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Executive Compass specialises in the completion of high-quality, winning tenders for civil engineering.

Contracts for civil engineering are offered by a broad range of organisations. These can include local authorities responsible for maintaining roads and public spaces, government-owned companies such as Highways England and private sector organisations, for example water utilities with ongoing construction projects, maintenance and improvement programmes. They are either looking for a single contractor to undertake the works, or to appoint a number of firms to a multi-supplier framework. Project types also vary, from single, fixed price commissions to ongoing programmes of work.

Civil engineering tenders

The broad scope of activities that can fall under the ‘civil engineering’ banner means that contract values can vary significantly from the tens of thousands of pounds up to £1-billion plus. As such, programmes are often split into lots to reflect this, for example:

  • Minor civils and building works – the phrase ‘minor works’ is commonly used for small, relatively straightforward construction projects, both new and repair/renovation, typically less than £500,000 in value. It can include a wide range of activities such as:
    • Construction of above and below ground structures (typically below 2m in height or over 1.2m in depth)
    • Drainage works
    • Flood alleviation and land drainage improvements
    • Footpath and cycleway improvements
    • Highway improvements
    • Hard landscaping – for example construction of retaining walls, steps and ramps, paved areas or playgrounds
    • Environmental improvements
    • Provision and installation of street furniture
    • Vegetation clearance
  • Major and complex projects – typically this involves, large one-off projects above £500,000 in value covering new build, renovations and repairs. Works typically encompass public buildings, infrastructure such as drainage, roads, flood defences, bridges, coastal defences and contamination remediation.

Given the wide range in values and complexity of works, the sector is made up of local and regional SMEs and large national construction groups. It is true that negotiated tendering, and overhead and profit, do play a part in civil engineering tenders and project costs can be a huge focus, however there is a lot more to the tender process.

Tender writing in civil engineering contracts

As you would expect from the diverse range of organisations commissioning civil engineering works, priorities can vary significantly, and this is reflected in the types of responses and supporting evidence required during the tender process and in the tender documents. Our team of bid writers have extensive experience and knowledge in the types of information and responses required, and are well-placed to add significant value to submissions by ensuring the responses reflect the requirements of the commissioning authority.

Some of the common themes in the invitation to tender that companies looking to tender for civils contracts should be aware of include:

  • Track record – companies bidding for works, particularly the higher value frameworks, will need to demonstrate a track record in civil engineering design, construction and refurbishment works aligned to the types of projects the commissioning authority is looking to deliver.
  • Project management – clients often want providers to evidence the competency of those who will be planning and overseeing the delivery of programmes of work, including their experience, industry qualifications and additional training such as project management qualifications.
  • Resources – given the scale of many contracts, and the need to deliver within tight programmes and possible cost savings, authorities expect comprehensive management, operational control, and access to plant and materials.
  • Health and safety – the nature of the works and the close proximity in many cases to public areas means a heightened focus on health and safety and how this will be achieved practicably during project delivery
  • Social value – local authorities in particular often have well-developed social value strategies, and they look to service providers to support them in the delivery of these. Increasingly an integrated, multi-stranded approach is required, with clear, demonstrable benefits.

At Executive Compass, we have worked on hundreds of SQ and tender submissions across the civil engineering sector and more widely, the construction industry. This includes contracts for a range of high profile buyers, such as:

  • Network Rail: civil and building and civils five-year framework
  • London Borough of Haringey: domestic heating installation contract
  • Crawley Borough Council: civil and hard landscaping minor works
  • Colchester Borough Council: groundworks, drainage and hard landscaping
  • Kent County Council: pothole blitz

Advice from professional tender writers

Executive Compass recognises the challenges faced by organisations when bidding for contracts, and our team of full-time writers is well versed in the completion of SQs and PQQs and the tendering process. Our team can provide expert consultancy and guidance and advice on your tendering needs.

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. Contact us for more information or view live contract notices here.

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