Tendering in construction

The construction and infrastructure industry has been formally tendering for longer than most sectors. It is essential that the Public Sector continually invests in construction as a result of the impact it has on local communities. For example, the pipeline for infrastructure works is over £600 billion with £400 billion of this on housing alone, over the next 10 years.

The sector is continually driving innovation focusing on building more efficient homes, which are safer with lower emissions. As a result, new innovative ideas and strategies when tendering in construction are essential.

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Construction tenders are essentially public contract opportunities. Published by organisations, they invite competing offers for specific services, goods, works or utilities.

Construction contracts and tenders vary widely and include:

  • Road construction works
  • Railway construction works
  • Civil engineering work
  • Quantity surveying services
  • Architectural, construction, engineering and inspection services
  • Refurbishment work
  • Roof work and roof repair and maintenance
  • Bathroom construction work
  • Disabled adaptations
  • Materials tenders, such as concrete contracts for products and repair
  • When tendering in construction you will be asked for 3 main sets of information; (1) about your business and its experience, (2) your approach/ solution and (3) your commercials/ price. Thornton & Lowe, as a specialist Bid Management Consultancy, can help you with 1 and 2, responding to the quality elements of the construction tender submission covering both the prequel and award questionnaire.

    In a construction tender you will be asked:

    • Social Value
    • Added value
    • Collaboration
    • Plant and labour
    • Programme of works
    • Management team experience, CVs or mini bios, organisation chart
    • Company basic details, name, company registration number, VAT number, yes/ no questions to accept terms and conditions and confirm your suitability
    • Insurance – they will state what level of insurance is required, which can usually be put in place on contract award if your current insurance does not meet the requirements
    • Financial stability (3 years accounts, credit check or alternative to demonstrate financial strength). Financial stability will always be a PASS/FAIL question so if you are not sure what the minimum level is to create a PASS then seek further clarification from the buyer
    • Accreditations, such as CHAS, Safecontractor, ISO45001
    • Technical references, 3 relevant previous construction contracts your business has delivered which are similar in size and scope, plus additional case studies and evidence to use throughout the bid as a whole
    • Health & Safety, your approach to planning, training and ensuring best practice, Construction Phase Plan, BIM

    All of these responses and evidence will need to be developed for the specific buyer and specific tender; generic is rarely good enough to win! When tendering in construction and having to develop a large amount of information it can be easy to forget the exercise is not just one of compliance, but competition. For each response, you need to consider how you can respond better than your likely competitors.

    When tendering for constructions contracts in the Public Sector or Government tenders they will provide you with evaluation criteria, which should be followed carefully when bid writing to ensure you maximise the score available. This is as well as fully understanding the buyer’s objectives, the specification and the questions you are being asked. Pulling these elements together is a skill and it is why the Bid Writing Profession is continually developing as essential when regularly bidding for formal tenders.


    We have recently launched our Tender Pipeline Software. Get FREE Tender updates, announcements and competitor information straight to your email. 

    " We recently utilised the Bid Resource Division of Thornton and Lowe in order to recruit two additional team members for our Bids and Tenders team.

    They were successful in sourcing excellent candidates for both Bid Writer and Bid Manager roles.

    We were extremely happy with the standard of candidates introduced to us and the service we received.

    Consequently, we would have no hesitation in recommending Thornton and Lowe to any companies looking for any assistance with their recruitment of Bids,Tenders and Proposals Specialists. "

    Nico Prinsloo Commercial Sales Director - CH&Co Group

    " We would recommend Thornton & Lowe as a specialist bid recruiter having recently worked with them on a bid writer vacancy. We appreciated the professionalism, pragmatism and honesty clearly demonstrated and most importantly we recruited a very good candidate from a small talent pool. "

    Zeena Ozturk, Centry Services

    " We utilised the Bid Resource Division of Thornton and Lowe on two occasions recently, we were looking to recruit additional Technical Bid Writers to join our expanding Technical and Corporate Services team

    The resource team at Thornton and Lowe fully understood our requirements and were able to source some excellent candidates for the roles.

    Both successful candidates are now making a positive contribution to the team and we would have no hesitation in recommending Thornton and Lowe to any companies looking to recruit Bids,Tenders and Proposals Specialists. "

    Pamela Lilley, Human Resources Manager, Walker Construction

    " I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Thornton & Lowe for their recent help in finding a suitable placement for our senior bid writer position. Both Mark and Chris have invaluable knowledge of the bid writing world and took the time to understand our exact needs and company culture. As such, they found us the right person who is perfectly suited to the role, but more importantly to the team and the company.

    Thank you! "

    Charlotte LeComber, Bid Manager, Crown Partnership

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