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Case Studies: West Midlands Fire Service - OSB Framework


Fire Services have a duty to train operational staff so that they can undertake their firefighting duties. Live fire training takes place at carbonaceous fire training buildings and containers, which helps Firefighters develop their skills to ensure that they are safe and effective in what they do. Training includes TAC Vent, CFBT and BA courses. Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is required for the purpose of setting a fire in whichever building or container is used.  

Due to the quantities and expenditure on OSB across the sector it was highlighted as a ‘quick win’ for establishing an NFCC National Framework Agreement for the Supply of OSB under the NFCTP Operational Equipment Category.

NFCC - OSB Framework
NFCC - OSB Framework


The scope of the Framework Agreement was to provide a mechanism for all UK FRS’s and Participating Customers such as Babcock International and Capita to establish call off contracts for the supply and delivery of OSB.

The Framework Agreement is based on 12 regional Lots, awarded to multiple suppliers. Further competitions must be undertaken to establish call off contracts with the award criteria of 100% price and some pass/fail questions. It is recommended due to the OSB market that further competitions are ran every 6 months due to the fluctuation in the market.

To ensure the OSB framework would be fit for purpose consultation took place with FRS’s, which helped to form the specifications and identify agents that could be added to the framework as named above.

OSB manufacturers were also engaged to develop a further understanding of the goods and the market. A principal Public Health Scientist was also engaged whom provided guidance on standards for OSB. Although exempt from the Dark Smoke Act, Fire Services have a responsibility to the public and a duty of care to its staff and OSB must be Formaldehyde low or Free.

Due to the value of the procurement and as required by the Public Contracts Regulations the tender opportunity was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in October 2019 as an open procurement procedure. Bids were evaluated based upon the following criteria/weightings:

  • 70% price
  • 30% quality

There were 9 bids received all evaluated by West Midlands Fire Service.


The Framework Agreement went live in January 2020. Up to March 2021; 3 Fire and Rescue Services, have used the Framework Agreement.  The total contract expenditure is currently £332,510.

The WMFS Procurement section undertake the management of the Framework Agreement including monitoring the performance of suppliers and the spend through the Framework.

The Framework Agreement provides the following benefits to participating FRS’s:

  • Quick and easy further competition process (templates supplied)
  • Quotation returns within 5 working days
  • No sign-up fee
  • Strategic Supplier Management via WMFS – This has been demonstrated recently over the past 9 months due to the current market situation with OSB, where demand is high driving up prices and stocks are low. The Framework Manager and other colleagues have spent time discussing the situation with suppliers and manufacturers to be able to provide customers with up to date information on the market including potential risks and how these can be mitigated.
  • Achieves a standardised product specification across all FRS
  • The Regional Lot structure allows both national and local suppliers to quote for business
  • Provides the ability to run collaborative mini competition exercises

For further information on the Framework Agreement please contact Liz Davies, Contracts Manager at: