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Last edited 18 May 2016

1c: Preparation and brief (supplier appointments)

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This stage involves appointing 'suppliers', and it may be repeated a number of times throughout the project.

Suppliers may be:

  • Independent advisers appointed to help set up the project and provide independent advice.
  • Consultants appointed to design the development and perhaps to inspect works on site.
  • Contractors appointed to construct the development.
  • An integrated supply team appointed to design, construct and perhaps to operate the development.

A range of documentation will need to be prepared and important decisions made about the organisation of the project before the appointment process begins. These are described in the stage: 1b: Preparation and brief (brief and information requirements).


Potential suppliers might be identified by a process of; recommendation, research and interview, open competition (with or without design), selective competition (with or without design), through an existing relationship or through an existing framework agreement. It may be necessary to advertise supply contracts (such as OJEU adverts) on some projects.

The employer may wish to carry out a pre-qualification process to identify a short-list of suppliers that have the experience, capacity and financial standing necessary for the project. This might involve a pre-qualification questionnaire, which should include a BIM assessment to determine their BIM capability, gaps in skills and training needs.

Based on the responses received, the employer may arrange pre-tender interviews with an initial short list of suppliers, then prepare a final short list that are invited to submit proposals. They may also hold mid-tender interviews to provide clarification of requirements.

The employer issues the prospective suppliers with employer’s requirements (sometimes referred to as 'tender documents' or 'request for proposals' depending upon the procurement route that is being followed), which will include relevant extracts from the employer’s information requirements and a BIM protocol. The need for a supplier information manager role within each organisation should be specified, with their responsibilities set out in the employer's information requirements.

The employer's information requirements should define the format that is required from the supplier's proposals so that they are easy to use, test against requirements and benchmark against each other and other information. Where design proposals are required, these might include building information models and outputs from those models.

The suppliers prepare contractor's proposals or consultant's proposals (sometimes referred to as 'tenders' or 'bids') in response to the employer’s requirements. This should include a pre-contract BIM execution plan which is a direct response to the employer’s information requirements (rather than a generic response), setting out their proposed approach, capability, capacity, competence, training needs and so on. Where more than one supplier has been appointed, there may be an overarching BIM execution plan, with responsibility for its preparation set out in appointment documents, which should then inform subsequent pre-contract BIM execution plans developed by other suppliers.

Where a supplier is being appointed at this stage to undertake a large, complex project, the pre-contract BIM execution plan might include a project implementation plan (PIP) setting out their capability, competence and experience, along with quality documentation and including a supply chain capability summary (SCCS). This may also identify education and training requirements.

Suppliers proposals should also give details of commissioning and handover procedures, including information handover procedures, in line with the soft landings framework.

The employer should prepare a tender appraisal report and may invite suitable suppliers to interview before entering into negotiations with the preferred supplier(s).

Click here to see a diagram illustrating the relationship between contractual documents for BIM.

Employer’s decision point

The table below sets out examples of plain language questions that an employer might ask at this decision point and the information they might require to answer those questions.

Plain language questions Information required
Do the supplier's proposals comply with the employer’s requirements?

Does the preferred supplier (and their supply chain) have the appropriate capabilities and capacity?

Is any training required?

Is the price acceptable and is sufficient funding in place?

Should the preferred supplier be appointed?

Employer’s requirements.

Supplier relevant employer's information requirements.

BIM protocol.

Contractors proposals (or consultants proposals).

Pre-contract BIM execution plan.

Tender appraisal report

Next stage >> 2: Concept design.