Construction procurement

The construction category management steering group are looking into a number of initiatives relating to construction procurement.

The current workstreams are:

  • Developing a new national category strategy for construction
  • Market engagement / supply chain management
  • Cost benchmarking.

National Construction Category Strategy 2018

We are now pleased to have launched the second edition of the construction category strategy that outlines how councils can facilitate better value solutions that can be achieved through lower capital costs and more efficient procurement. This is particularly important given the recent news of major public sector supplier collapse.

Market intelligence

NACF have now updated their popular market intelligence maps that show data captured annually on projects >£1m. They have formulated the attached maps that show current market trends and other market factors that are important to budgets and awareness of project delivery.

NACF Market Intelligence - Heat Maps

New models of construction procurement

Government have issued some draft guidance on new models of construction procurement, based on best practice in public sector construction.

The guidance is in three parts and covers:

  • Two Stage Open Book
  • Cost led Procurement and
  • Integrated Project Assurance.

Draft guidance on new models of procurement on the website

National School Delivery Cost Benchmarking

Submissions are now invited for the 2019 National Schools Delivery Cost Benchmarking exercise through completion of the cost form. This is a hugely important study providing a reference point for councils when assessing schools costs. Completed forms should be submitted to

The annual national school cost benchmarking study for 2018 is now available to download below.  The study was conducted by Hampshire County Council in conjunction with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. This significant study now has a dataset with a capital value of over £3.7billion from 126 local authorities across England. The study now has good data on the actual costs of primary, secondary and SEN school projects including;

  • cost per place
  • gross costs
  • net costs. 

To ensure a high level of consistent participation, Local Authorities were asked to submit data using a common standard form of cost analysis.
This study is welcomed and supported by the Infrastructure & Projects Authority (part of the Cabinet Office), Department for Education and Education and Skills Funding Agency and will be a valuable tool for us all to understand the real cost of building new school places across the country. The output of the study will also be used in future publications of the Cabinet Office Cost and Data Benchmarking Task Group.
A copy of the latest report, published in February 2018 is available to download below along with previous reports from 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014. We will be calling for submissions for the 2019 report in September 2018.

National Schools Delivery Cost Benchmarking 2018

National Schools Delivery Cost Benchmarking 2017

Framework contracts

For access to construction related framework contracts please visit the NACF website here:

Effective Construction Frameworks compares construction frameworks with traditional forms of procurement (where suppliers are procured for individual projects) and considers the benefits offered by effective construction frameworks. It also sets out the key features of effective framework agreements. The details included are not necessarily exclusive to framework arrangements; the attributes can also be prerequisites in other effective construction procurement mechanisms or routes to market

Construction case studies

Market consultation case study

Cluster working: Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Reading councils used a two-stage open book process to trial cluster working on 22 individual projects with a total budget of around £119m. They hope to aggregate savings of 14% of the total cost by standardising on design approaches, aggregating  and driving efficiency through the supply chain. For more information see the case study here

Using Procurement to tackle poverty: Birmingham City Council's Employment Action Team set out to use public procurement to address poverty through training and employment.

Use of BIM: Trafford Borough Council were keen to implement the use of BIM on Springfield Primary School, a contract worth some £4.2 million. The main BIM objective was the early completion of design information to allow early engagement with the supply chain and increase opportunities for further collaboration with specialist subcontractors.  For more information on how the council saved £80,000 through use of BIM with the whole supply chain see here.

The National Skills Academy for Construction

This client-based approach provides a toolkit to deliver employment, apprenticeships and training for public sector clients through their construction projects, planning policy and development control. It provides model documentation, benchmarks, case studies
and practical commentary. Based on successful National Skills Academy for Construction projects, the guidance includes all necessary components to deliver apprenticeships, employment and training opportunities on any type and size of construction project. See the case studies below: