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    NEW PRE-QUAL SYSTEM LAUNCHED BY MAJOR PLAYERS

    Build UK and CECA publish common PQ assessment standard

    Build UK and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) have announced the launch of the first phase of a new pre-qualification (PQ) system designed to “reduce inefficiencies that are costing the construction industry up to £1 billion a year”.

    The industry bodies believe that the existing PQ system is complex and repetitive and a major barrier to improved productivity. The multitude of schemes currently in operation sees around 180,000 specialist contractors producing over two million pieces of paper every year for 5,000 contractors.

    Greater consistency and efficiency

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

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

    • Common Standard – 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; and
    • Assessment Bodies – 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 experts from organisations across the sector, including public and private sector clients, contractors and trade associations.

    Reducing bureaucracy in procurement process

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

    Jo Fautley, Deputy Chief Executive of Build UK, said:

    “The construction industry is making great strides towards more collaborative working and this new PQ system has been developed by industry, for industry, based on standards that clients, contractors and the supply chain have all agreed on.”

    Marie-Claude Hemming, Director of External Affairs at CECA, said:

    “CECA has long advocated an industry standard approach to PQ and the new system which builds on PAS 91 will simplify the process and reduce duplication and cost. Change takes time and there will be a transition period, but this marks the start of the rollout of the new system which we anticipate will play a key role in the future delivery of world-class infrastructure.”

    Ann Bentley, Chair of the Construction Leadership Council Business Model Workstream, said:

    “The Construction Leadership Council welcomes and supports the proposed reform of the current PQ process – it is a real and practical way of reducing bureaucracy and improving quality in the procurement process. The CLC will be encouraging adoption of the revised standard throughout Government construction procurement.”

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