Tendering for public procurement contracts

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Public procurement contracts are usually awarded using free market competition and advertised on the portal for public procurement contracts (Portail des marchés publics).

The preparation of the bid document and the tendering of the bid itself are therefore key steps in the procurement procedure.

The business (tenderer) which has tendered the lowest bid is not automatically awarded the contract. During the procedure, the contracting authority (State, communes, public establishments or syndicates of the communes) takes into account specific selection and awarding criteria.

There are specific hourly rates for architectural and engineering works for the public sector.

Who is concerned

Any economic operator, a natural or legal person or group of persons who meet the conditions stated in the tender documents of a public procurement contract can prepare and submit a bid for said contract.

A business may choose between various types of public tendering processes:

  • by separate professional body (by profession);
  • by lots;
  • by general contractor.


The submission criteria are detailed in the tender documents accompanying the public contract notice or are sent directly to the business (procedure without publication). The following information is provided:

  • award criteria, the weighting given to each criterion and the rating system;
  • the minimum criteria for participation in case of a public tender;
  • deadlines;
  • penalties for delays;
  • possible bonus for termination of works before the deadline;
  • technical description of variants;
  • insurance policies to take out.

Preliminary steps

Once the business has identified a potentially interesting public procurement notice or if it has been invited by a contracting authority to tender a bid, it must verify:

  • if the means (human, technical, financial, etc.) at its disposal meet the contract requirements;
  • if it can meet the deadlines.

How to proceed

Types of procedures

There are several types of public procurement procedures:

Preparing the tender

A business must meet all requirements detailed in the tender documents. This document defines the works or services to be carried out, the tendering conditions and the documents requested by the contracting authority.

Bid documents which do not meet the conditions laid down in the tender documents are rejected.

However, since the reason for a rejection will be provided, any business that deems to have been treated unfairly may lodge an appeal.

The bid document allows the business to:

  • present itself or the members of the group of businesses;
  • highlight its experience;
  • put forward its financial means and guarantees;
  • put forward the advantages it has over the competition;
  • define its project.

The business may, within a reasonable time limit, request clarifications concerning the contract from the contracting authority. Answers are sent to all the participants.

Tendering the bid

To be eligible, a company must meet the deadlines for submission of the application/tender.

The tender may be submitted personally in exchange for a receipt or sent by mail with acknowledgement of receipt.

NB: only the arrival date of the tender is taken into account, not the sending date. It is important to take into account the time needed for a delivery by mail.

It should be noted that from 18 October 2018, all tenders for procurement contracts that exceed the European thresholds must be submitted by electronic means.

Administrative certificates

Depending on the procedure, the business must also prove that it has fulfilled its professional obligations by attaching the following documents to its tender:

Where applicable, national and foreign subcontractors must also provide these certificates.

Who to contact

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