RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks) – in compliance with public procurement law
The German Regulation on the Award of Public Contracts (Vergabeverordnung) places three central requirements on public invitations to tender: They are not permitted to place any company at a disadvantage – meaning they must be non-discriminatory and treat all bidders equally. The tender specifications must be transparent and openly available to everyone. The invitation to tender must comply with the clauses governing the offer of products and services and cost efficiency, as well as taking special account of the interests of small and medium-sized companies.
Products and services only receive a RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Mark) when they fulfil the relevant Quality Assurance and Test Specifications. These Quality Assurance and Test Specifications are developed for each RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Mark) in a broad-based public approval process. They are then subsequently published by RAL and accessible to anybody.
- Non-discrimination and equal treatment:
RAL involves independent institutions such as the federal and state ministries, industry associations, consumer organisations and testing institutes in the development of the Quality Assurance and Test Specifications. This excludes the possibility of any preferential treatment of or discrimination against individual market participants. In addition, all German and foreign companies have the opportunity to apply for a RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Mark).
- Clauses governing the offer of products and services and cost efficiency:
RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks) embody characteristics such as durability, specialist personnel or reliable customer services – and thus fulfil the corresponding clauses in public procurement law. The interests of small and medium-sized companies are also taken into account because it is these companies in particular that often use RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks).
Reliable proof of a bidder's eligibility
In contrast to general standards, the Quality Assurance and Test Specifications cover all characteristics of a product or service that are important for their use. They not only include technical performance specifications but also requirements for the reliability, performance capabilities and expertise of the suppliers. It is for this reason that awarding authorities can safely draw on the Quality Assurance and Test Specifications as criteria for ascertaining a bidder's eligibility and their fulfilment of the technical specifications, as well as accepting the relevant RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Mark) as proof that these standards have been met. This significantly simplifies the tender process.
RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks) as partners of public authorities
RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks) support public authorities in the fulfilment of their public contracts:
- Economical use of tax revenues: Energy efficiency and clearly defined costs play a central role in the awarding of construction contracts. In the construction sector, awarding authorities can make use of a wide range of products and services with RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks) that fulfil these requirements. Products and services with RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks) also protect against shoddy workmanship at the construction site and thus prevent any unanticipated follow-up costs. This is due, amongst other things, to the use of high-quality materials, qualified and regularly trained employees and long guarantee periods.
- Citizens rely on a functioning infrastructure: The municipal infrastructure is judged on whether it is safe and functions correctly. In this area and also for other infrastructure measures, RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks) stand for high-quality, environmentally-friendly and sustainable solutions, as well as for trained specialist personnel, modern technology and high-quality materials. This protects against defects, repairs and disgruntled citizens.
- Responsibility for cleanliness and health protection: Cleanliness and hygiene play an important role in public facilities. This is particularly true when it comes to kindergartens, schools, hospitals or care facilities. The reliability and trustworthiness of service providers is decisive in this area. RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Marks) also make all the difference in these sectors.
- Green spaces increase the quality of life: Citizens love their green spaces and they thus need to be maintained. Those businesses who deliver services awarded with a RAL Gütezeichen (Quality Mark) offer much more than just gardening expertise. They also handle, for example, the cultivation of indigenous trees, create habitats for fauna and flora and maintain recreational facilities. In the case of dangerous work such as tree husbandry, these companies make safety their primary objective.
- Expertise for the awarding authority: Some Quality Assurance Associations, whose quality marks are particularly relevant to public authorities, provide these authorities with support, for example, in the form of suggestions for the formulation of the invitation to tender or with concrete performance specifications. If public authorities make use of these suggestions, they are provided with tender specifications that go above and beyond the relevant standards and legal regulations.