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If you're engaging with suppliers, consultants or installers for your net-zero projects there are lots of things to consider. In this blog we break down our main considerations as a guide to help you make your decisions.

We have spoken a lot recently about how to apply for funding, what to do when the next funding scheme is announced and why you should put a net-zero plan in place now, but for a public sector organisation to have the best chance of securing funding you need to have consulted with the right suppliers and consultants about your plan in order to state accurate costs and figures for your projects within your application. If you get this step wrong, it may have considerable consequences.

In this article, we explore how to procure compliant consultants, suppliers, and installers for your net zero projects and share some key considerations to reflect on as you prepare your funding application.

What is a specification and why is it important to get your specification right from the outset?

Before procuring an installer/supplier to deliver your net-zero capital projects you need to take a step back and detail exactly what it is you require, and this is where a specification comes in. Specifications are detailed documents that a supplier will refer to and use to quote for the outsourced work needing to be undertaken. These can vary in length but can involve hundreds of pages detailing specific technical requirements that you need. Most public sector organisations will not have in-house expertise or capacity to do this alone and therefore will need to look to a consultant that is knowledgeable in the area to support them. We cannot stress enough how important getting a specification right is. If key components are missing, then your specification will be open to interpretation by the Supplier and therefore you run the risk of quotes not aligning with the project needs. If that happens, not only will that effect the project delivery time but will mean the project price will increase too due to an increase in material and labour costs and if your funding grant isn’t big enough to cover this increase then how will you find the extra money needed to complete it?

At LASER, we have compliant procurement routes for your net-zero plans. Our Net-Zero focused team support our customers with bespoke consultancy services including surveying and reporting carbon footprints, delivering net-zero roadmaps and designing carbon decent plans. Reports and specification support can be provided and with the added benefit of LASER’s procurement frameworks, our team can liaise and recommend the best zero carbon suppliers for your projects swiftly.

Your specification is ready, but how do you find compliant suppliers/installers for your net zero project?

We know all public sector organisations must procure suppliers and contractors in accordance with the Public Contract Regulations 2015 but finding the right supplier for your net zero project can be a difficult and lengthy process and you may be wondering where to start. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as googling “Heat pump suppliers” for example, you need to make sure you are asking complaint suppliers to quote the work.

To help, there are various public sector buying organisations that offer compliant frameworks and routes to source net zero suppliers/installers at the click of a button, taking the worry and effort away of having to source them yourselves.

Exploring the option of using a PBO framework could add huge benefits to your organisation. For example, all suppliers on our Frameworks are vetted by our framework managers meticulously. Our tenders consider Quality, Price and Social Value and scoring is carried out by a panel consisting of CIPS qualified procurement experts as well as zero carbon specialists. We make sure suppliers are well experienced, technically able, and compliant before they join our frameworks giving you piece of mind that compliancy has been met from the start.

In addition to our Frameworks we offer support to hold the buyers hand through the process, from specification, running mini tenders or direct awards, to assessing and selecting suppliers. We can rank each supplier’s response and make our recommendations to you giving you comfort that subject matter experts have provided you exactly the right supplier for your project.

Once you have funding and have sourced the right supplier, what should you consider next?

Taking time to consider what happens past applying and securing the funding is important and in-house expertise and resource to carry out these projects are a challenge for many public sector bodies. This is where project management of a single project or programme management of a group of projects can be beneficial. If your inhouse team is small or lack enough project management experience, outsourcing this role to a provider should be considered.

Effective project management is vital to meet the tight deadlines enforced by SALIX, to keep the costs within the funding budget, ensure that the carbon savings are achieved, and most importantly ensure that the finished installation ‘works’. Our team can provide expert project managers, backed by a compliant supply chain of specialist consultants to help manage your projects. Our support can range from Project Management of a single LED lighting project in a single building up to large programmes involving multiple technologies on multiple sites.

We can help

If you would like to find out more about our frameworks and how we can help you procure the right suppliers, please do get in touch with our team and we can talk through your requirements and challenges.

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