It is true: clients do not only accept the GAEB file. Often, they even demand it. Nevertheless, the following applies: Caution!
What does the client really require?
Some clients specify that a GAEB file must be completed and submitted. Others make it optional, but explicitly mark it as a possibility. Still others seem to have never heard the term “GAEB” (happens!). Of those that require or even allow a GAEB file, some also want a completed PDF. Still others are satisfied with the GAEB file or a PDF. In short, it’s a muddle! All you can do: read carefully and, if necessary, ask what is wanted.
The trouble with the version
You know the drill. Different generations of GAEB files have different extensions. Not all of them are compatible with every program. If you fill the bill of quantities with an outdated program, you will quickly end up with complete chaos. And chaos is usually at the expense of the bidder. It is therefore not enough to determine exactly which GAEB file must be submitted. You should also pay close attention to the extension of the version provided by the client. And whether you can edit these files cleanly with your own software.
And if it goes wrong?
If it goes wrong, there is often already no readable offer at the opening date. The client either cannot read out a GAEB file, or he could, but believes he does not have to because he has made a different submission specification. Or, quite differently, he has only requested GAEB files and refuses to read out the PDF, although exactly this would be easy for him (who can’t read a PDF?). All this is very annoying for the bidder. Because the bidder must now reckon with the exclusion of the offer. One of the exciting legal questions in this context is whether the specification “GAEB”, “PDF”, “One of both” or “Both” is a real form specification, the violation of which could justify the exclusion of the bid. In any case, you should defend yourself. Sometimes it’s not so clear what the contracting officer has asked for. Feel free to call, use legal help here.
*This legal tip is not a substitute for legal advice in individual cases. By its very nature, it is incomplete, nor is it specific to your case, and it also represents a snapshot in time, as legal principles and case law change over time. It cannot and does not cover all conceivable constellations, serves entertainment and initial orientation purposes and is intended to motivate you to clarify legal issues at an early stage, but not to discourage you from doing so.