27 September 2007 | Antony Barton
Smaller contractors need to recognise the benefits of construction framework agreements, according to a new report.
Taking Advantage: How SMEs can become successful framework contractors, issued by the Local Government Task Force, explains what local authorities and SMEs should do to increase the involvement of smaller contractors in frameworks. Currently larger contractors are perceived as the main beneficiaries of the agreements.
The report says although data on the use of frameworks is not available, they have introduced more complexities into the procurement process, and these are likely to be keenly felt by smaller contractors with fewer resources.
It says local authorities should determine where SME opportunities will arise between supply chain, specialist and general contracting roles. Market research should be used to assess local interest levels and identify obstacles to participation.
Simplifying processes and management arrangements would reduce burdens on smaller firms, and the provision of training and skills accreditations would give SMEs a further boost.
The report adds SMEs must accept the need to work in frameworks by committing to the culture change and acquiring the necessary skills. Larger contractors could provide training to assist them.