The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists is committed to supporting its Chartered Members working and starting a career in public procurement.
The information below provides a wealth of information for those with an interest in public procurement, considering joining the bidding process or for those already working in this field. This includes legislation changes and CPD opportunities. We aim to keep this resource up to date but if you notice something missing, please contact Joanne Rowlands via [email protected]
CIAT has prepared two short films as an Introduction to Public Procurement and the types of opportunities open to you. Please note this information relates to the UK only.
This film introduces you to public procurement and demonstrates how to find procurement opportunities along with the considerations to take prior to bidding.
This film covers the different types of tenders, frameworks and contract notices you may come across along with additional information on Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP).
CIAT has developed a Public Procurement Policy to promote best practice:
CIAT Public Procurement Policy
To favour the use of functions and competence over specific titles
The Institute promotes terminology favouring functions and competence to be used instead of specific titles. The practice of using titles could potentially serve to confuse and restrict the pool of competent professionals with the skills required from tendering. As an example, use of the word 'Designer' should be encouraged to ensure all competent professionals are able to enter the procurement process and helps in preventing unfair competition or restrictive practices.
To ensure the most efficient use of public funds
The Institute encourages procurement protocols to be developed by contracting bodies to make the most efficient use of public funds without compromise of quality or design. The most efficient use of public funds does not necessarily equate to the least expensive option. It should be achieved through the utilisation of innovative products, works and services to benefit and improve economic, environmental, and societal issues. The most efficient use of public funds should benefit both the contracting authority and the users, with holistic consideration given to the lifetime of the longevity and sustainability of the project over time.
To enable SMEs to enter into the procurement process
It should be recognised that small practices may find it more difficult to enter into the tendering process through economic restriction. CIAT advocates the facilitation of conglomerates to enable SMEs to come together to form a group. This will give them an opportunity to meet the requirements of the procurement process, thereby encouraging competition and providing opportunity to all. In addition, the Institute encourages all contracting authorities to split large contracts to attract bids from SMEs as another mechanism.
To ensure clear wording is used and ambiguous statements avoided
The Institute recommends that clear wording be used on procurement documents and any ambiguous statements avoided. Plain language serves to encourage the best placed providers to understand the fundamental requirements to make the tender relevant and enable essential needs to be met. In addition, to secure the best products and services, there is a need to clarify basic notions and concepts to ensure legal certainty and to incorporate certain aspects of related and well-established case law.
To ensure transparency throughout the procurement process
The procurement process should be clear and transparent with the process clearly documented from the outset. All documentation created for the project including awards weighting and criteria should not be altered or open to negotiation throughout the process to prevent distortion of competition. In instances where preliminary market consultation must take place to prepare procurement documents, CIAT advocates that this process must not have the effect of distorting competition or making any part of the process inscrutable.
To encourage accessibility for all
Contracting authorities should provide clear technical specifications to encourage accessibility for all, including people with disabilities and other disadvantaged or vulnerable groups.
To avoid conflict of interest
Transparent dealings and transactions should be promoted. Conflicts of interest should be avoided and mitigated from the outset of the procurement process. This should involve contracting authorities establishing procedures and checks to prevent, detect, and counteract conflicts of interest. This will ensure transparency, equal competition for all and prevent bias in the procurement process.
To provide a fair dispute resolution system
The Institute recommends that a system for fair dispute resolution should be established from the outset of the procurement process. In the event of conflicts arising, mediation services should be jointly selected and not prescribed by either party or governed by procurement rules.
To promote collaborative practices
The Institute promotes collaborative practices between vital service providers to enable a more efficient and effective execution of the project. With all providers working together, there is a better chance of the right product being delivered with minimal waste and reduction in any conflicting aims.
To promote design of the highest quality
The Institute supports the highest quality standards of design should be upheld with no compromise on design or safety for economic purposes. The level of quality standards to be used should be clear to ensure that those providing the services are equipped to deliver and attain those degrees of quality to ensure that the building performs as intended.