22 Oct Top Tips for compliance on construction tenders
The process of tendering out work is designed to weed out bidders who don’t meet the necessary standards to carry out a specified job. It’s a selection process, and compliance is one of the very important ingredients of this complex practice. To maximise the chances of a successful bid, it’s vital to be sure that you meet the compliance demands of the tender, and that you can prove it.
The increasingly competitive nature of the construction tendering process has made the practice more cut-throat. Failure to provide copies to prove membership of an industry body or accreditation certification is often a simple pass/fail, causing your bid to be scratched off the list from those still in the running.
So, how do you go about ensuring you meet the compliance requirements of construction tenders?
Understand your industry’s compliance regulations & requirements
This is the first step, and it does require a bit of brain power. By taking the time to read up and learn about what compliance means for your business, you’ll be in a much better position to:
- know whether you are compliant
- decide if the tender is worth your time in pursuing
- answer the compliance questions when bidding for work
Although it will take time to acquaint yourself, and your team, with details of your industry’s accreditations, legal obligations and required certification, this knowledge won’t be wasted as you can put it to good use when it comes to completing the next tender submission.
Check turnover requirements
Yes, it may sound very rudimentary, but before you do anything it’s worth checking that your business meets the turnover requirements for the tender before spending time completing all the documents. Again, meeting the turnover thresholds can result in a pass/fail for your bid.
Set yourself apart from competitors
When researching your industry’s compliance requirements, it’s worth investigating which are the ‘nice to have’ accreditations that aren’t compulsory but will set you apart from your competition.
Investing the time and money it takes to become accredited to recognised industry accreditation schemes can improve your reputation and relations within your sector and provide reassurance that you have the knowledge, experience and training needed to effectively manage a wide range of projects safety and successfully.
And it may just help you qualify a little higher on the bid ladder.
Choose reliable references who will respond!
Don’t assume that references are there just for show and reassurance! The client will often follow-up on your references and use them as a guarantee of your professionalism and business acumen.
So, of course, choose referees who will back you up. But just as importantly, choose someone reliable who usually responds to emails and phone calls promptly. If the client doesn’t get a reply from a referee, it’s safe to assume they won’t chase it up and ask again, and you’ll be left with a zero against your name for that section of your bid application.
In some cases, the lack of a reference can lead to your bid being scrapped from the process entirely.
Make sure you meet your legal requirements
Check which laws are relevant to your business and in which areas you may need to demonstrate that you meet your legal obligations. It’s vital that you don’t ignore this crucial area of compliance. Examples of legal areas that may require your adherence include VAT registration, Employment Law, the Modern Slavery Act, and GDPR.
Have the right insurance
Similarly, check that you have relevant and comprehensive insurance for the works you carry out. Often tenders ask for evidence of insurance cover and specify the level of cover expected. To succeed in your bid, you may have to commit to increasing levels of insurance cover.
Always have complete and up to date policies in place
Policies! Policies! Policies! When educating yourself on the compliance requirements for your type of business, you’ll soon find out that policies are the bedrock of compliance!
So, have full and up to date policies in place for your work, always! You’ll almost certainly need to show proof of them when submitting your bid. Popular policies required by tenders include Health & Safety, Equal Opportunities, Environment, Data Protection, Complaints and Business Continuity.
It’s easy to let them lapse, fail to revise them, or even misplace or entirely forget about them. Digitising your office files can help prevent such mishaps. Use of compliance document management software solutions, like ComplianceManaged®, can also help make sure this never happens to you.
Use your in-house expertise
Tenders often have sections that are tricky and technical to complete, and when you add in the compliance requirements for that area too, you may be left scratching your head. If that is the case, then it’s vital you draw on the technical knowledge of your team members. It’s rare for any appointed bid writer to be able to complete a tender submission entirely alone.
Try to warn colleagues in advance that you’ll be needing some support, and always be clear about deadlines.
Involve and educate your team
Keep staff up to speed on their understanding of what compliance means for your business. By doing this, completing a tender submission will be easier for all of you.
Educating staff may mean regular training or it may just mean taking the time to explain why you have certain policies in place, what the limits of your insurances are, and how your accreditations impact on the jobs you can complete, etc. The compliance knowledge of your whole team will grow accordingly, and you’ll be stronger for it.
Build up a library of your compliance documentation and bid answers
You’re not likely to win every tender you bid for, but you can learn from each attempt! Create a bid document library where you store previous answers, especially where you scored highly. This can save you so much time, and help you improve submission by submission.
Should you need support in completing submissions for construction tenders, please contact the team at Bid & Tender Support:
Call: 01908 382 414