The new prison is expected to cost between £50m and £100m and will replace prisons at Peterhead and Aberdeen.
For the first time the new prison will have cells for women and young offenders as well as male inmates.
The new prison will be built on a site next to the present Peterhead prison, although the Scottish Prison Service still needs to get planning for the project, which will be let as a design and build contract.
Interested firms have until 21 February to prequalify for the bidding proces which is expected to get underway in June.
Further details are available from Bronwyn Bainbridge at the Scottish Prison Service (Tel: 01312448655) or at http://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/Search/show/Search_View.aspx?ID=JAN086615
The invitation to bid is part of the Scottish Prison Service’s ongoing modernisation programme.
Last month Laing O’Rourke picked up a £30m contract to complete the second phase of Shotts prison in Lanarckshire.
A site has also now been identified for HMP Inverclyde, which will replace HMP Greenock.
SPS is designing these facilities to deliver operational efficiencies with reduced carbon emissions.