New Pre-Qualification System Introduced to Save Construction £1bn a Year

A NEW PRE-QUALIFICATION system has been launched by Build UK and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) designed to save construction industry up to £1 billion a year.

The existing pre-qualification (PQ) system is complex and repetitive and thought to be a major barrier to improved productivity. Currently, around 180,000 specialist contractors produce over two million pieces of paper every year for 5,000 contractors.

The new system will ultimately allow for greater consistency and efficiency in how companies become pre-qualified for work at the first stage, says Build UK.

The roll-out of this first phase of the new system includes:

  • Publication of the Common Assessment Standard used to pre-qualify companies. Based on existing PQ questionnaires, including BSI’s PAS 91, this covers 10 key areas and includes desktop and site-based assessment standards.
  • Confirmation of the first recognised assessment bodies to certify companies against the Common Assessment Standard. These organisations are Achilles, CHAS and Constructionline.

The system is being overseen by an Interim Cross Industry Body consisting of public and private sector clients, contractors and trade associations.

Once the new system is fully up and running, companies will not have to be certified by more than one recognised assessment body.

Data sharing
A data sharing arrangement is being developed which will allow contractors to obtain PQ information from any one of the recognised assessment bodies. Contractors will be transitioning to the new system over the coming months.

Ann Bentley, Chair of the Construction Leadership Council Business Model Workstream, said: “The proposed reform of the current PQ process is a real and practical way of reducing bureaucracy and improving quality in the procurement process. Companies will be able to demonstrate that they meet an agreed industry standard and clients and contractors will be able to rely on the certification. The CLC will be encouraging adoption of the revised standard throughout Government construction procurement.”

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