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Tender Construction for Peacocks (Part 3 of 3)

Tender Construction for Peacocks (Part 3 of 3)

Effective tender construction involves showing off, doing so without lying, and also dropping in the key ingredients a customer is looking for.  It’s helped by strategic (long-term) thinking, tactical (immediate) wording, evidence and rationales that back up what you say, and overall quality messaging. Let's take a third and final dive into tender construction; what works and what doesn’t.

In article one ('Construction Tendering and 26 Winning Answers'), we focused on how WHS/OH&S resources can address 26 questions. We also grouped these questions into four categories. We looked at the first two categories in article two ('A Deeper Dive on Winning Construction Tenders'). In this final article, we'll look at the last two: 'Managing Hazards and Risk' and' Continuous Improvement.'

Specifically, we'll consider:

  • The Art of Peacocking
  • Managing Hazards and Risk
  • Implementing Continuous Improvement.
  • Tender Construction for Peacocks

Tender Construction and the Art of Peacocking

Work health and safety are non-negotiables in your tendering. Not only is it a legal requirement, but it also affects the lives and welfare of workers and gives the customer a very tangible and measurable means of checking you out for professionalism overall. Your tender construction should, therefore, bring out your intentionality, proactivity, problem-solving, and forward-thinking. 

These four impressive nouns just mentioned aren't just buzzwords. When your tender construction showcases these traits, a tender win is much more likely. Try to demonstrate:

  1. Intentionality: being deliberate and purposeful in your work safety practices.
  2. Proactivity: controlling safe work practices BEFORE accidents happen (not being reactive).
  3. Problem-solving: being solutions-driven rather than excuse-driven. 
  4. Forward-thinking: seeking innovation and development in your WHS/OH&S.

Demonstrating these and other traits will enable you to spread your feathers and impress - like a peacock. After all, a successful tender needs at least some 'look at me' power. You are invited to spread those feathers by answering questions.

In other words, those annoying questions can be your friend. They are your invitation to engage in the art of peacocking - or presenting yourself at your best. 

Now, at this point, I could drop in some peacock jokes and puns - but they might not fly. It would make a beautiful tail, and if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I like a bit of dad-joke fowl-play. But just in case you're not a huge fan - I'll hold off. 

The point is this. Embrace the invitation of the questions. They're simply saying, "Shake that tail feather. Impress me!"

Now, let's check out the first question category.

Tender Construction to Manage Hazards and Risk

We recognised four groupings in the 26 questions proposed in our first article. The third grouping is hazard and risk management. In your tender construction, remember that hazard and risk management are the bread and butter basics of WHS and OH&S. Here are some thoughts on spreading those feathers, showing you can ensure the well-being of workers, protect assets, and also meet those project timelines. 

It is common for there to be questions about:

  • Risk management procedures and risk assessment tools;
  • The management of fatigue, stress, and psychosocial hazards;
  • Safe work method statements (SWMS) and emergency procedures;
  • The management of hazardous substances and chemicals;
  • Plant and equipment management; and
  • Protecting the environment. 

More specifically, the specific questions might look like this:

  • Do company workers use a risk management procedure and risk assessment tools on site to manage identified risks associated with the work? 
  • Does the company have a policy and/or procedure for managing fatigue, stress and psychosocial hazards?
  • Does the company use Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) for hazardous work activities, plant and equipment? 
  • Does the company have emergency procedures in place? 
  • Does the company have a policy and/or procedure for using hazardous substances and/or chemicals? 
  • Does the company have a policy and/or procedure for using plant and equipment, including maintenance? 
  • Does the company have a policy and/or procedure in place to protect the environment on work sites?

A Tender that Answers These Questions Well

When talking about your risk management procedures and assessment tools, mention that you proactively identify, evaluate, and mitigate potential hazards. You want to appear systematic in your ways - which our systems will help you demonstrate - and you also want to show you're just as interested in preventing accidents as you are in meeting regulatory standards. 

If you get a chance, mentioning that your procedure minimises project delays, cost overruns, and reputation damage can also be helpful. They typically like that. 

Similarly, you want to appear very deliberate when it comes to managing fatigue, stress, and psychosocial hazards. Mentioning a "holistic approach" might help, but explaining that you understand what it means will help, too. You want to sell your belief in prevention, worker support, open communication, regular training, and fatigue management strategies (such as scheduled breaks and rotating shifts). Stress management training, accessible mental health resources, and continuous evaluation are also winning inclusions.

When you are asked about Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), make sure you not only have the essentials but also be prepared to dazzle them with your 'above and beyond' willingness. Sure, sometimes the specific SWMS requests for a tender can be excessive, but in principle, there's nothing unreasonable about a tender document asking the question. So fan out those feathers and tell them you have the right stuff. Some SWMS resources are provided below.

When answering a question about your emergency procedures, you also want to appear comprehensive and proactive. To help you do this, mention that you use emergency response plans tailored to different scenarios. For example, a fire differs from a medical emergency or a natural disaster. You could also emphasise your regular training sessions on protocols and the use of routine drills to test preparedness. If you've got the resources, nothing fans the feathers like having a designated emergency response team (they don't have to specialise in only that - they just need to be specifically trained and available to respond). Our Emergency Procedures Document and Emergency Procedures Flip Chart will enable your  swift and effective response to emergencies.

You'll want to answer "Yes" when asked if you have a policy on hazardous substances and/or chemicals. But what will show your policy is well-crafted and effective? You could mention that it includes these essential elements:

  • Risk identification and assessment.
  • Control measures to eliminate or minimise exposure. 
  • Guidelines and labelling for safe storage, handling, transportation and use.
  • Clearly defined procedures for spills, leaks, evacuation and first aid.
  • Training on risks and protocols, as well as supervision to ensure compliance.
  • Regular monitoring of exposure levels.
  • Compliance with regulations, standards, and guidelines.
  • Clear communication with employees, subcontractors, and visitors on-site.
  • Quality documentation and accurate record keeping.

Using our resources (as directed) will enable you to do this with integrity and effectiveness.

Effective management of plant and equipment prevents accidents and improves efficiency. It helps you deliver on time and meet your targets, so why wouldn't they ask the question? Having these policies and procedures in place will enable you to answer 'Yes.' If given the opportunity, show you understand the importance of maintaining equipment integrity, reducing downtime and enhancing your workers' safety.

Finally, while many arguments exist about the legitimacy and integrity of so-called ‘environmental’ programs, there are better places to question whether the approved narrative aligns with reality. A tender document is no place for politics!

One thing we can all agree on is that local construction activities can and do impact the environment, so demonstrating your responsible approach, policies, and procedures is required. Your Site Environmental Policy and using a Site Environmental Checklist are good ways to impress. You can have environmentally friendly practices, minimise your ecological footprint, comply with regulations, and also demonstrate corporate responsibility. 

Resources for this Question Set

These resources will help you strut your feathers and peacock your way:

Remember, too, that if all this gets a bit overwhelming, we're just a phone call away. Call 1800 304 336, and we'll help you find both what you need and want.

Tender Construction that Demonstrates Continuous Improvement.

Now, let's consider the final question group. These questions look at:

  • Worker skills, competencies and training needs;
  • Incident and injury report forms and investigations;
  • Non-conformances and corrective action processes;
  • Internal inspections and audits; and
  • Recording and reporting performance.

The specific questions might look like this:

  • Does the company record workers' skills and competencies and identify future training needs? 
  • Does the company use incident and injury report forms and conduct investigations following incidents or injuries? 
  • Does the company have a process to document non-conformances and corrective actions? 
  • Does the company conduct internal WHS/OH&S inspections and audits? 
  • Does the company record and report WHS/OH&S performance? 

A Tender Construction Approach that Answers These Questions

Demonstrate your commitment to developing workers' skills, competencies and training by referring to your documented Safety Management System. Ensure it adheres to recognised standards AS/NZS ISO 45001 or AS/NZS 4801, and describe how it provides a structured approach to safety, compliance and continuous improvement.

When asked about incident and injury reporting and investigations, it's important to demonstrate commitment, accountability, and continuous improvement. Consider mentioning your prompt reporting, thorough investigations, meticulous documentation, preventive focus, and employee involvement. All of these can help you showcase your high standards.

A similar focus will help you peacock about your non-conformance and corrective action processes. Obviously, your documentation is important, but so are your corrective actions and continuous improvement. Don't forget to mention these. When deviations from procedures or standards are handled well, they help you know where improvements are needed. You can demonstrate your systematic approach and culture of learning from mistakes by using well-designed Non-Conformance Report Forms and Corrective Action Registers (provided below).

The second-to-last of our questions concerns the challenge of internal inspections and audits, which are often under-appreciated as tools. The simple truth is that regular inspections and audits are essential for identifying hazards, assessing compliance, and ensuring effectiveness. The adage "If it isn't checked, it isn't done" is true far more often than we would like. Utilising checklists and registers will allow you to convey your commitment and mitigate risks.

Finally, we examine the question of your record keeping as it pertains to performance - which is also integral to measuring effectiveness and ensuring continuous improvement. Processes, procedures, guidelines, and registers all provide a structured framework for assessing safety performance, identifying trends, and implementing targeted improvements to enhance overall safety outcomes.

Resources for this Question Set

These resources will help:

Tender Construction for Peacocks

We've covered much territory yet again, and it made sense to identify some key themes (or feathers) to display. Here are four recurring 'feathers' to put on show throughout your tender application. Consider:   

  1. A commitment to excellence overall, 
  2. Proactive risk management, 
  3. A culture of accountability, and
  4. A collaborative approach. 

Finally, and as a parting suggestion, remember that tendering is not merely transactional. It's not simply a give-and-take of information. It's an opportunity to peacock your expertise, capabilities, and commitment to excellence. Call us, and we'll help you get the best resources and set you up for the best approach. The number to call is 1800 304 336 - and we have no salespeople, only experts. We'll help you peacock that tail feather.

  1. All that talk about peacocking and tail feathers got me thinking. For those of you who remember it and those who missed it, here's the classic 'Blues Brothers' Tail Feather' clip with Ray Charles.

Enjoy! Then give us a call.

Next article A Deeper Dive on Winning Construction Tenders