Major UK contractors agree pre-qualification standard

By Leila Steed15 April 2021

Contractors and clients in the UK including Balfour Beatty, Costain, HS2, Mace, Multiplex and Skanska have adopted a standard pre-qualification system for sub-contractors and suppliers.

The Common Assessment Standard means that their supply chains will need a single certification to work with them and reduce duplication of effort that is costing the sector up to £1 billion a year.

Build UK generic construction site

Created by contractors’ organisation Build UK with the support of CECA (Civil Engineering Contractors Association), the new standard is endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which is seeking its adoption throughout Government construction procurement.

The standard is an industry-agreed set of questions with two levels of certification, desktop and site-based. Companies can apply to any recognised assessment body to get the appropriate level dependent on their trade, size and the requirements of their clients.

Jo Fautley, Deputy Chief Executive of Build UK, said; “We’re delighted that the new system is now fully up and running and already being used by major contractors and clients.

“It’s been a collaborative effort, involving companies across the whole sector, and the new system is a huge step towards more efficient working, which is more important than ever in the current challenging economic climate.”

Neil Mant, Chair of the Interim Cross Industry Body, which has overseen the development of the new system, said: “The new PQ [pre-qualification] system is a huge step forward for construction.

“With a single Common Assessment Standard and data sharing now in place, we have not only eliminated a huge amount of costly duplication of effort but also raised the bar in assessing the competence of the supply chain.

“Supply chain companies will need certification from only one of the three Recognised Assessment Bodies, and contractors can continue to deal with the body they have an existing relationship with.”

Andy Mitchell, Chair of the CLC, said the standard was set to transform the pre-qualification process; “It is a real and practical way of reducing bureaucracy and improving quality in the industry and it comes at just the right time.

“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.”

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