The UK construction sector covers a diverse range of services which encompass the design, building construction and ongoing maintenance and repair of buildings and infrastructure.
Outline of construction services
The sector can be broadly be split into new build construction and refurbishment, but the size and complexity of schemes can vary significantly. Typically, these can range from small construction contracts, like a new classroom for a local primary school to a multi-million-pound, mixed-use development, or the refitting of kitchens and bathrooms to a major refurbishment of a 10-storey housing block. Construction also straddles many different sectors, including public and private housing, retail, industrial, commercial offices, education, healthcare, civic buildings and infrastructure.
The construction industry is dominated by SMEs, who can access the market either by bidding for small construction contracts and being taken on as the principal contractor, for example to deliver a new school classroom, or alternatively acting as tier 2 or tier 3 sub-contractors to the main contractor.
Examples of construction tenders and related services:
- Professional services: e.g. architectural, structural and M&E design and consultancy, building surveying, project management and specialist services such as asbestos surveys and removal.
- New build: e.g. design and build, complete construction, groundworks, fit-outs, mechanical and electrical installation, and painting and decorating.
- Maintenance and refurbishment: e.g. concrete repairs, kitchen and bathroom refits, window and door replacements, and roofing.
- Exterior works: e.g. temporary works, cladding, roofing and landscaping.
- Highways: consultancy services, road marking, waterproofing and structural repairs.
The UK Government’s programme of public sector investment offers potential construction contracts totalling many billions of pounds a year. The Government Construction Pipeline provides information on current and planned Government-led construction market activity for suppliers and contractors, for transparency in tendering opportunities. In its analysis of the Pipeline in 2016, KPMG identified that 84% of the pipeline’s value comprised projects in transport (£92.2 billion), energy (£32.3 billion), and education (£27.9. billion). A further 15% came from the Ministry of Defence (£6.9 billion), science and research (£6.9 billion), flood (£4.9 billion), health (£4.3 billion), justice (£1.8 billion), housing and regeneration (£1.4 billion) and police forces (£1.3 billion).
At Executive Compass, we have worked on hundreds of construction tender submissions in the construction industry, including notable contracts for a diverse range of high profile buyers, such as:
- A2Dominion Housing Group: contractor framework for design and construction services
- London & Quadrant Housing Trust: electrical testing and remedial works
- Fusion 21: education modular buildings framework
- London Borough of Brent: design and build of a new school building
- Willmott Dixon: design consortium
- Network Rail: building and civils asset management delivery
- Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Building Construction Services
- Crown Commerial Services Construction Framework.
Construction tender opportunities
Both public and private sector clients use the SQ and PQQ process to shortlist potential suppliers. One of the challenges, particularly for SMEs, is that completing these can be a resource intensive activity. In addition to this, different clients often use different pre-qualification schemes, which means if you decide to bid for contracts regularly, you might have to become a member of various schemes. Alternatively, if you are not a member of a client’s chosen pre-qualification scheme, you might be required to complete their own specific PQQ form, which doesn’t follow any standardised format. This is an acknowledged issue, and the central government recommends that public sector clients use the Publicly Available Specification 91 (PAS 91) document as a basis for their PQQ forms.
Executive Compass recognises these challenges and we are well versed in the completion of SQs and PQQs and the tendering process. We can provide expert consultancy, and guidance and advice on your construction tender. Our services include a ‘bid, no bid’ advisory stage, and if we believe a contract is not right for you, we will always advise you before you choose to bid for the opportunity. In addition, we are well-placed to look out for suitable construction services opportunities for your organisation, and to support you at each stage of the tendering process.