Leading e-procurement services provider Millstream has reported a rise in the number of low value construction tenders over the past 12 months, which it believes is opening up opportunities for UK companies to secure work from the public sector.
Millstream operates the myTenders and Tenders Direct websites, which allow public sector organisations to publish tenders and private sector companies to bid for new business, as well as national procurement portals for Scotland, Ireland and Norway.
Around 70% of the 14,000 construction tenders published by Millstream over the past year have been below the EU threshold of £4.3million, which means they do not need to be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
The opportunities included thousands of tenders across new build construction, building services, civil engineering, building refurbishment, exterior and interior works and professional services.
Tim Williams, managing director of Millstream – which has been exhibiting at the Building Services CIBSE Conference and Exhibition this week – says this means less competition and more opportunities for construction companies.
“EU legislation means that contracting authorities must adhere to transparent, non-discriminatory and proportional principles when purchasing goods and services. They must also advertise all contracts above threshold values in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) – in the case of construction this is set at £4.3million,” he said.
“Without the fear of competition from overseas contractors, lower value tenders are therefore particularly attractive to SMEs and legislation will soon be in place to allocate a certain percentage of all lower value contracts specifically to SMEs.
“Public authorities could do more to support the greater use of small local companies without contravening the regulations, such as requiring prime contractors to sub-contract and to advertise their requirements locally, or breaking large contracts down into smaller lots.”
However, lower tender values do still need to be advertised and the key, says Tim, is not to miss out on potential opportunities.
“Although lower value tenders don’t have to be published in the OJEU, there is still a legislative requirement for them to be openly advertised, often on the purchaser’s website or through a web portal, so if you are looking out for opportunities there is less chance of missing them.
“At Millstream, we source lower value tenders from across the public sector to make them easy to access, opening up literally thousands of business opportunities to companies in the UK.”
The Scottish Government earlier this month announced a review of the way Scotland’s £2billion public construction contracts are awarded.
The review will look at how public bodies involved in construction-related procurement, including those involved in affordable housing, adopt practices that are streamlined and deliver value for public money. It will also address the use of cutting edge design and technology, energy efficient techniques, materials and eco-friendly construction methods.
Millstream’s Tenders Direct website allows private companies from all sectors throughout Europe who are seeking new business opportunities to identify real business opportunities from the public sector, such as the government, local authorities, emergency services, health trusts and the armed forces.
myTenders has been in operation since 2002, with more than 1700 public sector organisations in the UK publishing all of their new business opportunities on the website.
For more information, visit www.tendersdirect.co.uk