5.3.2. Drafting and content of the tender dossier

Tender documents must be carefully drafted to ensure that both the contract and the procurement procedure are carried out correctly.

Tender documents must contain all the provisions and information that tenderers need to submit their tenders: the procedures to follow, the documents to provide, cases of non-compliance, award criteria, etc. When the contracting authority is the European Commission, it may be appropriate for representatives of the final beneficiaries to participate in preparing the tender at an early stage. See section 2.6. for guidelines on drafting Technical Specifications.

Technical specifications must afford equal access for candidates and tenderers and not have the effect of creating unjustified obstacles to competitive tendering. They specify what is required of a product, service or material or work to achieve the purpose for which they are intended.

The specifications may include as appropriate:

  • a) quality levels;

  • b) environmental performance and climate performance ;

  • c) for purchases intended for use by natural persons, accessibility criteria for people with disabilities or design for all users, except in duly justified cases;

  • d) the levels and procedures of conformity assessment;

  • e) performance (fitness for use);

  • f) safety and measurements, including, for supplies, the sales name and user instructions, and, for all contracts, terminology, symbols, testing and test methods, packaging, marking and labelling, production processes and methods;

  • g) the procedures relating to quality assurance and the rules relating to design and costing, the test, inspection and acceptance conditions for works and methods or techniques of construction and all other technical conditions which the contracting authority is in a position to prescribe under general or specific regulations in relation to the finished works and to the constituent materials or parts.

The contracting authority is responsible for drawing up these documents.

Given the technical complexity of many works contracts, preparation of the tender dossier - particularly the technical specifications - may require the assistance of one or more external technical specialist(s). Each such specialist must sign a Declaration of Objectivity and Confidentiality (see Annex A3).

As with the terms of reference for service contracts, particular care must be taken when drafting the technical specifications. They are the key to successful procurement, a sound works contract and a successful project.

Technical specifications state - where applicable, lot by lot - the exact nature and performance characteristics of the works. Where applicable, they also specify conditions for delivery and installation, training and after-sales service.

It is essential that the performance characteristics suit the intended purpose. If there needs to be an information meeting or a site visit to clarify technical requirements at the site where the works are to be carried out, this should be specified in the instructions to tenderers, together with details of the arrangements.

The purpose of the technical specifications is to define the required works precisely. The minimum quality standards, defined by the technical specifications, will enable the evaluation committee to determine which tenders are technically compliant.

Unless warranted by the nature of the contract, technical specifications referring to or describing products of a given brand or origin and thereby favouring or excluding certain products are prohibited. However, where products cannot be described in a sufficiently clear or intelligible manner, they may be named as long as they are followed by the words 'or equivalent'.


The tender dossier must be agreed upon by the relevant services of the European Commission. The standard practice is to also consult and obtain the agreement of the partner country, and where appropriate of other parties involved, on the tender dossier.


The contracting authority must submit the tender dossier to the Delegation of the European Union for authorisation prior to issue.


No prior authorisation of the tender dossier by the European Commission is required.

The tender dossier must contain the following documents:


Volume 1: Instructions to tenderer and tender forms

Volume 2: Draft contract and conditions

Volume 3: Technical specifications

Volume 4: Model financial offer

Volume 5: Design documents and drawings

See Annex D4 for template.

The tender dossier must clearly state whether a firm, non-revisable price must be quoted. A price revision clause might be justified and works contracts are commonly subject to price revision. If that is the case, it is recommended that a price revision formula, following the models given in art. 48 of the Special Conditions, be included. When taking a decision on price revision, the contracting authority must consider:

  • a) the object of the procurement procedure and the economic situation in which it is taking place;

  • b) the type of tasks and contract and their duration;

  • c) its financial interests.

A tender guarantee assures the Contracting Authority that submitted tenders will not be withdrawn. If the contracting authority deems a tender guarantee to be appropriate and proportionate, it may request it, representing 1% to 2% of the overall value of the contract. The contracting authority shall return the tender guarantee as foreseen in points at the end and 5.3.10. and release it for all tenderers when the contract is signed. The contracting authority shall call in the tender guarantee if the tender is withdrawn before contract signature.

According to the applicable rules, guarantees (pre-financing, retention and/or performance guarantee) could be required or not. If so, this must be mentioned in the tender dossier.