A standardized pre-qualifying questionnaire has been unveiled by the government in a move it says will save the construction industry millions.
The Publicly Available Specification (PAS 91) was announced by business minister Mark Prisk who claimed the streamlined system would save firms both time and money.
Estimates by the National Specialist Contractors Council put the cost to the industry and its clients of wasteful prequalification processes at £250 million annually.
PAS91 has been developed by the British Standards Institution in partnership with BIS and will be available as a free download.
Mr Prisk said: “Ensuring that public sector procurement practices are not wasteful has always been important but the current economic climate brings that into even sharper focus. Over the next decade the new PAS 91 could save the construction industry billions of pounds.
“This is a good example of how Government can work with key suppliers to develop an approach which meets the needs of both the public sector clients and the private sector suppliers.”
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association has called for clients to sign up to the proposals.
Ceca national director Rosemary Beales said: “PAS 91 arrives at a crucial moment for an industry that is being pushed to demonstrate greater and greater efficiencies. For many years Ceca has been campaigning to get rid of the huge duplication created by bureaucratic pre-qualification processes. PAS 91 is the key that could unlock hundreds of millions worth of savings that can be reinvested back in real construction, helping to provide the growth needed in the economy.
“It is vital that clients across the industry act now to ensure their pre-qualification questionnaires comply with PAS 91. Having worked with some of the industry’s other leading trade bodies to help develop PAS 91, over the next year we will be campaigning – both nationally and through our regional structure – to ensure that it is used by all of the clients in our sector.”
And the Electrical Contractors’ Association has backed the scheme.
CEO Steve Bratt said: “The ECA fully supports the publication of PAS 91 and we are pleased to see that it is being endorsed across the construction sector,” he said. “It’s important that this significant document is now adopted by the industry or, when more information is required, used as a point of reference. Hopefully this will emphasise assessing contractor’s capabilities over producing red tape, moving the focus towards achieving value rather than creating extra expense and uncertainty.
“For our members PAS 91 will help to provide consistent prequalification questionnaires, saving them having to respond to different questionnaires. Clients will also benefit from a simpler, clearer pre-qualification regime.”
Wright electrical managing director Bill Wright said: “As a contractor who regularly fills out these questionnaires, I fully support the publication of PAS 91 and I am pleased to see that it is gaining wide support across the industry. What matters now is that clients and major contractors adopt, or even when they need more information, build upon this important document. This will help to minimise costly and unnecessary paperwork and place the focus where it should be - on assessing contractor’s capabilities”.
PAS 91 has been developed with direct involvement of the Electrical Contractors Association, the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group, the National Federation of Builders, the Federation of Master Builders and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association who were all on the Steering Group.