The next step: Putting together specifications that are in keeping with the needs and sourcing

The specifications are only drafted after having precisely defined the needs and explored all the options on the market.

Naturally, this work is an essential phase of the acquisition process. The specifications, or Cahier des Clauses Techniques Particulières et Financières[1] (technical and financial specifications) – in French and European public procurement law – are the result of a process which should enable the buyer to make the necessary technical decisions and consistent technical compromises. The responses to invitations to tender must therefore be analysed with reference to this document: does the proposal comply with the initially defined specifications or not?

The content and drafting of the specifications require great rigour in its content and the drafting process, which may require Assistance à la Maîtrise d’Ouvrage (consultant technicians). The buyer must be in charge of drafting the specification document: they can (must) seek the opinion of the operator but they must retain final responsibility over it.

The specification document constitutes the manufacturer’s contractual commitment regarding the technical aspects of the vehicle. Upon the response of the tenderers, the bids can be compared. For each item, the response will be unrestricted or in accordance with the buyer’s request, which may be a specific (e.g. a standard 12m bus) or a range (an engine with a power between 250 and 300HP or a minimum of 280HP).

The sourcing also establishes a consistent approach to the elements that will be included in the tender process, those that may be optional and to which all or part of the manufacturers may respond, and those that will be qualified as special arrangements and considered less relevant for economic reasons, in particular[2].

Finally, this is where you will find all the specific characteristics related to the context in which the vehicles will be used (“tropicalisation” type adaptations):

The items that will be found in this document are:

  • Vehicle configuration items: dimensions, weight, floor, overall structure, etc.
  • Noise level
  • Engine specifications (power, maximum speed, etc.), the type of fuel and the EURO standard, tank capacity, anti-pollution standards, etc.
  • Gearbox type
  • Axle type
  • Batteries and alternator
  • Lubrication system
  • Cooling system
  • Suspension type
  • Braking and retarder system
  • Tyres: type, supply included or not, etc.
  • Hydraulic and pneumatic circuits
  • The readiness for or installation of on-board equipment for passenger information, ticketing, or operator or driver aid systems
  • The type and nature of the exterior lights
  • Thermal elements: air conditioning, ventilation, vents, heating, demisting, etc.
  • Bodywork: material, type (panels, one-piece, etc.)
  • The treatments applied to the chassis or bodywork, particularly concerning corrosion
  • The number, dimensions and type of doors
  • The windows: type, opening, etc.
  • The driving position: organisation, dashboard, type of seat, equipment, etc.
  • Passenger equipment: number, type and location of seats, type of the floor and floor covering, interior lighting, nature and type of bars and handrails, type of request stop and door management, nature, number and type of information panels, location of PRM – person with reduced mobility (wheelchair unit, pushchair area, bike area, etc.)

[1] The financial aspect can be integrated into another contractual document.

[1] These elements are so specific that a modification of the production of the vehicle is required for the order concerned, which has significant cost implications.