Pillar 2 of Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness committed to the establishment of a Housing Procurement Unit within the Housing Agency to provide a procurement centre of excellence and advice to support local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (ABHs) in the accelerated delivery of their social housing programmes.
The unit forms part of the professional technical section within the Housing Agency which deals with projects, including the pyrite remediation scheme, and offers procurement advice and services to assist in the delivery of social housing.
The Procurement Unit works closely with the other services within the Agency and also works with my Department, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), Irish Council for Social Housing, Local Government Management Agency, City and County Mangers Association, the Housing Finance Agency and others to ensure that information and technical assistance provided is current, accurate, helpful and contributes to housing delivery.
The Procurement Unit offers the following services:
- Provides procurement and project management advice and support for local authorities and AHBs in the accelerated delivery of their social housing programmes;
- Works with local authorities and AHBs to build their capacity and expertise;
- Co-ordinates and supports project development and project briefs, where requested by local authorities and AHBs;
- Manages the design and tendering processes as required;
- Provides general guidance and advice on social housing delivery;
- Supports the accelerated delivery of social housing programmes.
To date, the unit has managed the tender and appointment of consultant design teams for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 Approved Housing Bodies for over 30 housing projects in nine local authority areas. Each tender package was tailored for the specific needs of the client to ensure they get their required services within a procurement process carried out to best practice.
The unit has assisted in procuring design teams for a wide range of projects including a large inner city urban development, refurbishment and conversion of existing buildings, a major 4-storey extension to a sheltered accommodation unit and the conversion of a rural post-office into housing units.
The unit provides a continued technical service to local authorities and AHBs after the appointment of the design teams and remains available to answer queries and offer independent opinion on issues that may arise and on technical issues arising from the procurement process, irrespective of who carried out the procurement.
The unit is available to work with local authorities and AHBs in the procurement of both consultants and works contractors, with experience of establishing and operating all of the building works contracts within the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF), including: Frameworks, Employer Design, Contractor Design, Minor Works under Pillar 1, and service agreements for consultancy services contracts under Pillar 2 of the CWMF.
The unit has also experience of alternative procurement processes including competitive dialogue, and has assisted the OGP in setting up frameworks.