Purchasers split on whether to simplify PQQs

28 September 2011

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28 September 2011 | Angeline Albert

Fewer than half of buyers have plans to improve pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs), despite recent criticism that they are too lengthy.

Willie Watt, a partner at architects Nicoll Russell, recently said PQQs in the construction industry should be limited to 12 questions. He’s not the first to criticise form filling required at the start of the procurement process and call for simplification, particularly to help smaller suppliers access deals.

The SM100 poll question this month asked buyers if their organisation is looking to improve its PQQ process. While 57 per cent said it was not on their organisation’s horizon, 43 per cent said changes were taking place.

Helen Baker, head of procurement at the University of the West of England, said: “If you have 70 architects responding to a PQQ, then 12 questions would be insufficient to get all of the information you need to get to a sensible number of suppliers to tender.”

And Tony Hall, head of Welland Procurement said shorter PQQs may lengthen the overall process as purchasers sought to get the information they need at a later stage. “If the industry wants shorter PQQs, they must realise that will mean having to go to the expense of producing an increased number of tender submissions and extended lead times.”

Many buyers said PQQs should be continually reviewed and they had already revised theirs in line with the UK government’s standard Publicly Available Specification (PAS 91) for construction.

Stuart Crawley, group head of procurement at the Sanctuary Group said the length of a PQQ depends on need. He said: “It’s those that churn out the same PQQs regardless that are tarring the rest of the profession with a poor image.”

Martin Wakelin, purchasing director at Global Elastomers, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions said: “We've recently been through a simplification process because an over-complicated pre-bid questionnaire was seen as both difficult to use by buyers and a barrier to entry by some suppliers. Without customisation you could over-simplify a tender and risk not comparing suppliers on a level playing field.”

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