The ignore-at-your-own-risk rules about how the proposal is to be submitted:
- The document (content, organization, volume and section numbering, number of copies, binder labelling, page limits, and things that affect page definitions [paper size, font type and pitch, margins, line spacing, character spacing])
- The electronic version (file types, file names, size restrictions, media to be used)
- The packaging instructions (labelling, separation of financial and technical submissions)
- The delivery instructions (date, time, location, recipient)
They sometimes include submission mandatories.
They’re often internally inconsistent. They can sometimes be clarified and even negotiated with the client through the Q&A process. And sometimes not.
In Canadian contracting they’re also called Instructions to Bidders; in American government contracting usually called Instructions for Proposal Preparation (IFPP).
Never under any name are they to be confused with evaluation criteria, which specify how the document produced in response to these instructions will be marked.