Legal and Regulatory

How Builders Use Technology to Win Infrastructure Contracts

Adding digital solutions to your bidding/bonding process may help you win more bids and win them faster.
By Wayne Nunziata
January 25, 2024
Legal and Regulatory

Last year’s Pittsburgh area Fern Hollow Bridge collapse and the I-95 Philadelphia collapse may portend more infrastructure spending to come. The U.S. Department of Transportation's 2021 national inventory estimated that 44,000 bridges nationwide are rated in poor condition. Contractors must be able to act fast and have a plan in place to secure infrastructure work, including obtaining bid bonds in a timely manner while preparing and updating bids.

The savviest construction and engineering companies are already leveraging technology solutions to optimize the construction phase, to increase productivity, trim costs and track projects in real time. Bidding/bonding is one essential and underutilized phase in which digital solutions can help contractors win in a fiercely competitive environment. Contractors should seek to take control of their bidding by leveraging online tools for bonding.


The traditional process to obtain bid and performance bonds involves a lengthy process of sending the bid invitation letter, job specifications and bid request forms to insurance agents who, in turn, would attempt to contact surety companies after lengthy credit and background checks. If the contractor subsequently wanted to submit another higher or lower bid, the agent would request more information, resulting in an endless back and forth. Small and medium contractors in particular need to achieve more with fewer resources, with little room for error and under tremendous pressure to stretch small profit margins.

Construction executives can now enlist technology platforms that make it possible to go online and swiftly and accurately acquire, control and keep track of bid, performance and payment bonds. When infrastructure work calls for immediate action to repair or rebuild, contractors can turn to digital solutions to focus on navigating the bidding process instead of worrying about filling out stacks of paperwork with a middleman. Digital transformation is all about speed, efficiency and automation. McKinsey & Co. suggests that digital transformation can result in cost reductions of 4% to 6%. It can also mean taking more control of your own destiny.


Construction businesses need the capability to obtain bid bonds quickly, as well as the capability to incorporate last-minute price changes as the situation unfolds. Contractors who issue their own bid bonds through digital platforms can account for last-minute labor costs, material supply substitutions and price fluctuations. These capabilities rely on a contractor’s ability to deal directly and digitally with a surety company, so they can issue their own bid bonds instantly online. These contractors move faster in obtaining bid bonds, instead of ceding power to intermediaries who may be motivated by commission. As a bonus, digital platforms mean that nobody knows the bid except the contractor and the government agency awarding the project. Further, online solutions enable construction leaders to deftly adjust bids, update work in progress, obtain additional surety credit and secure performance and payment bonds. This offers contractors the ability to submit strong bids in a competition where razor-thin margins determine wins and losses.


A close relationship exists between optimal bidding, risk management and profitability. But mastering the bidding process is about submitting not only winning bids but accurate bids in line with fluctuating costs, no easy task in today’s inflationary economy. Underbidding cuts profits, overbidding takes them out of contention. Small and medium builders that can best estimate costs maximize margins and win more bids. Overwhelmingly, 83% of engineering and construction companies said their top priority in dealing with the flurry of recent disruptive forces is achieving more accurate estimation of costs of materials and equipment. With numerous factors influencing labor, materials and energy costs, contractors cannot afford to incorrectly build future costs into bids, when such errors can be damaging if not catastrophic.

Construction leaders may utilize digital tools to minimize the risk of underbidding a project. Now they can leverage tech platforms to revise bids and issue their bid bonds. Contractors are utilizing project control platforms, PMIS and cost-management software that can crunch the numbers in real time so leaders can eliminate surprises and make informed decisions.


Construction companies are under pressure to deliver high-quality projects on time and within budget despite disruptive factors beyond their control. Deloitte reported that in 2023, “Most E&C companies are utilizing digital technologies to expand business opportunities and boost profits by reducing costs in the long run and enhancing project execution.” The digital transformation trend boils down to construction executives’ resistance to change being overtaken by their desire to gain control over their financials in order to cultivate certainty in uncertain times. Controlling financials translates into the capacity to appraise their financial situations on demand so they can make the right decisions in accordance with the up-to-the-minute health of a business. Construction businesses can use digital platforms to gain a clear and constantly updated view of financial statements, credit scores, work on hand, bid-history reports, management reports, current and aggregate limits, underwriting profiles and open bond liability.

The pressing infrastructure needs across the country, plus the Inflation Reduction Act’s strong public investment, mean that construction executives can win valuable contracts if they move with speed and precision in bidding and bonding. In a construction industry still trailing other sectors in digital transformation, companies, especially small and medium businesses, have a lot to gain by sensibly implementing digital platforms, beginning with an advantage when bidding for construction projects. Contractors can deploy tech platforms for virtually every business function, from talent recruitment to procurement. In their quest to boost productivity and efficiency, construction leaders say they view building information modeling and integrated construction-management systems as the two most valuable business functions to digitize for ROI. For small and medium construction businesses dipping toes into digitization, the adoption of digital platforms for bidding and bonding can give them a clearer view of their financials and yield a quick tech win that sets the stage for future data-driven initiatives. 

by Wayne Nunziata

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