools and support

The Construction Toolkit includes key documents, guidance and information about the Ministerial Directions and Instructions for public construction.

For further information about the Ministerial Directions and Instructions for public construction procurement, please contact the Construction Policy Team.