Public sector procurement is an effective means of establishing and developing a pipeline of work at an agreed rate, supporting your organisation’s financial stability. Since they can be so valuable, construction tenders are often highly competitive. It is therefore imperative that you submit high-quality, compliant bids that demonstrate your ability to successfully deliver works to a high standard. Below we have shared some tips on how to maximise your chances of success when submitting construction tenders.
Make sure that the tender is right for you
At first appraisal, a tender opportunity may seem appealing due to various factors such as the nature of the works, contract duration or value. However, you must delve deeper into the tender documents to make sure that the opportunity is right for you, and that you meet requirements such as:
- Geographical location: can your operatives realistically and reliably deliver required services on time and within budget? Do you have the required supply chain infrastructure in place to source building materials?
- Financial requirements: whilst a multi-million-pound contract may be attractive, ensuring that you meet the required turnover threshold and that you can satisfy financial evaluations is critical to remaining compliant.
- Trade memberships and certifications, such as SSIP schemes and Gas Safe. Many buyers expect bidders to demonstrate that they have met stringent criteria required by the memberships and accreditations.
Understanding the scoring criteria and the weighting placed on each question by the authority is also crucial to winning the tender, as these weightings can provide a valuable insight into the buyer’s priorities and preferences. More broadly, if the contracting authority imposes a price-quality split of 60% quality and 40% price, this demonstrates an emphasis on quality of the bid, rather than a sole focus on lowest price, and your response should reflect this.
Ensure you have the correct memberships and certifications
In the first instance, memberships and certifications may be a prerequisite to be considered eligible at all. Beyond this, they also demonstrate to prospective buyers that your organisation has been assessed and found compliant in the field linked to the accreditation, e.g. health and safety, environmental management, quality management etc., which can help you to demonstrate the effectiveness of your approaches to service delivery. In some cases, and depending on the format of the tender submission, these memberships and accreditations may even enable you to bypass sections altogether, streamlining the process and creating efficiencies. This is particularly true when buyers use the PAS 91 format for their selection questionnaires.
Examples of memberships and certifications favoured in the construction industry include:
- ISO 9001 – certification assures potential buyers that all work completed by the contractor is carried out to a consistently high quality and monitored using measures such as routine site inspections and audits.
- ISO 14001 – a certified environmental management system demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact, such as waste and air pollution, and be more sustainable.
- ISO 45001 – and ISO 45001-certified health and safety management system confirms the bidder organisation’s policies and procedures follow key HSE regulation.
- Constructionline membership, which can help to demonstrate compliance in 13 areas of risk management. Constructionline is a widely recognised SSIP scheme, confirming to potential buyers that your company has met stringent criteria to become a member.
- CHAS membership, demonstrating your company’s compliance with HSE regulations through proactive risk management.
- CIOB membership – held by members of your site supervising team, CIOB is internationally recognised, and demonstrates that work will be completed in compliance with the CIOB code of conduct and practices.
Demonstrate you have relevant construction experience
A crucial element of any bid or tender is demonstrating your previous experience in successfully delivering services or works in similar environments. For example, an organisation bidding to undertake renovations in live operational buildings such as schools or construction of a housing development will be expected to demonstrate their track record in successfully managing similar works and overcoming relevant challenges. Providing detailed, relevant and impactful case studies demonstrates your ability to deliver the contract. Within your response, you should detail how the contract was delivered, using specific themes and topics to provide a comprehensive response, covering aspects such as:
- Budget, schedule and scope – provide a clear and targeted overview of what you did on the construction project. Were the construction works completed on time and on budget? Were there any key challenges you had to overcome?
- Quality assurance: How you managed and monitored delivery of the construction project (e.g. routine site audits) and ensured work was completed to the highest quality.
- Effective communication: How you communicated any progress or issues with the authority, e.g. routine progress meetings to demonstrate performance against key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Training: How you ensured operatives and subcontractors had the requisite training prior to and during service delivery, such as the use of skill gaps analyses to inform additional training and routine toolbox talks.
Demonstrate knowledge of current legislation relating to construction
Across all responses, you must demonstrate to the potential buyer a key understanding of appropriate legislation including:
- Building Safety Act 2022
- Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002
- Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Working at Height (2005).
Demonstrating your ability to conduct in-depth risk assessments, identify hazards and risks on site and implementing appropriate control measures, in line with HSE regulations, will reassure the buyer that you are well informed, and remain aware of legislation and how it should be applied practically. Adding examples to case studies will demonstrate how the legislation underpins your company policies and procedures. Typical examples might include your approach to putting legislation and guidelines into practice during construction, such as whilst working at height; when conducting thorough risk assessments; and when ensuring all operatives’ training and qualifications are consistent with regulations relevant to the works (e.g. valid PASMA training).
Don’t be afraid to include innovations or value for money
When reviewing the tender documents and quality questions, you should continually ask yourself what your unique selling point (USP) is and how can you stand out from other bidders. For example, is there an innovative construction method or tool you have trialled that streamlines the process and can lead to time- and cost-saving efficiencies? Or have you identified areas in the proposed programme where you can save time and money via value engineering? As long as you can back these offers up with evidence, and you are confident that you can deliver them within the budget, include them to demonstrate your willingness to go the extra mile.
Our specialist writers are highly experienced in completing countless successful construction tenders and can support your team through all stages of bidding for a construction contract. We specialise in developing a clear and detailed insight into your company’s structures, processes and procedures, and translating this into a persuasive, high-quality bid submission. Every day, our team is supporting organisations from national construction clients through to SMEs and smaller contractors and subcontractors. For more information on how we can support you, contact us free on 0800 612 5563 or email email@example.com.
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