Over the years, construction has continued to be the largest public sector expenditure by volume and value. Almost 16% of UK construction spend is by the public sector. Budgets for government construction contracts are vast, meaning there is an opportunity for business of all sizes. There are several reasons for this. The UK government is keen to encourage Small, Medium Enterprises into government supply chains in order to improve value for money within the public sector.
Although tendering for government construction contracts is highly regulated, the advantage is that no matter how small your business, there is always an opportunity to supply the government. Their remit extends across all major areas of the UK construction sector.
Additionally, the government has to be transparent in the way they are spending public money. This means there are no grey areas during both the tendering process and any time spent under contract.
Most Economically Advantageous Tender
Nearly every government construction bid will be evaluated in the same method. This is known as ‘MEAT‘ and it stands for: Most Economically Advantageous Tender.
What this means, is the client is looking for a contractor who can provide the best value throughout their bid. Therefore, this gives the best chance of delivering a successful project.
It is important you don’t misunderstand what this means for your bid. Being economically advantageous does not necessarily mean ‘cheapest’.
Do not make the mistake of deliberately pricing low-cost bids in an effort to win. This will result in you risking two outcomes:
You may end up completing the project at a loss, meaning you lose money instead of making it!
Annoying your clients by either failing to meet quality standards or having to request additional funding later on or, at worst – breaking contract and/or getting thrown off-site!
Instead, you should write your bid to demonstrate clearly and concisely how you will deliver an outstanding service to the client:
Completing the construction to meet the client’s specifications.
Provide a quality construction team who can safely deliver the works.
Provide added value to the construction works.
Let’s break this down…
1. Meeting Specifications
When bid writing for a construction sector tender you should clearly demonstrate how you will deliver the required works:
Show the client you know how to will meet the needs of the works.
Give examples of your track record achieving similar specifications.
Provide references and testimonials for each example where possible.
2. Provide a quality construction team who can safely deliver the works.
Demonstrate in your bid that the team delivering these works have the capability and experience to guarantee a successful project. This can include:
Summary introductions to team members
Provision of qualification documents
Examples of previous projects
Examples of track record working together with the Client and or contract partners
The key point to remember is you need to provide confidence to the client that your team know what they’re doing and will deliver the project successfully
As part of your bid, you may be invited to interview before the award stage. This is a chance to introduce key people to the client and let them showcase their expertise, providing confidence in them, and your bid.
3. Provide added value to the construction works
This is an important (and often forgotten) part of your bid. Writing about how you can provide added value to the construction contract is a big part of being economically advantageous. What you can offer will vary from bid to bid, but examples of what it can include are:
Planning works to minimise project costs e.g. ordering materials in bulk to save cost and well before they’re needed to prevent delays.
Reducing (or removing altogether) waste from your site by repurposing it. E.g. turning waste wood into outside seating for a local benefactor.
Investment in the Client’s customers e.g. employing local people or subcontractors to deliver the works?
Upskilling the communities where you work with work placements/skills workshops etc.
Increasing quality of life for local residents by providing free to access events and resources. Examples of this include coffee mornings for local elderly residents, hosting soup kitchens for rough sleepers or donations to local food banks.
Types of Government Construction Contracts
Typical with most government construction contracts, opportunities are subject to a legal framework, in the interests of promoting fair, transparent competition and value for money. Contract opportunities can come in the form of:
Standard, direct, winner-takes-all contracts, in which one supplier will be appointed to deliver the specification. An example of such a government construction contract currently available to tender is:
Contract Title: South Ferriby, Skinners Lane Car Park Resurfacing
Buyer: North Lincolnshire Council
Contract Length: 2 months
Framework agreements, in which multiple approved suppliers are utilised, often on an ad-hoc, call-off basis. An example of government construction framework currently out to tender is:
Contract Title: London and Quadrant Housing Trust – Paving Products Framework 2020 – 2024
Buyer: L&Q Construction
Contract Length: 4 years
Dynamic purchasing systems (DPS), with extended deadlines so you can apply at any time, with workstreams following similar to that of framework agreements. An example of a current government construction DPS out to tender is:
DPS Title: DPS for the Supply, Delivery and Maintenance of Leakage and Data Logging Equipment
Buyer: NI Water and its Subsidiaries
Contract Length: Ongoing until 2028
Regardless of its form, opportunities can substantially increase turnover and profits, allowing your business to develop further.
Getting involved in public sector construction can reap awards, as this sector often represents numerous high-value contract lots. Perhaps the most well-known ongoing opportunity for the procurement of government construction contracts is HS2. HS2, or High Speed 2, is a landmark project proposed by the government, which began in 2009. The project involves the design and construction of brand-new high-speed railway tracks and stations. They will connect Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and London. HS2 is the biggest project of its kind in Europe and continues to provide numerous opportunities to secure government construction contracts.
Despite the issues and rather significant financial stumbles surrounding HS2, the project will be running long-term. As of 11 February, prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the full project will be followed through. Getting on board could very well be profitable for your business.
HS2 contract opportunities are in full supply for large businesses and SMEs alike. HS2 place particular focus on making project work more accessible for small or medium-sized enterprises. This is a unique opportunity to build contract experience on a national, government framework. This can typically be challenging and inaccessible for SMEs.
The tier system HS2 ltd uses for procurement means a fairer opportunity to tender for projects. Bidders can apply as a Tier 1 direct supplier for high-value opportunities. Contractors who gain work as a Tier 1 contractor are required to advertise relevant supply chain opportunities, which benefits SMEs. This amounts to thousands of government construction contract supply chain opportunities.
HS2 contract experience will be invaluable for demonstrating experience in future tenders. Showing a clear commitment to UK infrastructure.
Where to Find Government Construction Contracts
Government construction contracts can be found in several places. There are quite literally thousands of procurement portals. Knowing where to find tenders that suit your service offering can be impossible.
Tender tracking can consume your businesses, time, resource and money. Which is why Hudson has developed Construction Tenders. A product designed to help you source and secure new opportunities for your business via the public procurement process.
How does it work?
Hudson’s Construction Tenders portal is constantly updated with the latest large and small construction tenders. The portal allows you to filter through new tenders by simply entering keywords, locations, sectors and budgets.
These filters allow you to tailor the portal so that it becomes completely bespoke to your service offering. This feature is particularly relevant to small construction tenders, enabling you to filter works based on value and scope of works. Ensuring only suitable opportunities are presented to you and your business.
Once the tenders have been sourced, our team upload each tender manually. They then tag the tenders with relevant keywords that match the opportunity. This means that our clients can simply enter their keywords (i.e. small construction tenders) into the search field and instantly see all the live tenders in their industry.
Get in touch
Sign up to Construction Tenders today and receive a daily bulletin straight to your inbox, containing all relevant small construction tenders uploaded that day.
This includes the following:
Small Construction Tenders
Civil Engineering Tenders
Painting & Decorating
Masonry and many more.
If you would like to have a free demo of our live tendering site, to see the construction tenders we have currently, please do not hesitate to contact our Hudson Discover team who will start your free trial today.