Introduction

Having developed an initial feasibility study and obtained Governing Body approval to the study’s principles, TPI were commissioned by a Surrey based Public School to:-

  1. Provide strategic construction procurement advice
  1. Procure a design team for a new building complex, to be developed in two phases

Strategic Construction Procurement Advice

Previous campus projects (as part of an overall site development Masterplan) had been procured by the School on a ‘traditional basis.’

TPI were particularly keen (given the proposed project’s complexity) to reduce the School’s Design Risks/liabilities.

The procurement debate with the School initially revolved around the relative advantages/disadvantages of a traditional versus a design & build procurement route. 

The School’s potential reluctance to entertain a design & build route was assuaged by:-

  • TPI’s extensive experience of this form of procurement
  • comments from the interviewed consultants who’s feedback was generally positive concerning its use

The consolidation of the pre-contract design functions under a Lead Designer and the design and build route was finally accepted by the School.

A further nuance in the procurement strategy was the School’s adoption of a two-stage design and build procurement route based on their own market analysis and the recognition of the value of the earliest possible involvement of the contractor (particularly relevant given the site constraints). 

The two-stage approach was coupled with the retention by the School of the Lead Designer in a (non-novated) post contract ‘Design Guardian’ role, which placated any Governor fears/reluctance/concerns.

Procurement of Design Team

The overarching principles of the procurement process were:-

  1. The process was to be cost effective and not incur competing companies in significant expenditure in pursuing the opportunity
  1. The School were clear that they wished to appoint a company whose personnel they were comfortable working with
  1. The process had to be transparent
  1. The procurement was not to be driven ‘by bid price alone’

Ten companies were invited to provide initial expressions of interest which focussed upon the provision of relevant/complimentary experience.

The School and TPI jointly compiled a long shortlist of six companies using (pre-agreed) criteria comprising:-

  1. Overall quality of submission
  1. Relevance of experience and recent experience
  1. A ‘scoring system’ based on a 1-5 matrix

The six companies selected were invited to an initial interview at the School.

A time restricted initial interview process explored (via a TPI/School pre-published/circulated agenda) the following:-

  • Practice Profile/Experience
  • Initial thoughts (following a prior site visit) on:-
  • Implementation programme
  • Initial Feasibility Brief
  • Feasibility Budget
  • Procurement
  • Design
  • Team Composition (a prior discussion between the School and TPI had already agreed that a ‘Lead Designer’ [Architect] would be the sole designer appointed).  The Architect would employ all the necessary professional/design expertise required to undertake the commission as sub-consultants, to be appointed by him, directly.
  • Germane experience from a recently completed project.
  • Point of reference from a recently completed (similar) project - for a potential future visit/information

The companies interviewed were assessed on the basis of a scoring matrix comprising nine individual elements which totalled (as a maximum score) 100.

The successful shortlisted companies (of which there were three) were informed the week following the interview.  Feedback was given to the three ‘unsuccessful’ interviewees based on notes of the process prepared by TPI.

Tenders were dispatched to the three companies with a return date some two weeks later. 

TPI formulated the tender documentation which comprised:-

  1. Amplifications to aid and clarify the tender process, including the criteria to be adopted in the tender analysis, post receipt
  1. A detailed, tailored scope of professional/design services required
  1. A contract (appointment) document detailing the rights and obligations of both the School and the appointed consultant - a TPI document
  1. A Form of Tender

Tenders were invited on a price/quality basis which comprised:-

  • Price submitted - 50%
  • School site visit to a (previously nominated) completed facility - 25%
  • Final Interview - 25%

The School’s Technical Manager was accompanied by the Governor Chair of the School’s Estate Committee and the School’s Finance Director on the three site visits which took place during the two week tender period.  By bringing the consultant’s presented scheme images/photographs ‘to life’ the visits themselves gave the School a greater insight into their own project requirements and were a valuable learning experience.  The visits also helped to clarify the competing consultant’s relative abilities.  Feedback from building managers/users was particularly useful.

On receipt of the three tenders TPI analysed them individually and provided the School with a technical report prior to the final interview (which represented the final quarter of the tender process).

The overall final score was ratified post final interviews by the Panel (who comprised the Chair of Estates/Finance Director/School Technical Manager and TPI). 

Post approval by the appropriate School Committees the Lead Designer commission was awarded to a company who did not submit the lowest priced fee bid, but achieved the overall highest score.

The Lead Designer Appointment Documentation (which includes the names of key personnel to be employed on the project by the Lead Designer), completed by TPI, was dispatched for signature by the successful company and subsequently by the School.

The signature of the documentation will represent the culmination of an intensive four month period, one month quicker than initially thought achievable.