A new project

Medium Schemes

If you are considering using the MSF 4 as a procurement route for your next project you will first need to check that your authority is a member of MHA+ and that the type of project falls within the scope of MSF 4. You can either download the Framework Information at the bottom of this page or follow the link to the UK government’s Find a Tender Service – Notice reference: 2022/S 000-021150.

The Framework Information describes the process that should be followed when placing a Package Order under MSF 4. The process gives sufficient assurance to MHA+ both that the framework guidelines are being followed and provide a clear audit trail. The Framework Board approval, when required, is carried out by e:mail. It should take no longer than a few days in each case, providing all the required information is available upon application.

The Framework Board will require the Framework Manager to complete a risk rating at each stage of this process, to ensure the appropriate use of the Framework, and to maximise the potential for the successful delivery of the commissioning authority outcomes. This framework risk rating will be taken into account by the Framework Board before giving their approval to placing a works order through MSF 4.

The first step is to select a contractor. The selection process is set out in Section 6 of the Framework Information. You will need to follow the guidelines set out in Section 6 and complete a number of Annexes as required, starting with Annex A. These can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

When deciding on which selection process to use, and the level of detail it should go into, a number of things should be considered. You should think about the significant procurement savings that can be achieved by using the framework. If  a difficult or complex selection process is followed you could heavily impact on the project by wasting time and overall, reducing the potential savings for both your authority and the contractors. Sub regional call-off provides the quickest selection route building on an established relationship and delivering continuous improvements. Direct call-off provides an alternative fast selection route making use of information already submitted by contractors for a number of model projects. If your project is similar to one or more of these projects you are encouraged to use direct call-off rather than the mini competition option. Whilst it is accepted that mini-tendering may well produce a lower initial target price, it does not necessarily lead to a lowest out turn cost, as under NEC4 Option C this will be based on the actual cost of the work (the defined cost), which is much more likely to be influenced by maximising the time available for Early Contractor Involvement (ECI).

On completion of the selection process you may enter into discussions with  your chosen contractor. We encourage you to use the ECI Strategy Meeting Agenda to help develop with the contractor an agreed approach to project delivery. For complex highway projects with a value over £1 million MSF 4 adopts the Engineering Construction Contract Option C using the X22 secondary option providing for early contractor involvement, at the pre-construction or detailed design stage of a project. Other approaches to the provision of early contractor involvement at different stages of project development are available and these may include the use of the Engineering Construction Short Contract or the Professional Services Short Contract.

Having determined your contract strategy and completed any necessary quotation process (see section 7 Framework Information) you should make a request to place a Works Order using Annex B. This will not be accepted without evidence that the necessary documentation has been completed. You have the choice of using either Engineering Construction Contract (ECC) option C, the Engineering Short Contract (ESC) or the Professional Services Short Contract (PSSC) under the framework, you may also select which secondary options to use. This decision should be based on the complexity and type of work as well as the level of risk involved. The natural presumption in preparing this contract is that amendments to the Conditions of Contract (in the form of Z clauses in Contract Data Part 1) were to be avoided. Considerable effort was put into the preparation of this contract to ensure that the majority of MHA+ member authorities’ requirements were covered in an attempt to standardise the contract. This should enable more accurate performance management and benchmarking.

Before commencing construction you are requested to complete Annex C. This will be at the time you have agreed the Target Price. The Target Price will be used to determine the fee payable to MHA+ for the use of the Framework. Annex C will also allow for further information to be gathered in order to monitor the introduction of X22 by member authorities.

Some of the documents referred to above can all be downloaded here as required.

Documents for MSF 4 projects
MSF 4 Framework Information
Annex A
Annex B
Annex C
Contract Data Part One