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Job bids: there’s an app for that

Construction companies will benefit from the app that will display all bids and tenders across Ontario with the click of a button. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

Add the construction industry’s process for biding on public contracts to the growing list of digitized, online services. Waterloo-based eSolutionsGroup has developed a web-based application that centralizes public tenders available in Ontario.

Meant to be a one-stop shopping option for contractors, LINK2BUILD Ontario was developed for the newly formed Ontario Construction Alliance Association (OCAA), a coalition of seven regional builders’ groups, including the Grand Valley Construction Association that covers Waterloo Region and surrounding area.

While bid listings are also available on municipal websites, for instance, nearly 10,000 construction tenders, representing millions of dollars in projects each year will be tracked, collected and posted in one place.

The convenience is a boon for those in the trade such as Adam Hicks, who welcomed the new option that in effect expands on existing computer-based bidding platforms.

“There’s Biddingo, there’s Merx, for example,” he said. “If a contractor decides they want to join this, they’re already informed on this type of work, and it would just give them a broader point of access to the information – maybe more simplified. That would be my assumption, is that it’s going to centralize all of this information instead of using these three or four different platforms.”

The majority of the province’s construction stakeholders will be represented, including Windsor Construction Association, London and District Construction Association, Grand Valley Construction Association, Niagara Construction Association, Ottawa Construction Association, Kingston Construction Association, Northeastern Ontario Construction Association.

LINK2BUILD Ontario will integrate with eSolutions’ bids&tenders digital bidding platform. More than 200 buyers post billions of dollars of bid opportunities exclusively on the platform.

“One of our three pillars of service is to build business and advance opportunities for members throughout Ontario,” said Martha George, president of the Grand Valley Construction Association. “The integration with the bids&tenders e-bidding platform is going to really elevate our ability to deliver on our promise.”

Users must pay to subscribe to the bids&tenders platform annually, but it also makes it easier to find bids that match their specific interest categories to optimize their sales effort, as well as providing tools for estimating.

It also gives users access to hundreds of daily bid postings across North America and allows users to review and register for bids at any time.

“The bids&tenders platform grows each year, not only in users but in capabilities as well. The constant evolution of our product is one reason why we have never lost a client in over 15 years,” said Alison Carden, principal at eSolutionsGroup.

“Our platform makes it easy for buyers to post, manage and award bids. For bidders, it provides one clear, consistent process that guides them along the way, ensuring only compliant bids can be submitted. There’s also nothing to print, bind, and deliver by courier. And when you’re a busy construction company, saving time on admin work means more billable hours.”

Despite opening up the geographical reach of the market for subscribers, Hicks was not concerned that it would make the process any more competitive.

“There probably would be [more bidders], but at the same time it’s only certain types of contractors that go after that type of work that’s on those registries,” said Hicks. “So, yes, it would be available to everybody, but it might not necessarily help a contractor that doesn’t currently use it. Because of a lot of that information is already out there through other forms.”

Currently, the process is usually done through computers; a web-based application for bidding and tendering is entirely unique.

“Commercial, institutional, small industrial,” said Hicks of the type of tenders its members bid on. “Right now, it’s predominantly used by townships and public entities – people that report to the public usually use it.”

The launch of the LINK2BUILD Ontario application is expected in June.

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