The Queen announced the government’s legislative agenda for 2021/22 and four bills that will impact government construction tenders. Almost 16% of UK construction spend is by the public sector.
The government have the current initiative of build back better in response to COVID-19 recovery. It sets out the significant investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation that levels up the UK. It is with the hope of transitioning towards net-zero ambitions.
Below are four key bills that are relevant to government construction contracts in the UK.
The Building Safety Bill will make considerable reforms to the UK’s building safety regime. It will establish a Building Safety Regulator (BSR) to deliver a new approach to regulating the built environment. The Building Safety Bill will be critical to any construction project and government construction tenders.
The BSR will have the power to withdraw materials of products from the UK market. They can withdraw those that they deem to fall short of set safety standards, regulating the market. There will also be three “gateways” introduced at higher risk buildings at least 18 meters or 6 storeys high.
The three gateways are the:
The Environment Bill will obviously put the environment at the centre of the policy. The government has made considerable promises towards greener and more sustainable construction practices that are evident within government construction tenders.
The Environment Bill will introduce a framework for legally binding environmental targets, establishing a new independent Office for Environmental Protection. This further reinstates the current mandatory weighting on social value within government construction tenders. This minimum 10% social value weighting assesses the environmental, social and economic aspects of a tender.
The Bill will focus on reducing waste and revolutionise how we recycle, enhancing local powers to tackle environmental issues. These include pollution, securing water supplies and protecting nature to improve biodiversity.
The Planning Bill will create a faster, simpler and more modern planning system. It’s to replace the current one, Section 106, that dates back to 1947. Instead, the Infrastructure Levy will be introduced. The plan is to deliver vital infrastructure whilst at the same time protect the nearby environment. This is likely to affect planning tenders and government construction tenders.
There will be an introduction of simpler and quicker frameworks. This will be for funding infrastructure that assesses environmental impacts and opportunities. A traffic light system will be introduced with the UK divided up by local councils. Areas will be designated for either:
The Procurement Bill is probably the most relevant to government construction tenders. It will simplify procurement within the public sector, reforming the current regime. This will make public procurement even more accessible for SMEs, charitable and social enterprises. It hopes to encourage a more competitive and level playing field, allowing them to win public contracts.
The Queen outlines the government’s plans to replace the seven current procurement procedures with three:
These new procedures will come into place in September 2021, hoping to improve transparency within public procurement.
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