A specialist contractor standing on a cherry picker and cleaning a grey stone memorial to Edith Cavell using a jet wash.

A specialist contractor cleaning the Memorial to Edith Cavell, London © Historic England DP176361
A specialist contractor cleaning the Memorial to Edith Cavell, London © Historic England DP176361

Advertising and Seeking Tenders for Building Works

This section describes ways of appointing a building or conservation firm to carry out grant-aided repairs in compliance with procurement regulations. Advertising and seeking tenders for the works will usually be part of the services you ask your professional adviser to carry out on your behalf. You should make sure that he/she reads the guidance on this web page.

The procurement process

Advertising and seeking tenders for the building works forms part of your Procurement Strategy which must be approved by Historic England. You can use our 'Procurement Strategy' form for this purpose.

Appointments must be made following the relevant processes set out below which depend on the overall cost of your project.

Small projects

Small projects (up to £10,000) are unlikely to need to go through a tender process. However, it will be necessary to obtain one to three written quotations from contractors with relevant experience, on the basis of an open and transparent process which clearly states the criteria (where applicable) upon which the contract will be awarded.

Contracts below £50,000

Where the total contract value is expected to be between £10,000 and £50,000, at least three tenders should be obtained for the work from contractors with relevant experience of working with historic buildings and monuments. The tenders must be on the basis of an open and transparent process which clearly states the criteria (where applicable) upon which the contract will be awarded; consideration should be given for the inclusion of quality criteria as well as cost.

Contracts above £50,000

Where the total contract value is expected to be above £50,000 but below the threshold specified in the Official Journal of the European Union, the procurement process should include advertising the opportunity for expressions of interest in the work. Your professional adviser will need to do this on your behalf.

The advertisement will need to contain:

  • Details of the proposed procurement process, in other words, whether a single or two-stage process is being adopted (subject to the estimated value of the project). A two-stage procurement process includes a separate pre-qualification stage which clearly sets out the number of suitably experienced contractors who will be invited to tender, and outlines how the shortlist will be chosen
  • Details of the proposed selection and award criteria, for example price only, or quality and price

The contractors selected must have relevant experience of working with historic buildings and monuments and this requirement must be included in the advertisement/assessment criteria.

The procurement process chosen for your project should be based upon the advice of your main professional adviser having due regard for the nature/complexity and value of the works, and be in accordance with the process submitted to and agreed by Historic England on our Procurement Strategy Form, which is required as a condition of our grant.

Tenders must be sought on the basis of an open and transparent process. It should be made clear to bidders in the invitation to tender documentation what criteria and weightings will be applied when evaluating bids and awarding the contract. Also, if requested, feedback to the unsuccessful suppliers should be provided.

We recommend that grant recipients do not necessarily seek to appoint the cheapest supplier, but instead consider other factors such as quality of service as well as the cost.

Advertising

The purpose of advertising is to extend the opportunities for suitable contractors to compete for publicly funded works. You may advertise in appropriate regional or national press/journals or online, or both. Firms who respond to your advertisement should be scored against the selection criteria listed in your tender documents.

A man and woman wearing hi-vis waistcoats and hard hats standing on the rooftop of St Pancras Chambers and looking up and pointing at something above them.
Your invitation to tender can be published online or using more traditional channels, for example in specialist magazines and newspapers © Historic England DP081675

Large projects

For a handful of very large projects, where the estimated value of the works exceed the published threshold for works current at the time of the procurement; there is a further requirement to advertise in the Official Journal of the European Community. Under EU regulations, there is a distinction between works and services. We are satisfied that grant-aided repairs can be treated as works. You are therefore advised to check the detailed guidance and current thresholds for publicly funded works on the  Official Journal of the European Community website. If you think that your project is one of these large projects, your local Historic England office can provide further advice.

Aggregation and your project

Please note that the thresholds outlined above also apply where you expect to carry out several phases of work to the same building or site within a period of five years. This is called aggregation. So, where you anticipate several phases, your professional adviser should add up the total contract value for the whole five-year period to find out which threshold applies. Where the expected value is just below a threshold, you may want to follow the process for that threshold in case the cost does increase.

Contact us

For further guidance, please contact your local Historic England office.

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