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Promote the opportunity

To promote your project to prospective bidders through a competitive tender process, you need to consider how you communicate your vision and who you want attract interest from.

For projects that need an OJEU-compliant process you must as a minimum place an advertisement in the European Journal. Beyond this, all clients should also consider advertising the design or development opportunity in professional and other specialist journals to seek the widest possible interest.

It can be worth investing in a document or in marketing material that sets out the vision and development opportunities and encapsulates the aims clearly, succinctly and attractively. If relevant, include your strategic framework diagram or any other relevant graphics to help demonstrate that your proposal is realistic and viable, and that you are serious about pursuing it.

Think about the balance you want between multi-disciplinary teams and specialist services, and consider whether you wish to encourage particular types of teams to respond to the invitation to tender. For example, you may wish to encourage smaller, comparatively less experienced and/or overseas practices to respond. If so, you may need to adjust your criteria for selection accordingly to avoid excluding any parties through high thresholds on size of firm and turnover. The example of Accordia in Cambridge shows the benefits of getting a range of design teams involved in a single development. 

The tender process is an opportunity to get creative input to the project. It can help you broaden out your thinking about directions you could take, ensuring that you are open to people who might have different ways of approaching the project or good ideas about how to engage with hard-to-reach groups of people, for example.

To achieve this you could also consider running a competition, which can be a good way of raising the profile of a project and getting a greater range of responses – the competition for Church End in Brent is a good example.. As with any procurement method, you need to consider how you will resource and manage it, and how you make sure you achieve your quality aspirations. For example, for a masterplan procured through a competition and later used to support outline planning approval, you will need to have considered the procurement of construction services to deliver the scheme when you set up the competition.