How to Win Building Contracts

Published28th January 2021 AuthorJohn Hudson

Our top tips on how to win building contracts

If you’re wondering how to win building contracts, you’ve come to the right place.

Building contracts cover a plethora of different areas within the construction world. So, it can be daunting knowing where to start. Luckily for you, this blog will guide you in the right direction in securing construction contracts in the UK.

Obviously, the main purpose when you write a tender is to win. If you’re not seeing the results you want, hopefully, this blog will help you win your next building contract.

Building contracts is such a broad term, so here are just a few examples of subsections within construction bids:

  • Bricklaying
  • Welding
  • Digging
  • Pipelines
  • Cementing
  • Flatwork
  • Flooring

Today, we will be looking into how to win building contracts. First, let’s look at the different types of building contracts:

  • Commercial building contracts

Commercial building contracts are the most common way in which buyers find suppliers in construction. Building projects are quite often large projects. A commercial building contract could seek suppliers to construct warehouses, shopping centres or office towers, for example.

To find a supplier, a buyer will publish a tender for building contracts. The buyer will then collect and analyse bids from competing suppliers and the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) wins.

  • Public and private sector tenders

Many public sector organisations appoint a framework of contractors to construct a package of projects. The public sector includes government works and there are often more building contract opportunities to be found here. There are also opportunities within the private sector, but these are more difficult to source.

A contract sets out the relationship and expectations between two parties. Building construction contracts for tender typically outline the allocation risk and price. Below are some additional popular building construction contracts for tender within the UK:

  • NEC (The New Engineering Contract)
  • CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building)
  • JCT (The Joint Contracts Tribunal)

PAS 91

The PAS91 is a standardised pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) for the construction industry. You have to pass this in order to be considered for the building contract. For this, you must provide policies and answer some questions regarding:

  • Health & Safety
  • Quality Assurance
  • Equal Opportunities & diversity
  • Environmental Considerations

Luckily, if you’re an SME, the PAS91 is designed with you in mind. It simplifies the process in order to encourage more SMEs to become suppliers. The PAS91 helps buyers identify the most suitably qualified contractors quicker, using fewer resources. Essentially, it ensures that suppliers are qualified and fit the minimum standards required for the contract. This is all to help the buyers achieve a more sustainable procurement.

Note: if you’re a Constructionline member, you are automatically PAS91 complaint for some questions. This does not mean you can skip this stage completely. You may still need to complete a few questions.

5 Top tips for how to win building contracts

Below are five tips on how to win building contracts. Primarily, you need to think about what the buyer wants. Then, you want to convince them that you’re the best organisation for the job.

  1. Be the MEAT

A MEAT doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest bid wins the contract. It simply means the buyer is looking for a contractor who can provide the best value throughout their bid. Contracts within the public sector are where a MEAT comes out on top.

Don’t make the mistake of deliberately pricing low-cost bids in an attempt to win. This could result in you making a loss after you’ve completed the project. This could also annoy your clients. Pricing lower cost bids could result in you failing to meet quality standards or having to then ask for additional funding. Neither of which, we’re sure you’ll want to do.

Instead, you should write your proposal to demonstrate how you will deliver an outstanding service to the client. Remember, you want to provide added value to the building works. This is frequently forgotten about. Below are some examples of what you could include:

  • Investment in the buyer’s customers. You could do this by employing local people or subcontractors to deliver the works.
  • Upskilling local communities via skills workshops, apprenticeships or work placements.
  • Planning work to minimise the project costs. You could do this by bulk ordering materials in advance to save on cost and avoid delays.
  • Reducing waste from your site by repurposing it.
  1. Be specific

Study the specification as if your life depends on it. It’s there to help and will tell you, in great detail, the requirements of the project. Buyers want to know exactly how you’re going to deliver the works.

Give as much detail as you can within the set word count or page limit. This suggests how much detail the buyer wants you to go into. If they’re asking for a 500-word response, simply writing a couple of sentences won’t be sufficient. There’s a reason the question is asking for 500 words. Go into as much detail as you can, both clearly and concisely.

  1. Demonstrate relevant past experience

In order to win a building contract, you need to demonstrate that you have past relevant experience. Buyers want to see how successful you have been in the past when fulfilling similar contracts. You want to demonstrate your proven track record of a project of similar complexity. You’ll likely get the age-old question that goes a little like this:

Please provide 3 examples which demonstrate your technical capability in the market”.

When answering, remember to keep it relevant. Make sure you’re showing work of a similar calibre. Each bid should be tailored, compelling and fitting with the specification. You will usually be asked for three past case studies. It’s also worth noting the importance of timeframe when presenting your case studies. In our experience, you should provide case studies from the last five years, no later if possible.

  1. Be prepared to provide qualifications

Relevant qualifications and accreditations are often required with any building contract. Building and construction sites can be hazardous environments and accidents do happen. You want to make sure your organisation is in keeping with health and safety regulations. You also need relevant accreditations and qualifications to demonstrate a safe worksite. These could include:

  • ISO 9001; 14001; 18001
  • BIM
  • SSIP
  • IOSH
  • Constructionline
  • CHAS
  • Subcontractor
  1. Prepare your social value responses

Social value is an important part of every government contract and proposal, no matter the industry. Social value now has a minimum weighting of 10% within any public sector contract. It can hold of a weight of up to 30% in some tenders so it’s not something to just brush over. The three main aspects you need to focus on and include are:

  • Environmental
  • Social
  • Economic

Your sustainable development goals should maximise and protect the social values and impacts mentioned above. Don’t be vague. Buyers want to see you making commitments that you can actually keep to in this section. For example:

  • The environmental considerations you will take to reduce waste and fight climate change.
  • How you’re creating new skills and jobs in order to tackle economic inequality.
  • The equal opportunity policies you implement within your organisation.

This section would be a good place to include your ISO 14001. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also important to mention how your organisation supports COVID-19 recovery.

If you’ve tried the tips above but still aren’t having any luck in winning building contacts, we can help.

We offer bid writing services

Now you understand how to win building contracts in practice, but do you actually have the time it takes?

Enter our sister company, Hudson Succeed.

They have over 40 years bid writing experience and an 87% success rate. The team provides four levels of bid writing support to maximise your success. Whether you’re brand new to the tendering process or you’ve tendered before, they have a service tailored for every need:

  1. A Tender Ready programme.
  2. The Tender Improvement package.
  3. Tender Writing Services.
  4. Tender Mentor support.

Where can I find building contract opportunities?

So, now you know how to win building contract, you’re probably wondering where you can find such opportunities. You likely don’t have the time to trawl through thousands of websites every day. If only there was one convenient, central portal that manually uploaded live building contracts daily. Well, look no further than our Construction Tenders portal.

Our portal is an opportunity tracking platform where we source all the construction and building tenders throughout the UK. We manually upload them in one convenient place to save you countless hours so you can focus on your business.

Other benefits include of subscribing to Construction Tenders include:

  • Receiving daily updates of available tenders, direct to your inbox.
  • Access to all private and public sector opportunities in the UK.
  • The ability to filter building contracts opportunities by keyword, budget, location and more.
  • No reliance on unreliable CPV codes or algorithms. We manually upload each tender making sure that you have access to 100% of building tenders.
  • Access to your own Account Manager. They can answer any questions or queries you may have about the tendering process.
  • Discounted support from Hudson Succeed, our bid writing division.
  • 20-minutes of free consultancy every month with our bid experts.

Here are just a few examples of past building contracts we sourced recently:

Merchant Framework 2021-2025

EFFICIENCY EAST MIDLANDS LIMITED- East Midlands- Budget £90,000,000


Supply and Delivery of Cycle Lane Defenders

Inverclyde Council- Wales- Budget: Undisclosed


Pylon Footbridge Concrete Repairs

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council- North East- Budget: Undisclosed


Proposed New Performance Auditorium at Conc na Gaoithe, Chapel Street, Tulla, Co Clare for Ceoltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.

Tulla Comhaltas Development Committee- International- Budget: Undisclosed


Bowmer and Kirkland – NUoP Phase 1 Early engagement / opportunity

Cambridgeshire District Councils- Eastern- Budget: Undisclosed


Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) – Off-Site Manufactured Housing – Market Engagement

Birmingham City Council- West Midlands- Budget: Undisclosed


Book a Demo with Construction Tenders

Book a free live demo of Construction Tenders today. As a client, you’ll receive a daily construction leads bulletin straight to your inbox when new building tenders are uploaded.

We actively source tenders for the following sub-sectors:

Contact us today and allow us to help you grow your business with Construction Tenders.

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