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Before starting

Once project approval and funding is received, confirm key aspects of the project, establish the project team and start developing a project brief before starting to plan for procurement.

After the project has received approval and funding, you should assess if there have been any changes to the scope or funding to what was assumed in the business case. You should also set up the project team if you have not done so already, or augment it with the skills you need to assist you with defining the project and delivering the procurement phase.

Following this, you should start to develop key planning and benchmarking documents including a project brief and reference project. For smaller, less complex projects, such as business-as-usual projects, these documents may not be needed, with aspects such as scope, objectives and governance instead being solely articulated in the project plan.

Further guidance on planning considerationsExternal Link is available.

  • Before you start procurement, you should identify and understand any changes to the project scope, program and budget that may have been authorised by the approval body, from the assumptions in the business case. You should also consider any flow-on impacts to other key project aspects such as:

    • objectives, vision and benefits
    • constraints and dependencies
    • governance
    • stakeholders
    • procurement objectives
    • risks
    • reporting requirements, and
    • operational commencement targets.
  • A project brief will help communicate a consistent understanding of the project amongst key stakeholders, both internally and externally, and will support specialist advisors' understanding of expectations and requirements. It will help guide the articulation of the project functional requirements and technical specification in the tender documentation as well as the development of the project plan.

    Elements typically incorporated in the project brief will include a refresh of key elements described in the business case (outlined above) as well as further progressed detail such as:

    • descriptive summary of the project and the proposed facilities, including any master planning and preliminary concept designs where relevant
    • high-level summary of the project procurement model
    • high-level proposed project program for both the procurement phase and key dates such as staged completion and operational commencement, and
    • summary of the overarching project budget, including internal project management/transaction cost allowances and where relevant, a high-level cost plan based on the design.
  • A reference project, sometimes referred to as a “benchmark project”, should detail the assumed base-case approach to delivering the project including:

    • description of the project scope
    • design concepts (noting the level of design and engagement scope of the design team will depend on the selected procurement model and may be further developed)
    • delivery program, and
    • construction cost estimation consistent with the level of design.

    Components of the reference project, such as design and project scope, will feed into the tender documentation and help articulate the expectations from tenderers (this may be in the form of an input specification or output performance-based specification, depending on the selected procurement model).

    Understanding the base case of the delivery program and cost will assist you in evaluating tenderers’ responses and may be used as a benchmark to compare the value offered.

    The reference project will likely be continually iterated as the design is further developed for the tender documentation (if relevant to the procurement model) and as you further articulate the project scope. Any material change in associated scope, program or cost will require further approvals.

Reviewed 05 July 2023

TAFE Toolkit

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