Planning Tenders – Everything You Need to Know About Construction Planning Tenders

Published14th January 2021 AuthorJohn Hudson

Planning tenders – what are they and where to find them

Planning tenders is critical in construction and should be the first phase of any project. The planning phase is arguably the most important because it’s where you realise if you can materialise a project.

The general construction process can be broken down into four essential phases:

  • Planning
  • Pre-construction
  • Construction
  • Close out

What you need for planning tenders:


While planning tenders in pre-construction, the owner, architect and construction manager typically have a discussion about what they’re building. Then, they see if it is doable via the scope and quality assumptions. This is what architects usually refer to as the Conceptual Design phase. A robust communication strategy is essential for the success of the project. Collaboration and communication with stakeholders is paramount. Clear and precise communication throughout all levels of the project team is essential for the successful completion of any project.


It is imperative not to rush this planning stage. You will want to have as detailed a plan as possible as the devil is in the detail. The most successful construction projects start with a meticulously detailed and carefully conceived plan. Often people are eager to brush over it. If you do this, it may come back to bite you later.

Pre-construction and Design Management

When planning tenders and pre-construction, design management is a crucial step. The Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) has a clear four-stage framework. This is a good place to start.

It includes:

  1. Preparation and brief
  2. Concept design
  3. Detailed design
  4. Technical design

A buyer will often state their Building Information Modelling (BIM) requirements. This is typically done in the pre-construction planning stage of a project. It’s at this point that you should mention any ISO accreditations you may have. You want to make sure that you’re conveying how you can deliver this.

What is a tender?

A tender is a submission made by a prospective supplier in response to an invitation to tender (ITT). It’s how many public and private sector organisations procure goods and services.

The ITT may follow the completion of the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) in response to an advert posted by the client. In construction, they are used by buyers as the first stage of selection. PQQs enable a buyer to create a shortlist of suppliers that are most suitable for the particular project in hand. It’s basically where you put down company information and check statements that you aren’t involved in collusion. The point of doing this is that it helps reduce inefficiency within the tendering process.

In the construction industry, it’s likely that you’ll come across a PAS-91. The PAS-91 has been developed by the British Standards Institute to save companies from filling out multiple PQQs. It’s a type of PQQ that’s slightly longer but has the same basic ‘what have you done’ approach.

There are two main benefits of the PAS-91:

  • For core modules, questions are standardised. Due to this, you can then develop standard responses to use every time.
  • If you hold the required accreditations, exemption is granted from some core sections. This will save you time in the long run.

The advantages of tendering:

There are many advantages to tendering, but it can seem a daunting process if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Here are just a few advantages:

  • Guaranteed pay (public sector)
  • Sustainability
  • Gain experience
  • Make contacts

6 things to consider when tendering

  1. How long you’ve been trading for can make a big difference

It has been known for new businesses to win construction bids tenders. However, in our experience, it seems that three years or more experience is best. This is because buyers can sometimes ask to see three years, or more, worth of accounts. So that’s something to bear in mind. It’s worth noting that these accounts often have to be presented in the name that your business currently trades under.

  1. Can you deliver the contract?

This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses apply for tenders without checking the requirements. In most cases, the buyer will be able to assess your capabilities based on the PQQ. So, it’s unlikely that you would be awarded a construction contract that you can’t deliver. It’s worth bearing this in mind. You don’t want to waste money, time and resources only to be eliminated down the line. If you read what is expected from you, it can be avoided all together.

  1. You must be competitively priced

Your proposed pricing must remain competitive. Although typically pricing is weighted less than quality on construction tenders, if your pricing is too high, you may lose out. When planning tenders, you want to aim for the lowest price, that still makes a profit. If you over charge for your services, then there’s little point in investing the time for your written response.

  1. Required financial threshold

Buyers tend to assess your economic financial standing during the initial stages of a tender. It’s primarily made up of three things:

  • Annual turnover

Buyers assess this via your latest financial accounts. You may be asked to attach these as part of the tender. It’s important to note that you should only apply to tenders that are 40 – 50% of your annual turnover.

  • Financial ratios

Asset test ratios might be assessed automatically through your attached accounts as part of your tender submission. You may be asked to input this separately within the document. Your accountant should be able to support you with this.

  • Insurance

You want to make sure you are aligned with the requirement set for insurance. Buyers will usually allow you to increase your levels of insurance if you don’t have these at the time.

  1. The buyer cares about the quality of your writing

No matter what industry you are in, the quality of your writing counts. Three things to keep in mind when writing your responses are:

  • Keep it concise.
  • Be assertive.
  • Utilise the word count.

By following these three simple tips, your quality of writing will be well on the way to scoring well. If the word count is 1,000, then the buyer is expecting you to provide a detailed response. The more detailed the better. The best way to achieve this is to plan your responses. The use of subheadings is a good way to get going on planning tender responses.

If you’re not a natural-born writer and you need a little help, take a look at our Tender Writing service. With this service, our Bid Writers will:

Call or email us for a free quote.

  1. You must have experience and evidence to back it up

Strong examples and experiences of delivering projects in the past is crucial. The buyers want to know that you have handled a project like this before and that you can deliver. A few things that can help you on your way are:

  • Three relevant past contract example case studies.
  • Good references from past clients.
  • CCS reports.
  • National awards and nominations are beneficial.
  • Before, during and after photos from previous projects.
  • Fully completed risk assessments and method statements.
  • Site audits and completed reports.

Preparing a selection of previous examples of your past work will result in a stronger bid.

Where can I find planning tenders?

Once you’ve taken all of this information into account, you might be asking yourself where you can find such opportunities. You likely don’t have the time to look through 1000+ websites every day but luckily for you, we have the solution.

Construction Tenders is an opportunity tracking platform where we source all the construction leads and tenders from across the UK. We then upload them in one convenient place to save you countless hours.

A subscription with Construction Tenders offers your business:

  • A team of opportunity trackers sourcing planning tenders from 1000’s of sites.
  • Access to all private and public sector opportunities in the UK.
  • A dedicated account manager on-hand to answer any queries or questions you may have.
  • The ability to filter opportunities by keyword, location, budget and more.
  • No reliance on CPV codes or algorithms. Our team manually upload each tender making sure that you have access to 100% of planning tenders.
  • 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 planning tenders we sourced recently:

The Production of a Masterplan for West Bromwich Town Centre

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council- West Midlands- Budget: £200,000


Masterplanning Consultancy Services

National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway)- International- Budget: £1,200,000


Multiversity Campus Blackpool: Masterplan and Delivery Plan

Blackpool Council- North West- Budget: Undisclosed


Yateley Town Council Neighbourhood Plan

Yateley Town Council- South East- Budget: £12,000


Urban Design and Regeneration Masterplanning Consultancy Services for Regeneration and Development of lands at Canal Avenue, Mullingar Co. Westmeath.

Westmeath County Council- International- budget: £300,000


Book a Demo with Construction Tenders

The best way to venture into the tendering world is through booking a free live demo of Construction Tenders. Why not contact us today to find out more about how Construction Tenders can benefit your business.

At Construction Tenders, we source opportunities for;

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