A new industry-wide pre-qualification (PQ) system is now fully up and running, simplifying a complex system for the benefit of everyone in the construction sector. The rollout of the Common Assessment Standard will significantly reduce the duplication of time, effort and resources that are costing the sector up to £1 billion a year.
Major contractors and 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. This follows the recent implementation of a new data sharing solution, which enables contractors and clients to obtain key PQ data from any one of three Recognised Assessment Bodies: Achilles, CHAS or Constructionline.
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 Recognised Assessment Body to get the appropriate level dependent upon their trade, size and requirements of their clients.
Created by Build UK, of which ECA is a key member, with the support of CECA, the Common Assessment Standard is endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which is actively seeking its adoption throughout Government construction procurement, including the Construction Playbook.
Paul Reeve, CSR Director of ECA and deputy chair of the Cross-Industry Body, says: “We welcome the introduction of data sharing to the Common Assessment Standard. Data sharing paves the way for increased specification by main contractors and other buyers and offers suppliers more choice about who carries out their prequalification assessment. It will also help to deliver the savings and efficiencies that the supply chain has long been looking for, by reducing the need for multiple PQ questionnaires and schemes.”
Jo Fautley, Deputy Chief Executive of Build UK, comments: “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.”
Andy Mitchell, Chair of the CLC, says: “The CLC is delighted to endorse the Common Assessment Standard which is set to transform the construction PQ 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. The CLC will be encouraging the adoption of the Common Assessment Standard throughout public and private sector procurement.”