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Incorporating both active and passive fire protection, the fire safety sector covers a range of services from design and installation to the servicing, upgrade, planned preventative maintenance and reactive repairs of fire systems and equipment across a variety of sectors, including local and central government, NHS buildings, schools, universities and housing associations.

Fire and security sector

2021 proved another challenging yet opportunistic year for the fire industry. Despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit uncertainty, alongside the continuously evolving response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) has reported that 61% of respondents to their Market Conditions Survey had received the same or substantially more work orders. Additionally, according to recent market analysis undertaken by GMI, the fire protection systems market size is projected to grow at 5.5% CAGR from 2021 to 2027, with the current value of the total UK fire protection industry currently estimated at approximately £6 billion.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, research from public sector marketplace specialists Tussell indicated the number of fire safety tenders published increased by 56%. Whilst the biggest increase in tenders published was from local government, other public sectors such as schools, universities, the NHS and most notably housing associations have seen an increase in the number of fire safety tenders published. Far from being a spike in response to a tragedy, these trends have continued to develop concurrently with the evolving requirements of statutory & regulatory obligations for fire safety and evacuation procedures now required of authorities as duty-holders. Most notably, this includes amendments to the Fire Safety Order 2005 as part of the Fire Safety Act 2021. Resultingly, bidding authorities are increasingly looking to tender for the services of fire safety experts to ensure the safety of their building users and guarantee that they are protected from any liability in relation to statutory or regulatory obligations.

Common topics in fire and security system tenders

At Executive Compass, our team of tender writers have successfully completed hundreds of bids for fire safety contracts.

Based on this extensive experience, the common topics buyers ask of companies bidding for fire safety works include:

  • Track record – authorities tendering for works will seek assurances that bidding companies have established experience in providing similar services on comparable contracts to the scope of works they intend to deliver, with a strong track record of meeting or exceeding all contractual requirements, including service level agreements and key performance indicators.
  • Health and safety – although dependent on type of works being bid for, fire safety works can involve working in occupied premises such as general housing, blocks of flats, care homes, schools and hospitals. The safety of stakeholders will be a principal concern for any buyer, and bidders will need to demonstrate safe systems of work (SSoW) and accompanying risk assessments and method statements (RAMS) to provide confidence that works will be delivered safely.
  • Quality management – bidders will need to successfully evidence that quality is consistently embedded throughout their organisation, from only deploying appropriately qualified and competent operatives, carefully selecting compliant materials / parts, to ensuring a rigorous auditing and inspection process is in place, providing confidence that they can comply with the specification, current legislation, best practice and professional standards.
  • Installation projects – buyers will look for bids that detail how they will create and carry out a detailed programme of works, complete with task independencies and key milestones, to ensure the project is completed to budget, on time and with zero defects upon handover.
  • Servicing and inspection – buyers will require a breakdown of the bidder’s resources and associated expertise that will be allocated to delivering the fire servicing works. This will include a bidder’s ability to schedule servicing, inspection and testing activity throughout the year to ensure that all statutory compliance is maintained, for example, processes to guarantee Grade A system alarm servicing is carried out every six months in accordance with BS 5839-1.
  • Planned preventative maintenance (PPM) – bidders will need to demonstrate how they will develop and deliver bespoke PPM plans to enhance system / asset functionality, reduce instances of faults developing and ultimately save the buyer money through maximising asset life and minimising associated repair costs.
  • Reactive repairs – the majority of servicing and maintenance contracts will require bidders to a provide 24/7/365 responsive repair service. Buyers will therefore seek to understand how the bidder will receive, coordinate, and monitor call-outs to ensure their specified timescales will be adhered to.
  • Resources – buyers will seek assurances that bidding companies will have sufficient resources in place to successful deliver the works from contract commencement to completion, broadly split into two main categories:
    • Staffing resource – including not only how many operatives a company has, but how many will be assigned to successfully complete the scope of works within the required timeframes. Additionally, if any of the works need to be subcontracted (e.g., for sprinkler systems or dry risers as part of a maintenance contract), assurances will need to be provided that these works will be delivered with no deviation in service levels.
    • Material resource – whether for an installation or servicing and maintenance contract, bidding organisations will need to demonstrate that sufficient materials, parts, equipment and plant will be available to complete works with specified timescales.
  • Logistics planning – unless completing an installation project on a construction site / unoccupied building, it is unlikely a contractor will be able to store materials on site. For example, if bidding for a fire door replacement programme in a hospital, they will need assurances that you have sufficient systems in place to deliver and install the doors on a “just-in-time” basis, alongside establishing suitable access and egress routes and traffic management systems to minimise disruption to their staff and patients.
  • Customer service – Considering works will often need to be delivered within occupied premises, buyers will want to be reassured that the bidder operates a customer-centric delivery model, including established customer care procedures. Furthermore, for contracts involving servicing of fire safety equipment in individual residences, buyers will look for effective methods for scheduling appointments and reducing instances of no-access, ensuring that statutory and regulatory servicing requirements are completed within compliance dates.

Tender writing support

All bid writers within the Executive Compass team have considerable experience in this sector, having completed hundreds of fire safety bids and tenders over the years. Our proven in-house style will maximise the strength of your submission, conveying your business’ services in the best light, guiding you on your way to procurement success. View our services to learn more about how we can help you, or contact us to discuss with a member of our team.

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