Streamlining the process of pre-qualifying for bidding could save the construction industry half a billion pounds annually, Constructionline has claimed.
Constructionline, a public private partnership between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Capita Business Services, says the number of procurement bodies and suppliers signing up to its database of pre-qualified contractors and consultants has seen a large increase this year.
The number of clients signing up to the service, which aims to eradicate duplication and cut down administration costs of the pre-qualification process, has increased 70 per cent in the third quarter of the year.
Public sector bodies including South Tyneside Council and the London Borough of Haringey are among those that have signed up to the register to reduce the time and cost spent assessing pre-qualification questionnaires and keeping supplier information up to date.
The number of suppliers signing up has also increased - by 21 per cent over the period.
Registered suppliers have all their PQQ answers kept on a database so they do not have to keep answering the same questions for different jobs.
Constructionline director Philip Prince said the increase in registrations was due to increased pressure on public sector bodies to cut costs, and downward moving tender prices. “We are seeing an increase from local authorities, housing associations, the NHS, trusts, as well as from the private sector,” he said.
“It costs about £200 to fill out a questionnaire in terms of time and administration, so cutting back the number of times and reducing the duplication and administration will save the construction industry around half a billion pounds a year.”
About 50 per cent of the suppliers registered with Constructionline have turnovers of less than £1 million.
Paul Reeve, head of safety and environment at the Electrical Contractors’ Association, helped developed PAS 91, the government’s standardised pre-qualification questionnaire. He said that any moves to help reduce the complexity of the procurement process and standardise questionnaires were good news.
He added: “Constructionline offers something to small businesses. These are difficult times and people are doing everything they can to improve things.”