Public Procurement and Property

Civil Engineering Framework

April 19, 2024 by No Comments | Category Fair Work, framework agreements, Procurement news

Following a successful period of collaboration across the construction industry and the public sector, Scottish Government has established its very first Civil Engineering Framework, (March 2024 to March 2028). 

The framework is for the provision of Civil Engineering Works for Contracts ranging from £5 million to £100 million and covers a full range of general civil engineering works and associated services. The majority of which are linked to projects such as roads and bridges and is based on the industry-wide New Engineering Contract 4 with pre-agreed amendments. 

What makes this framework different?  

A number of factors including – co-operation, quality, fairness and the integration of Fair Work First. Representatives from both the public and private sectors have come together to shape the development of this framework, identifying what has worked well and where improvements can be made. 

Where price was previously the predominant difference maker in a successful bid, today, quality is now the primary factor. This highlights a significant change in attitude and culture towards creating quality with sustainable contract awards, generally, based on 70% quality and 30% on price. 

The framework introduces a performance monitoring regime which will track delivery of the works, and also the other important contract requirements. For example, it will ensure prompt payments are made for the benefit of the entire supply chain. Sub-contractors are now paid within 30 days and this flows down the supply chain – to avoid any potential payment issues. The use of Project Bank Account is mandatory.  

Finally, there is a range of Fair Work First measures. This includes: 

  • platforms where employees can raise concerns 
  • employers implementing training action plans 
  • employee incentives and support for professional memberships and qualifications 
  • a requirement of all firms delivering contracts under the civil engineering framework to pay at least the Real Living Wage 

These are just some of the impacts this new framework will have and we recognise the role procurement can play in driving improvements and success across the industry. We believe this is a major step forward. We aim to use the lessons learned in establishing this framework to continuously improve construction procurement across the public sector. 

Some of the further benefits include: 

  • saves time in the procurement process and adds value 
  • centralised framework administration and management 
  • pre-qualified contractors: the framework has been entered into following a comprehensive tender exercise, under applicable public procurement regulations (Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (as amended), and provides a compliant route to market 
  • shared learning and best practice across public bodies and framework contractors 
  • innovation: framework contractors committed to support innovation, for example, to providing digital innovation systems, collaborative innovation forums and registers, Research and Development focus, and an innovative approach to implementation 
  • community benefits: successful contractors will undertake tailored and project specific community benefits through, for example, partnering with organisations to plan recruitment programmes such as mentoring, school/college/university engagement, site experiences – targeting vulnerable groups 
  • Sustainable Procurement Duty: framework contractors committed to providing an extensive range of measures to minimise the environmental impact of the framework and associated work orders. 

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