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18 March 2013 | Adam Leach
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has pledged to work with the construction industry to develop a new and simpler pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) to boost SME access to contracts.
The call for simplification is one of the central recommendations in the body’s Construction Policy, published last week, which recommended a series of steps to increase the participation of small businesses in the sector.
It also recommended the industry, assisted by the Government Procurement Service, create a single portal for SMEs to register their accreditation and references and for the construction industry, beyond those in the FTSE 350, to support the prompt payment code.
Jeremy Blackburn, head of UK policy at RICS, said: “SMEs account for a significant proportion of the construction sector and 50 per cent of RICS members. If we can support these businesses to thrive rather than just survive it will provide a strong foundation for the industry now and for the future. Quite simply, SMEs are the building blocks of recovery.”
The policy also made a number of recommendations for government action. It urged it to increase visibility of public construction ‘pipelines' so they reach more SMEs and to mandate the use of the standard PQQ across the public sector.
RICS also announced that it intends to work with CIPS to produce procurement guidance for all staff buying construction in the public and private sector, covering the complexities of the sector.