Forward notices (Public Construction – Guidance 5.1)

This Guidance helps Agencies to promote awareness in the market of forthcoming government procurement opportunities.

Effective date: 1 July 2018

Objective: To promote awareness in the market of forthcoming government procurement opportunities

Summary

To promote open and fair competition and contestability, Agencies should ensure that all potential tender participants are given appropriate notice of upcoming procurements.

Publish a forward notice for all open and Selective Tenders.

The lead time for a forward notice needs to be appropriate for the type of procurement (longer for complex or high value projects and shorter for simple or low value projects).

Forward notices are published on the website or system nominated by the Secretary to the Department of Treasury and Finance, currently the Tenders VIC site, using the applicable form.

A forward notice may be published on the Agency’s website or through an electronic tender system, in addition to the notice published on the website or system nominated by the Secretary to the Department of Treasury and Finance, currently the Tenders VIC site.

This Guidance describes the information to include in a forward notice and the suggested lead time for publishing.

The role of forward notices

A forward notice is a notice that alerts potential tender participants to a future procurement.

A forward notice is separate to and published in advance of an expression of interest or Tender Notice. The forward notice does not replace either the expression of interest or Tender Notices; these notices will still need to be published at the appropriate stage of the procurement.

A forward notice only advises that a procurement opportunity is approaching. Other activities to generate tender participant interest, such as industry briefings, should also be undertaken, to the extent they are relevant to the procurement.

A forward notice enables tender participants to:

  • understand the project requirements;
  • gauge their interest in a procurement;
  • understand the rules to participate in a procurement;
  • confirm their eligibility to participate in a procurement, and if necessary, to gain the relevant certifications to allow them to participate; and
  • develop relationships with other tender participants, so that bid teams are available to respond to a Tender Notice.

Providing potential tender participants with forward notice of an upcoming procurement is an important way to promote competition, contestability and efficiency. Publishing all forward notices on a central platform helps potential participants to find procurement opportunities they may be interested in and to plan their resources accordingly.

Publishing forward notices on the nominated website or system

Forward notices must be published on the website or system nominated by the Secretary to the Department of Treasury and Finance, currently the Tenders VIC site, using the applicable form.

In addition to the website or system nominated by the Secretary to the Department of Treasury and Finance, currently the Tenders VIC site, Agencies may publish a forward notice on their own website or through an electronic tender system.

Information to include in a forward notice

In addition to fields included in the applicable form, Agencies should communicate information that is relevant to the potential tender participants. Consider including:

  • a brief description of the procurement including the extent of the Works or Construction Services required;
  • the Procurement Model;
  • the procurement process and indicative procurement program;
  • expected prequalification levels or ‘minimum’ capability/capacity hurdles;
  • government policies that affect the procurement; and
  • details on how to access additional information.

Example of a description for the forward notice

[Agency name] is intending to release a Request for Tender in August 2018 for the design and construction of a community health centre located at [location] to provide expanded health services to the region. The project will include co-locating the minor surgical suites from [location]. The project will require the design and construction of the health centre, including fitout of the surgical suite.

For a simple procurement the mandatory fields in the applicable form may be sufficient to present the scope of information relevant to the procurement.

For more complex procurements, additional information may be presented, including by way of supplementary information made available either with the forward notice record, or published separately on a procurement-specific forum. Additional information may include advice on industry briefings, site visits and related procurements either underway or under consideration.

The forward notice should be updated as more information becomes available. For example, the Procurement Model may not be known when the forward notice was first published. Such information should be updated as it is developed.

Lead time for forward notices

In determining the lead time for publishing a forward notice Forward notices (Instruction 5.1) requires Agencies to, as much as possible, take account of the following:

  • the nature and complexity of the Works or Construction Services;
  • the likely tender participants and market characteristics, including whether it will be necessary for tender participants to establish a consortium or likely interest from international tender participants; and
  • the tender strategy and Procurement Model.

Where possible, it is better to apply longer periods to allow the market to prepare before the formal approach to market. In some instances Agencies may have an annual program of procurement activities, and it may be appropriate for their market sector to publish an annual program.

Suggested lead times for forward notices are described in the following table.

Complexity of procurement Procurement Model Suggested lead time (weeks)
Simpler

Construct only

Design and Construct - simple scope

Construction management - simple scope

4 - 8
Moderate 

Moderate    Design and Construct - moderate to high complexity

Construction management - moderate to high complexity

Alliance - simple to moderate complexity 

8 - 26
High 

Public private partnership

Alliance - high complexity    26 - 52

26 - 52

Tools and support

The Practitioners Toolkit includes key documents, guidance and information about the Ministerial Directions and Instructions for public construction.

The Victorian government tender website TendersVIC.

For further information about the Ministerial Directions and Instructions for public construction procurement, please contact the Construction Policy Team.

Reviewed 23/07/2018
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