How we work with the public sector

(the devil’s in the detail)

Whatever the public sector project, they are always cost driven. We like to maximise value through early collaboration in order to enhance the crossover between the design and construction process, ensuring buildability and value for all parties. This is especially important in the current market, where material costs and lead times are constantly shifting. 

Cityzen has been delivering social housing, and educational projects to public sector and charitable organisations for the last 12 years. We are motivated by the social values and inherent big picture goals that education and social housing projects deliver. We listen to the Employer and our Client (when different), seek to understand their goals and drivers, and are happy working both sides of the fence, either for contractors or for the Employer. 

University of Sussex project. Photo: Leigh Simpson

Having this experience allows us to also see both sides when problems occur. It also means that we are prepared to face what can sometimes be difficult situations in order to meet the technical requirements. Whether we are appointed directly, or by our design and build colleagues, collaboration is the key to achieving the project goals. 

When it comes to working on Public Sector projects, every detail is amplified. This is because the main stakeholders (and the project itself) can be under severe scrutiny. Time and money are key for any project, but even more so when it’s the public purse that’s being spent.

At Cityzen we understand this implicitly. We listen and look to understand pain points, and this means we know that Public Sector projects have multiple stakeholders, due consideration must be given to the Public Sector process, the employer’s requirements that direct the consultant and construction team, and the internal stakeholders’ priorities.  

Working with multiple stakeholders

When working on public sector projects, there can be many stakeholders, each with varying end goals. Where tendered as design and build templated documents are often issued, which have detailed, prescriptive information that may not always be relevant. Sometimes designs are tendered that don’t actually meet the stakeholder’s needs, nor those of internal design guides.

In these instances, contractors bidding on these projects must carefully pick through this information and face a choice. Do they flag up inconsistencies, and invest time and money in demonstrating their knowledge and areas that have been missed, pricing the risk and potentially pricing themselves out of the tender, or do they price to win? Cityzen looks for early collaboration on public sector design and build and always welcomes the opportunity to assist contractors with their tender returns to assist with the de-risking of the process. 

Finding solutions

At Cityzen, we are happy to see ourselves as ‘pragmatic geeks’, poring over every detail in order to find the best possible solution. Our extensive and varied experience in the public sector means that we are able to work in various guises on public sector projects, either for architects, taking their designs forward through building regulations and out to tender, or as consultants to the contractor, taking on their design elements to get them on-site and through to completion.

Medway Council

Steve King, Construction Director at Cheesmur says, “We’ve worked with the team at Cityzen on a number of public sector projects now and every time they’ve been excellent, providing practical solutions and fantastic attention to detail.” 

When we receive a design and build enquiry from a contractor we are keen to establish their needs as well as dive down into the tender design in front of them. We want to spot the deviations from the norm and see how we can best support their bid. Every contractor is a different client, with a different set of needs. 

When working for an Architect, we use our technical expertise to detail their design, respecting their design thread, and help to ensure their project goals are fully met.   

When working on a social housing project for Southdown Housing, we worked to generate a set of tender drawings and a specification suitable for the QS to use in the tender and pricing process. A director at Southdown Housing said, “I was very impressed with Cityzen and very positive about the team’s input and responsiveness.”

Find out more about this project here For more information about how we could work with your Public Sector project, contact the Cityzen team today on 01273 915010 or email us

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