Construction, Infrastructure and Rail update

This weeks Construction, Infrastructure and Rail update:

Balfour Beatty has been brought on by Highways England on an early contractor involvement (ECI) basis to build a new lorry park off of the M20 in Kent. The £130m contract will relieve the roads in Kent, particularly in the event of disruptions at the Port of Calais / ferry crossings / Channel Tunnel. The government is yet to sign off on the project, however, it is expected soon as plans were contained in the chancellor’s 2015 autumn statement.


Bam Construction has been awarded a £41m contract by Birmingham City University for a new build at their City South Campus in Edgbaston. The new building will house courses in sports and life sciences as well as specialist facilities for research and physiotherapy. Enabling works have begun and the project is due for completion at the end of 2017.


Following successful contracts in Leeds and Great Yarmouth, the Bam Nuttall and Mott MacDonald JV (BMM) have been awarded a further 2 flood defence work contracts for the Environment Agency. One contract for the construction of flood defences on both banks of the River Exe from Cowley Bridge to Countess Weir in Exeter. The other being the North Asset Recovery Programme in York & North East and Lower Aire & Upper Aire catchments for the restoration of flood defences damaged by storms and floods in December 2015.


Alstom is hoping to be awarded the £7.5bn contract to build rolling stock for the planned HS2 rail route connecting London, Birmingham, and Leeds and this week announced they will be proposing double-decker trains. Final specifications are yet to be put together but the firm feels it’s a unique offering that would create a much better passenger experience. Alstom has been operating double-decker trains for 20 years with current services in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, and Switzerland. The contract is expected to be awarded in 2019 and although no guarantees have been made, Alstom has said it would attempt to carry out as much of the building work in the UK creating an estimated 600 UK jobs.

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.

Certification is Good for You!

Many of us will have experienced the pressure of dealing with Continuing Professional Development (CPD), whether as a result of an initiative in the company we work in or as part of our own personal drive. Being able to prove a level of certification (such as Prince 2) gives us more status with our peers, gives our arguments more weight and aids career progression. However, not everyone is aware that there is an independently regulated certification scheme for bid and proposal professionals and we want to ensure you are not missing out.


CPD Benefits

CPD is an investment that we make in ourselves and if tackled with enthusiasm, it can also help us keep our skills up to date and prepare us for advancement. It can boost our confidence, strengthen our professional credibility and help us become more creative in tackling new challenges. It can make our working lives more interesting and can increase our job satisfaction.

In reality, all these benefits though important are somewhat intangible. However, in the formal bidding and tendering environment, we have some added incentives to certification.


Survey Results

We are beginning to see irrefutable evidence that such self-investment, coupled with external assessment, can lead directly to much better pay.  The Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), through our partner Bid Solutions, has been running salary surveys for several years. Now we can see clear trends emerging.

The APMP accredits its members at three levels of increasing competence; Foundation, Practitioner and Professional. The exciting thing is we now know that once certified, these members earn an average of 15% more than their peers*.

The survey results are very compelling. For specific levels of accreditation, progressing from Foundation to Practitioner level typically attracts a further 14% pay rise, whilst advancing to Professional level leads to an additional 30% increase.

If you are a bid professional and you want a pay rise, keep up the CPD and get your skills recognised by external assessment. After all, a 15% or 30% pay rise would be pretty handy, wouldn’t it?

Author: Peter Lobl APMP Director, Sixfold International


Learn More with Bid Writing Courses

We are pleased to announce that Sixfold has just been appointed as an ATO (Authorised Training Organisation) for the APMP. For more information please contact us on 020 8158 3952 /


*SOURCE: APMP Salary Survey, Spring 2012; Bid Solutions Salary Survey, 2015

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Ghosting: Powerful force or unnecessary distraction?

Ghosting: Powerful force or an unnecessary distraction? This was the topic in question at the APMP UK event in London on Monday evening.

It was an amusing and informative night led by twentysix2’s Ian Sherwood. The session covered the principles of ghosting, why and how it is used, as well as potential pitfalls of using the technique. There was also an unforgettable interactive session on how James Bond and Batman would ghost each other to try and win a government security contract, with the characters themselves present in the room.

One of the key questions raised from the evening was how often do we utilise ghosting in a competitive environment? The results on the night were interesting and we want to know your thoughts – is ghosting recognised in your organisation and how frequently do you use it to gain competitive advantage? Email us at or join the discussion on our LinkedIn group.

To read expert advice as well as industry news, visit our Bid Hub.

Construction, Rail and Infrastructure Update

This weeks Construction, Rail and Infrastructure news:

The government has announced plans for infrastructure reform through strengthening the new National Infrastructure Commission. Adding transparency to local government and speeding up the planning process by minimising delays caused by pre-commencement planning conditions. The compulsory purchase order process will also be made clearer, fairer and faster.


Kier has been awarded a £14m project to refurbish Edinburgh College of Art. Refurbishment of the 3 storey 12,000 m2 sandstone building will take place in 2 phases starting in June with completion due in December 2018.


Alstom has been awarded planning permission for a new training facility in the North West. Construction of North West Transport Training Academy is due to start later this year and will allow the existing workforce to benefit from learning new skills as well as supporting graduates and apprentices. The academy will provide training in engineering, manufacturing, project management, and other vital skills and act a centre for research and development within the transport sector.


Miller Homes has been fined £100k following their involvement in a water pollution incident in Huddersfield in 2013. Flannery Civil Engineering Ltd who were contracted by Miller Homes was fined £9k in March for their involvement in the incident which saw silt and sediment from their construction site pollute a nearby watercourse.


A review carried out by KPMG has revealed a jump in the value of the UK Government construction pipeline. The report shows a £62.2bn spike of spending on government-funded projects from August 2015 taking the total spend to £181bn. 15 sectors were covered in the report including transport which had a £32bn increase attributable to HS2 phases 1 and 2; Education which sees an additional £15bn and the energy sector which increased by £10bn due to additional spending on nuclear decommissioning.

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.

New rules announced at London’s Anti-Corruption Summit

New transparency rules to government contracts were announced at yesterdays Anti-Corruption Summit in London. Under the new rules, public contracts will be visible to the public from the beginning of the bidding process through to the delivery. The government has set out 13 commitments on transparency, anti-corruption, and open government to retain the UK’s position as one of the most transparent governments.

Anti-Corruption Commitments

The 13 commitments set out by the UK Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18 (NAP) include:

  • The UK becoming the first G7 country to commit to the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) for contracts administered by a central purchasing authority, the Crown Commercial Service. This means that for the first time the whole process of awarding public sector contracts from the bidding right through to the building will be visible to the public. This is set to be in place by October 2016 and will be piloted by High-Speed Rail 2.
  • Introducing more rigorous screening, including additional conviction checks, to ensure that government contracts are not awarded to corrupt companies.
  • Creating a new Anti-Corruption Innovation Hub with the purpose of connecting social innovators, technology experts and data scientists with law enforcement and civil society to share innovative techniques and best practise in tackling corruption. The Hub will include Mexico, France, Ghana, Georgia, Switzerland, Afghanistan, UAE, Indonesia, and Norway.

Under the new rules of open contracting, data and documents from all stages of the process would need to be disclosed for transparency. The policy has been well received by international governments and aims to reduce corruption and save money as well as creating opportunities for SME’s and generating public engagement.

You can find the full list of commitments here.

What do you think about the new transparency rules? Contact us on or join the discussion on our LinkedIn group.

For more industry news, along with expert advice and more visit our Bid Hub.

Construction, Infrastructure and Rail Update

This weeks Construction, Infrastructure, and Rail news:

The government has given the go-ahead for the £1.5bn upgrade to the A14 in Cambridgeshire. The delayed work is now set to start in 2016 and includes a new bypass for Huntingdon, improvements to 5 junctions and widening a section of the A1. The joint venture contractors selected include Costain and Skanska; Balfour Beatty and Carillion; Atkins and CH2M.


Mears has signed a £109m deal with County Durham housing association Livin Homes to deliver housing maintenance and repairs. The 10-year contract is due to start in July and will service stock of around 8,500 homes.


Graham Construction has been awarded the contract to build the new Kenilworth Rail Station by Warwickshire County Council. The new station will be built on Priory Road, Kenilworth and construction is set to start this summer. The new station is part of a major rail enhancement scheme and will be included in a new local service between Leamington Spa and Coventry. The station is due for completion in early 2017.


A2Dominion Housing Group is inviting bids for a 4 year London housing framework. They are looking to appoint between 15 – 30 contractors with experience in design and construction. The estimated value of the project is £500m and the initial deadline is 7th June.


To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.

Challenging a procurement decision

We have seen some recent case law which may give organisations more leverage to get the information surrounding the activities of the evaluators in a Public Sector procurement decision. Although not directly concerned with procurement, a Court of Appeal case involving Denbighshire County Council decided:

  • A public authority under a duty to give reasons for a decision must provide adequate reasons within a reasonable time and in any event, before the issuance of judicial review proceedings.
  • Reasons given later in the context of the litigation will be viewed with skepticism and will not cure the original deficiency.
  • The court found that to discharge such a duty, the reasoning must be “such as to enable interested parties to decide whether to appeal against the determination in question, taking into account any factors which might subsequently be brought to their attention”.

It also decided that even in judicial review proceedings, cross-examination will not be ruled out if there are questions raised by the evidence submitted.

In a procurement competition, there will be a number of situations where contracting authorities have a duty to give reasons for a decision within a reasonable time. Where this is the case, e.g. the Standstill period, their reasons should be given at an early stage to allow competitors to consider whether they have grounds for a claim. The court case makes the point that providing reasons in subsequent proceedings will not be sufficient.

We think that this case will allow more ability to get the information we need when considering challenging a questionable procurement decision.  If the reasons given by the authority are found to be inadequate later, they will have difficulty in bringing additional information to prove their case.

Author: Andy Haigh PPM APMP Director and Public Sector Bid Consultant, Sixfold International Ltd

This is a complex area so if you are considering challenging a procurement decision and you are within the timescales, please contact us immediately for a no-obligation discussion on 020 8158 3952 /

For more industry news and expert opinion, visit our Bid Hub

Construction, Infrastructure and Rail update

This week’s Construction, Infrastructure, and Rail news:

Network Rail completed a £14.5m programme of work over the May Day bank holiday. 1,800 people worked around the clock on various projects including remodelling, electrification and signalling of tracks and the beginnings of a ramp for the proposed flyover to Heathrow, allowing double the movement of passengers.

Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (NEXUS) have selected WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff to provide consultancy and design services on a modernisation project for Tyne and Wear Metro. The £350m Metro modernisation programme will see refurbished trains and stations as well as new tracks and power lines. Other successful tenders are AECOM, Arcadis Consulting, Capita Property & Infrastructure, and Ove Arup & Partners International; the firms will compete on a mini-competition basis for work.

Morgan Sindall has secured a £300m deal with Basildon Council to maintain and repair Basildon Council’s housing and corporate buildings. The 15-year contract which is set to start in July is bespoke offering to Basildon Council and supports their aspiration to create opportunities within the local community.

Laing O’Rourke has been awarded a £76.2m contract by Imperial College London to build a 34-storey residential tower at their White City Campus. This is the third project they have been awarded on the campus and at 215,000 square feet, the tower will provide 192 homes; 59 of which will be reserved for Imperial Key workers at a below-market rental cost. The work is due to start this month for completion in 2019.

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.