Taking your workmanship from good to great by tendering ethically

The HVAC industry in South Africa is changing. New players are entering the market and existing companies are looking at expanding into international territories. Despite the fledgling economy, this is exciting times for the HVAC industry.

In general, South African HVAC companies are practising a term we seldom read about in our local news, good workmanship. The term workmanship is steeped in history. It is a term used to describe the degree of skill which a product is made or a job is done. South African HVAC companies, within a global perspective, offer relatively good workmanship. Adopting rules and regulations from England, HVAC associations like the South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors’ Association (SARACCA) ensure members to a high degree of standard or work.

So, how can HVAC Sub Contractors take their companies from good to great! HVAC Sub Contractors are required to produce the best workmanship possible, not only to build long-term relationships with clients but to ensure safe use and handling of HVAC equipment. This could equate to surgeons consistently striving to ensure that highest quality and standard are executed during surgeries.

The Tender

This is where it all begins. It is vital for Sub Contractors to understand and be clear on the term “ethical tendering”. The lines of ethics tend to blur when companies remain pressured to perform and show a profit. For HVAC Sub Contractors, it should go beyond revenue. Sub Contractors need to ensure that once a tender is submitted it becomes part of the company’s history. If the tender is awarded to that company, the company would need to execute the tender with relative ease and precision, always striving for the best workmanship possible.

Unlike companies that produce consumables, HVAC hardware is here to stay. These structures created and installed by HVAC Sub Contractors are built to last. Past projects become a calling card, your reputational evidence of your workmanship.

It remains said; “completing a job with poor workmanship may win you an instant payment, but will cost you a long term debt.

Practitioners Ability

The main question you need to ask yourself when entering a tender is, can my company execute the work required, within the space of time allocated? In order to answer this, tender briefings have to be clear, stipulating full requirements, and time constraints.

Your ability as an HVAC Sub Contractors to produce great workmanship will give you the great competitive edge. Being selective over which tenders to apply for, is not seen as gluttony of work, but rather an opportunity to only apply for projects you feel comfortable in working on.

You don’t need to win them all to make a profit.


This by no means an easy feat. Pricing tenders correctly is an art in itself. What needs to remain clear here is that under quoting on tenders, to ensure being awarded the job can cause irreparable damage to your company’s reputation and of course cash flow.

Always ensure that you are aware of all costs involved, and plan for the unplanned. HVAC Sub Contractors need to understand, that unlike surgeon, each job is operated under different circumstances.

The adjudication

Transparency is the name of the game! It is vital for practitioners to ensure that the adjudication process is executed correctly and by law. The quoted price of each tender submitted needs to be disclosed. This has to be done at the submission site, after the closing time of the tender.

The HVAC Sub Contractors spend millions annually on tendering processes within their organisations, and it is essential that there is a value generated by these costs. Ethical tendering is a cornerstone to every HVAC Company.