Public project: tender
The Government Construction Strategy proposes that publicly-funded projects adopt either a design and build, private finance initiative (PFI) or prime contract procurement route. These routes involve contracting an integrated supply team to design, construct and sometimes finance, operate and maintain the development. Traditional procurement routes that separate design and construction should not be used unless it can be demonstrated they offer better value.
 Starting the work stage.
The client arranges a stage start-up meeting with the internal client team, independent client advisers and project manager (if appointed) to issue any amendments to the project execution plan, confirm the procurement route and to agree the programme and procedures that will be adopted for tendering. The client gives instructions relating to lists of approved contractors, OJEU requirements, preferred form of contract, contract conditions, the allocation of risk and the appointment of the contract administrator (or employer's agent). The contract administrator (if appointed) discusses with the client their delegated limit for issuing instructions in relation to the contract.
If it is necessary and has not already been done, OJEU or other adverts are prepared and placed.
- Public sector contracts may subject to fair payment practices.
- Public sector contracts may be subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
- Public sector contracts are increasingly likely to include requirements for building information modelling (BIM). This may affect consultants’ appointments, pre-construction services agreements, the main contract and sub-contracts in relation to the supply of design information and ‘as built’ or ‘as manufactured and installed' information.
 Preparing the tender documentation.
If it has not already been done, the client develops the project brief into an output-based specification. They then select the form of contract and contract conditions (perhaps with advice from independent client advisers and project manager if there is one) and co-ordinate the preparation of tender documentation.
The client co-ordinates the preparation of pre-construction information (perhaps with help from the principal designer if the client has appointed one), and if it has not already been done, the client prepares or arranges for the independent client advisers to prepare a site waste management plan (if required).
The client prepares (or arranges for the preparation of) a pre-tender estimate, cash flow projection and tender pricing document (or contract sum analysis), then co-ordinates a review of the tender documents and makes amendments if necessary.
From responses received to any adverts placed, or from recommendations received, the client co-ordinates the preparation of a long list of potential tenderers. The client then issues pre-qualification questionnaires to the long list of potential tenderers.
The client carries out financial checks on potential tenderers (ideally the contract should not be more than 20% of the annual turnover of the potential tenderers) and considers potential tenderers' competence as principal contractor.
The client co-ordinates any advice from independent client advisers, the project manager and internal client team on prospective tenderers and prepares an initial short list of tenderers. They then arrange pre-tender interviews with the initial short list of tenderers.
The client collates tender documents (including the output-based specification) and arranges for its dispatch to and return from the tenderers. They then compile queries from tenderers and co-ordinates responses which should be issued to all tenderers. If necessary, the client arranges mid-tender interviews and / or site visits for the tenderers.
If queries from the tenderers or discussions during the mid-tender interviews result in significant clarification of, or changes to, the tender documentation, the client may wish to extend the tender period.
The client receives the tenders. They may follow a formal procedure for opening and recording tenders. The client then co-ordinates assessment of the tenders (including assessments by any independent client advisers). This may include further interviews.
The client co-ordinates negotiations with the preferred tenderer(s). Negotiations may be led at different stages by the client's in-house team, independent client advisers, a contract administrator or by a project manager. This process of negotiation may involve development of, or changes to, any design proposals prepared by the tenderers to ensure a best value solution is adopted. NB It is paramount in any negotiation that the individuals negotiating either have authority to fully negotiate terms, or make it clear from the start the limits to their authority. This may mean re-convening with the right people empowered to make decisions.
 Gateway review 3: investment decision.
The senior responsible owner (SRO) commissions an independent peer review of the project: gateway review 3: investment decision, which re-assesses the business case and governance arrangements prior to the decision to invest. Gateway reviews are mandatory for central civil projects and best practice for the health sector, local government and defence projects.
The review team issue a confidential review report to the senior responsible owner who then implements any actions necessary.
 Appointing the integrated supply team.
The client collates the contract documents and arranges for the printing (engrossment) and execution of two copies, one for the client to retain and one for the preferred tenderer (from hereon called the integrated supply team). Alternatively, the client might retain one executed contract, with certified copies being issued to the integrated supply team, this can avoid potential errors in preparing two contracts for execution. The integrated supply team may be required to provide a performance bond, warranties and evidence of insurance cover.
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