Legal requirements for procurement

Threshold values and conditions for the direct award procedure

Alongside the legal framework for the awarding of mandates, the FDFA provides information on threshold values and on the various publication platforms. In addition, the FDFA highlights the conditions that apply to the direct procedure.


Threshold values for the three types of procedure: tender, invitation and direct award

Under the tender procedure, the FDFA publishes the mandate on the platform. All interested parties and suitable tenderers can submit an offer. The FDFA evaluates the offers using pre-defined, published criteria. The mandate is awarded to the most economically advantageous bid, which is published on SIMAP, the official electronic public procurement platform of the federal government, the cantons and communes.

Under the invitation procedure, the FDFA selects tenderers, who are then invited to submit offers. In this case the FDFA – wherever possible – will obtain at least three offers. The FDFA compares the offers and awards the mandate to the most economically advantageous bid.

Under the direct award procedure, the FDFA awards the mandate to a supplier directly. When reviewing the bid prior to making the award, the FDFA complies with the requirement to use public funds efficiently and economically.

Object of procurement

Upper values

Type of procedure

Services, Construction works

< CHF 50,000
< CHF 150,000

Direct procedure

Construction works

CHF 50,000 < CHF 230,000
CHF 150,000 < CHF 230,000
CHF 150,000 < CHF 2,000,000

Invitation procedure

Goods, Services
Construction works

CHF 230,000 and above
CHF 2,000,000 and above

Tender procedure

Mandates of CHF 230,000 and over

As a rule, mandates of CHF 230,000 and over (services and goods) or CHF 2,000,000 and over (construction works) are published on SIMAP, the official electronic public procurement platform of the federal government, the cantons and communes.


Exceptions for direct awards

As a rule, mandates of CHF 230,000 and over for services and goods, and CHF 2 million and over for construction works are put out to tender. Mandates for services and construction work with a mandate value of less than CHF 150,000 can be awarded under the direct procedure (for goods under CHF 50,000).

Within the frame of the SDC’s domain of activity, the following exceptions are allowed to benefit from a direct procedure:

Technical particularities

Exemption from standard regulations is invoked when due to technical particularities or for the protection of intellectual property, the stakes involve only one supplier or no adequate alternative exists.

Reasons for other exceptions

The Federal Law on Public Procurement defines exceptions related to development cooperation and humanitarian aid. Free allocation is possible for:

  • Mandates within the frame of agricultural or food-aid programmes;
  • Mandates based on an International treaty between the States Parties to the GATT Agreement or Switzerland and third countries;
  • Mandates in the frame of a particular procedure of an international organization.

Follow-up phases

  • Programmes and projects of international cooperation represent long-term investments;
  • As a rule, a programme is calculated to last for about a 12-year period and is subdivided into several 3 to 4-year phases;
  • Phase 1 is subject to a tendering procedure. The call for tenders mentions the option of a direct award for the follow-up phases.

Guidelines for the awarding of project funds by mandated organisations within the scope of international cooperation

Programmes and projects in the field of international cooperation often include funds that are administered by the mandated organisation. These funds serve the purpose of fighting poverty and flow directly into the SDC’s partner country. Such funds are to be distinguished from the fees and compensations paid to the mandated organisation and the sub-contractors that it works with. In terms of local procurement, local partners may have already been identified. In addition, an international call to tender would hardly be convenient and would run contrary to the goal of strengthening local structures.  In the event that several local suppliers are worth considering for a given project or programme, the contract between the SDC and the mandated organisation regulates how the allocation of the project funds under management is to take place (e.g. local call to tender). In principle, the same rules apply here as those for the SDC.