Pre-qualification system allows data sharing and cuts costs

By Dominic Ellis
The new pre‐qualification (PQ) system developed by Build UK is now fully up and running following the introduction of data sharing...

The new pre‐qualification (PQ) system developed by Build UK is now fully up and running following the introduction of data sharing, and its rollout will significantly reduce the duplication of time, effort and resources that is costing the industry up to £1 billion a year. 

Major clients including Balfour Beatty, Costain, HS2, Mace, Multiplex and Skanska have all adopted the Common Assessment Standard, meaning that members of their supply chains will need to obtain just one certification to tender for work with them. 

The implementation of the new data sharing solution enables contractors and clients to obtain key PQ data on their suppliers from any Recognised Assessment Body, regardless of which one carried out the certification to the Common Assessment Standard. This means they will no longer need to specify a particular assessment body for their supply chain. 

The data is updated in ‘real time’, and it will be shown where a company’s certification has lapsed if they have not provided updated information. Data is shared only where a company has provided their consent. 

The Common Assessment Standard is an industry‐agreed question set with two levels of certification, desktop and site‐based, and companies can apply to any one of three Recognised Assessment Bodies to get the appropriate level dependent upon their trade, size and requirements of their clients. 

For companies that employ fewer than 10 employees and have a turnover below £1.8 million or a balance sheet total less than £1.8 million, the assessment standards will be applied in a proportionate way. 

Neil Mant, Chair of the PQ Interim Cross Industry Body, said: "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." 

John Welch, Deputy Director ‐ Construction at Crown Commercial Service, said having one Common Assessment Standard across a diverse industry will help raise levels of competence, support all parties in the procurement of projects and programmes, and create much needed efficiencies.

David Poole, Commercial and Procurement Director for HS2, said the Common Assessment Standard will make it even easier to get on board with the high-speed rail project. "Interested sub-contractors now only need to pre-qualify once when bidding for work with our four main civics contractors," he said.

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