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Construction Bid Support: outsource to win more public sector contracts


Written by Chris Turner


May 08, 2024

Construction bid support: services to support your business

Thornton & Lowe - construction bid support, bid and tender writing but much more! We have been helping construction companies to win public sector tenders since 2009. Your bids don't need to frustrating or 'an extra job'! Our outsourced tender writing services allows our clients to focus on pricing and delivery, while we focus on:

  • Ensuring you are tender ready! Developing case studies, policies, staff bios and supporting information for your tender responses
  • Pre-qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) and Selection Questionnaires (SQs)

Do you have a live tender? Need tender writing support?

Contact us now

How to get a price for construction bid support?

If you have a live construction tender and need a quote for bid or tender writing services contact us now – / 01204 238046

We ask you share the tender documents or procurement pack and we will want to discuss:

  • The deadline date (and internal deadlines)
  • Your relationship with the client
  • Key pass / fail tender questions and your experience
  • Specifically, what you need support with (usually writing and managing the quality elements of the tender or providing a bid review).

Our quotes are fixed fees to give you budget control. If you bid for construction contracts regularly and are looking for a tender writing consultancy partner, request details of our Bid Success Programme.

Most of our customers require:

  • Supporting monitoring construction bids and managing tender portals
  • Professional bid writing services for a construction bid
  • Tender or bid reviews to maximise the quality of your draft tender responses
  • Bid writing courses.

Looking to find a bid writing partner?

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Typical tender requirements of public sector construction bids

When writing a construction bid, there are many important factors to consider before putting pen to paper. A common mistake made by tenderers is failing to prepare the necessary documentation ahead of time which, in turn, leads to stressful and low-scoring writing. The only way to capture the full requirements of your quality questions is to read the Invitation to Tender (ITT) and opportunity specification carefully ahead of time. However, we have compiled a list of the typical requirements you will see when bidding for constriction bid, which should help get you ahead of your competition.

Starting with the mandatory requirements, you are almost guaranteed to be asked to provide evidence of compliance in the following areas:

  • Legal compliance - this includes providing evidence of your company's legal registration, tax identification number, and any necessary licenses or permits required for the types of construction work outlined in the specification
  • Financial status - you may be required to submit, or be willing to submit if requested, financial statements, such as balance sheets and income statements, to demonstrate your company's financial stability
  • Experience and qualifications - buyers will often request information about your company's relevant experience in delivering similar construction projects to a high quality standard. To do this, you may wish to include a list of completed projects (note that these may be required to have been completed within the past 3-5 years), references, or case studies (depending on the flexibility of your specification compliance)
  • Health and safety - you will typically need to demonstrate compliance with health and safety regulations. This may involve providing a health and safety plan, risk assessments, and details of any training or certifications your team possesses
  • Insurance - buyers generally require contractors to have specific insurance coverage, such as general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, and worker's compensation insurance. Proof of insurance will likely be requested
  • Accreditation and certifications - depending on the scope of works, buyers may require certain accreditations or certifications. These could include ISO certifications, environmental certifications, or specific industry certifications. Any required certifications will always be listed within the specification, such as CHAS
  • Bonds and guarantees - some projects may require contractors to provide bid bonds, performance bonds, or warranties as a form of financial security and guarantee.
Winning Bid Team

'Tender FAQ' for construction bids

Moving on to common, but not necessarily mandatory requirements of construction tenders, within your quality responses will likely be asked to evidence, describe or propose your approach towards:

  • Construction methodology - buyers will often want to know your approach to completing the project. You may be asked to describe your construction methodology, project management processes, and scheduling methods
  • Personnel and team composition - as part of this question, you may be required to provide CVs for the key personnel who will be involved in the project, including their qualifications, and similar experience. They may also ask for the size and composition of your project team to be demonstrated on an organigram
  • Subcontractor management - where you are using subcontractors to complete elements of the contracted works, buyers may want to know how you select and manage your subcontractors. This may involve providing details of your subcontractor vetting process and quality control measures
  • Quality control and assurance - questions related to quality control and assurance may focus on how you ensure that construction standards are met, how you conduct inspections and testing, and how you address any defects or deficiencies
  • Materials and equipment - increasingly common from a carbon footprint or social value perspective, buyers may request information about the materials and equipment you intend to use, including their quality, compliance with standards, and ethical sources of procurement
  • Project schedule and milestones - you may be required to provide a detailed project schedule, including key milestones, critical path analysis, and any strategies for managing delays or unforeseen circumstances.

Whilst this is not a comprehensive list of every question you may receive during the tendering process for construction contracts, it is important to note that the overall themes of these questions cover a large swathe of the construction tenders we encounter. By reading this list and having the necessary information to hand, you will find that your bidding process is made quicker and easier.

Tips to improve the performance of your construction bids

One of the most common problems we find for construction companies looking to diversity into public sector contracts is a misunderstanding of what it actually is that the Awarding Panel look for in responses, and how they award points. Whilst the scoring criteria will always be listed within the ITT, we have broken down the key top tips to writing high scoring public sector construction bids.

  • Understand the requirements - seemingly common sense, this is a crucial step that is often overlooked due to the length of the ITT documents and the sometimes quick turnarounds that bidders are required to complete bids within. However, the only way to identify the exact demands of the Awarding Panel and is to carefully review the tender documents and ensure that you fully understand the scope of work, technical specifications, and evaluation criteria. By doing this, you will be able to accurately allocate time and resources to competing the bid and identify any mandatory requirements and evaluate if your company meets them. This, in turn, will also prevent you from directing time and resources into bids that are unsuitable for your company
  • Start early - don’t push your bid down your priority list. To score highly, it is important to give yourself ample time to prepare the bid. Starting early allows you to thoroughly research, plan your bid, and gather the necessary information without rushing, ensuring a high-quality submission
  • Customise your bid - to show that you are the best culture match, align with the buyer’s needs and project requirements. Clearly demonstrate your understanding of their objectives and showcase how your company can meet and exceed them. By addressing the buyer's specific concerns, challenges, and priorities in your bid, you can prove that their opportunity is a priority to you, and that you value their contract enough to have done your homework/pre-anticipated their needs
  • Showcase your experience - above all else, public sector buyers look for confidence that the taxpayer’s money is going to a reputable and high-quality company. To provide reassurance to the Awarding Panel, you should highlight your company's relevant experience, successful projects, and expertise in similar construction works. Ways in which you can do this include provide case studies, references, and testimonials that demonstrate your track record of delivering quality results. This is particularly effective if you have previous similar public contract experience
  • Professional bid support - pay careful attention to how you write your bid, ensuring that your bid responses are well-structured, easy to read and free of errors. Use clear and concise language to convey your key points and avoid complex terminology without first explaining it. This is because the Awarding Panel may not always be experts in your field. For more help with writing your bid or tender - contact our Bid Writers to see how we can help
  • Collaborate with partners - if the project requires partnering with subcontractors or suppliers, collaborate with them effectively. Clearly define their roles and responsibilities, communicate your expectations, and coordinate their involvement in the bid process. The UK Government commits to spending 1/3 of its annual procurement spend on Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Don’t let larger contract values deter you from bidding if you have a network of suitable partners with whom you can collaborate to submit your bid
  • Emphasise health, safety and quality - due to the nature of contraction works, public sector buyers prioritise health, safety, and quality in construction projects. By clearly outlining your commitment to maintaining high standards in these areas, you can prove to the Awarding Panel that you are fully compliant with best practice and up-to-date with the required safety protocols, quality control processes, and any relevant certifications or accreditations. In short, by emphasising these areas, you are reassuring the buyer that you are a safe and reliable supplier
  • Differentiate yourself - stand out from your competitors by highlighting your unique strengths, innovative approaches, or specialised capabilities. Clearly articulate why the buyer should choose your company over others, and what sets you apart. A great way to evidence this is to use case studies and testimonials, which should be formed from your bid strategy
  • Continuously improve - learn from each bid submission, regardless of the outcome. Seek feedback from buyers and evaluate your performance to identify areas for improvement. Use this knowledge to refine your bidding process and enhance your future bids.

Relationships are still important, even when tendering

Scoring well doesn’t necessarily all come down to bid performance, however. Like with private buyers, the public sector will do their research on bidders which may influence their decision-making process. As part of our construction bid support services we ensure our clients are also considering relationships in their plans. We recommend that you consider the following Business to Government (B2G) marketing advice, business development and public sector sales techniques:

  • Develop a strong online presence with a professional website and active social media profiles to showcase your expertise and projects
  • Participate in industry conferences, seminars, and trade shows to network with potential clients and stay updated on industry trends
  • Collaborate with construction associations or organisations to enhance your visibility and credibility
  • Provide educational content, such as blog posts, that offer insights and solutions to common construction challenges
  • Build strategic partnerships with other firms in the industry to leverage combined expertise and expand your reach
  • Actively engage in public procurement portals and platforms where government tenders are advertised
  • Seek opportunities for pre-qualification or vendor registration with government agencies to streamline the bidding process.

Our Bid Writing Ultimate Guide provides further depth on bid writing and how to increase the chances of winning your next construction tender.

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