Setting the PQQ standard in construction

Philip Prince13 December 2013 | Philip Prince

Given the increased pressure on procurement departments to reduce cost, making time-consuming administration more efficient can be the key to release much needed resources.

PAS91 is a free, standard specification for the pre-qualification of construction suppliers, setting out the content, format and use of questions. It was designed to make the pre-qualification process easier for contractors and create more opportunities for SMEs by lowering the barriers to entry. By relieving them of the onerous task of completing a different pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) for each tender it creates a larger pool of potential contractors for buyers to work with.

With a view to driving uptake among a wider audience of construction service buyers, the government launched an update to the PQQ earlier this year - PAS91:2013. This now includes both general stage one assessment and the ability to include project specific, stage-two questions. It is mandated for use in central government and is a common minimum standard for construction procurement.

Encouragingly, awareness of the PQQ has already increased since the update in April. In our recent survey of buyers, half said they’re now familiar of the standard and 44 per cent stated they became aware of it in the last six months since its relaunch. This awareness is now turning into wider adoption as buyers become more comfortable with the PQQ, using it to replace their own questionnaires.

Traditional methods of pre-qualifying and monitoring construction firms can cost up to £300 per supplier, once chasing, updating and assessing PQQs is taken into account.

A significant proportion of PAS 91 adopters are also clear on the reasons why they use it. Rather than feeling forced to do so, 46 per cent of those who assess contractors through PAS91 say they do so because they recognise it to be best practice and a further 43 per cent use it to ease the burden on suppliers.

To reap the greatest rewards, the construction industry and its clients need to get behind PAS91 and ensure that everyone understands how it can benefit their organisation. Almost half of those surveyed said they would consider using PAS91 if they understood it better, which is why Constructionline is driving the education campaign to increase awareness among buyers and suppliers.

Philip Prince is sales and marketing director at Constructionline

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