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Tendering in construction

With high levels of construction planned in the UK, one of our specialist construction bid writers looks at the future contract opportunities within the construction industry and how to be successful when tendering.

Scale of future opportunities

The National Housing Federation (NHF) estimates that 340,000 new homes are required in England alone by 2031 in order to satisfy current demand. At least 145,000 of these will need to be recognised as affordable homes, including 90,000 available for social rent and 25,000 for shared ownership, meaning both local authorities and housing associations are likely to have an increasing number of opportunities for sizeable construction contracts.

To illustrate this, the plans of several G15 housing associations include:

  • Clarion Housing Group – Offering 50,000 more homes by 2031, with their approved pipeline already containing plans for 16,000 homes, including 7,500 to be completed by 2024.
  • Optivo – A target of building at least 7,000 new homes by 2025, a minimum of 85% of which will be affordable.
  • One Housing Group – Developing 5,000 new homes over the next 10 years, with at least 50% designated for affordable rent, London living rent or shared ownership.
  • Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing – Building 5,000 new homes by 2026.

The above gives an indication of the scale of construction planned in the South East and bidders can be sure that demand is likely to be replicated throughout the UK to address an affordable housing shortage, particularly in the post-COVID economic recovery period.

How to win a tender in construction

Bidders will need to complement a cost-effective offer with a well-rounded proposal describing how they intend to satisfy a range of other requirements in order to be successful. In addition to detailing their construction methodology, key considerations in the tender evaluation process which will need to be addressed are likely to include:

  • Maintaining site safety and security – A strong construction tender submission will include details of bidders’ standard processes and procedures, such as a formal site sign in and induction procedures and arrangements for keeping workers safe, with contract-specific measures. These will include arrangements for protecting the wider public, such as effective segregation of the site, and traffic management plans coordinating deliveries and vehicle movements.
  • Achieving low carbon standards – Achieving carbon reduction targets will be high on the buyer’s priority list. A recent Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note (PPN 06/21) stressed the importance of bidders’ ‘net zero’ plans being accounted for in Government contracts and this will cascade down to local authority and housing association opportunities. Bidders will therefore need to demonstrate how their methodology incorporates measures to deliver an energy-efficient building and meet environmental standards such as BREEAM and Passivhaus.
  • Providing social value and community benefits – As buyers will have a strong social purpose, bidders will need to describe how the project will benefit the area beyond the development itself. Examples would include creating employment and/or apprenticeship opportunities for local residents, working with schools in the area to offer careers guidance, and implementing measures to improve the environment. Tangible commitments containing defined outcomes to satisfy community needs will be best received by the buyer.

Similar themes will be applicable for other construction tender opportunities published by local authorities, such as new schools and community use buildings such as transport hubs.

Wider construction opportunities

Beyond construction works themselves, large-scale development of social housing and public buildings will also offer opportunities in a range of other industries. Prior to commencement, professional consultancies will be sought to provide design and project management services, and once developments are complete local contractors will be needed to provide ongoing grounds maintenance, security, servicing of heating systems and maintenance of fire safety systems.

Construction case study: Cynthia House Affordable Housing Scheme

The Cynthia House Affordable Housing Scheme for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council is an example of a typical construction contract opportunity. The multimillion-pound project, comprising the development of 12 flats and 10 houses, was evaluated based on areas such as:

  • Health and safety management – Site-specific proposals for maintaining the health, safety and welfare of the bidder’s workforce, local residents and the wider public were required. The response would need to detail who held responsibility and before detailing measures to be applied, covering the proximity of the site to houses, shops and recreation spaces.
  • Minimising impact of construction activity – In addition to ensuring the safety of residents and the public, bidders were asked to describe how associated disruption would be wholly eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level. Noise, debris and vibration would need to be addressed in the context of the works required, which included demolition of an existing structure.
  • Subcontractor management – Recognising the potential risk to timely completion the use of subcontractors could pose in the eyes of the council, measures to identify, approve and appoint subcontractors would need to be presented along with arrangements for effective ongoing management on site.
  • Procurement of materials – The successful bidder’s ability to minimise the risk of delays or cost increases in material purchasing was another risk identified by the buyer. A response presenting details of the bidder’s current supply chain and project-specific arrangements would be required, placing extra focus on long lead items needed to satisfy the specified requirement for a fabric-first approach to achieving low-energy standards.
  • Traffic management – Understanding of the Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) scheme would be required to evidence the bidder’s commitment to eliminating construction-related road risks. A structured traffic management plan would then need to be presented to demonstrate how site traffic would be controlled and scheduled via agreed access routes on surrounding roads and designated access times.

Our tender writing support helped one of our regular clients submit a detailed method statement addressing each area, securing full marks on quality and contributing to them being appointed to deliver the contract.

Tender writing support for construction contracts

Our team have successfully secured hundreds of construction contracts for our clients, supporting on a range of SQ, tender, PAS91 and RFP procedures. With experience in large-scale new-build construction through to repair and maintenance projects, we can support your organisation throughout the tender process. Contact us today for a free consultation call to discuss in more detail.

Call us now to speak to a member of our Bid Team:

0800 612 5563 or direct to mobile: 0773 940 7746

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