Frameworks – The Bidders’ Perspective

Frameworks remain one of the most interesting opportunities for all bidders with the scope to gain multiple work packages and build long term partnerships. The success of frameworks has also been one of its challenges and with so many to go for, what should bidders do to succeed and pickup the right work packages. So what tips does AM Bid have for bidders?

There are over 7,000 Construction frameworks in operation in the UK across all work types. With this bewildering number in operation, it is a challenging task for bidders to sift and work out which ones to be part of. So, when you are considering bidding for a framework, consider these six critical elements:


  1. Understand the pipeline – there are a number of frameworks which often come to market in many different forms. One is a consortium of like-minded organisations who procure a framework as this saves them duplication of procurement costs and provide efficiencies of scale. An example is the North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium, which includes all NE universities and others from regions such as Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester who see the benefits of such a consortium. Others are private organisations, such as Fusion21 or Scape, who run frameworks which they promote these to public sector buyers.
  1. What is driving the end buyer – with all of the frameworks, what should be understood is that they are each individual in character. For example, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Construction Works framework is coming to market in January 2019 – a key driver of which is Whole Life Cost of the building, which CCS are expecting to see bidders reflect in their proposals. This is also shown by the fact that the build and ongoing maintenance works are being procured at the same time, considering the 50-75-year lifespan that the buildings need to have.
  1. The time to bid – every bid you complete has a cost as time is money for every business including the staff’s time taken for bid writing. Go through a detailed Yes/No bid process and understand how long it will take to complete the bid. Consider the other opportunities you want to bid for and make a decision about how you will service these. Throughout, utilise the best intelligence to make the best value judgement for your business. You do not want to wait until the bid writing is complete before deciding not to bid!
  1. How work is allocated – Frameworks have a variety of different ways of allocating work e.g. all work is offered to highest scoring supplier on the framework; all projects go out as mini tender competitions to the framework appointees; buyers can choose any framework supplier provided they have criteria and a rationale that allows them demonstrate value for money; some frameworks even allow the buyer to pick which method they will use for individual projects. Frameworks where all work is offered to the highest scoring supplier end up not being much different to a winner takes all tender.
  1. How many appointees – when you are considering a framework, how many suppliers are they appointing? Review the contract notice and consider the likely contract value is and divide that amongst all potential appointees. Take this number as the average and then consider how you would resource 50% of this amount, and whether you could deliver if you got 150%. Either way, ensure you are future-proofed and able to deal with these workflows.
  1. Collaboration – if you get appointed to the framework, you need to consider collaboration as a business discipline. Increasingly, frameworks are looking to hold sessions where providers share ideas and best practice. The mutual benefits from this are clear such as learning new techniques and understanding the clients better. You must though identify who in your organisation will attend and what role you can play in this process which will demonstrate your willingness to be a true framework partner.