Last edited 08 Jun 2021

Public project definition

The term 'public project' is an ambiguous one, but in very broad terms, it refers to a project that is financed by a government and is typically owned, and may be operated by the government. This can include major infrastructure works such as roads, bridges, dams, railways, tunnels, and so on, or public facilities such as hospitals, schools, prisons, libraries, leisure centres, and so on.

As public projects are generally funded by tax revenue, they are typically subject to a greater level of scrutiny, and greater transparency is required in the bidding and contract award procedures. Public projects often publish their requirements and request bids openly, with received bids considered in an open and transparent way. The government can also stipulate certain criteria that a supplier must fulfil in order to be awarded a public contract, such as; minimum wage levels, reporting procedures, and so on.

The European Union Procurement Directives establish public procurement rules throughout the European Union which apply to any public purchases above the defined thresholds. Public projects must comply with the regulations if the value of contracts is above those thresholds. Private projects may also be required to comply with the regulations if they are publicly subsidised.

See OJEU procurement procedures for more information.

In the UK, a public building is narrowly defined as a building that is 'occupied by a public authority and frequently visited by the public'. See Public building definition for more information.

Designing Buildings Wiki has an outline work plan setting out the tasks necessary to complete a public project, which you can find here.

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