Build UK’s easier-to-operate procurement pre-qualification system up and running

Created by Build UK, with the support of CECA, the Common Assessment Standard (CAS) is designed reduce the duplication of time, effort and resources that are costing the sector up to £1bn a year.

Major contractors and clients – including Balfour Beatty, Costain, HS2, Mace, Multiplex and Skanska – have all adopted it meaning that members of their supply chains will need to obtain just one certification to tender for work with them which is reviewed annually. 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.

Vinci Construction UK Supply Chain and Procurement Director Neil Mant, who has Chaired the Interim Cross Industry Body overseeing the new system’s development, said: “The new PQ system is a huge step forward for construction. With a single Common Assessment Standard and data sharing now in place, we have not only eliminated a huge amount of costly duplication of effort but also raised the bar in assessing the competence of the supply chain.

“Supply chain companies will need certification from only one of the three Recognised Assessment Bodies, and contractors can continue to deal with the body they have an existing relationship with.”

CAS 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.

Jo Fautley, Deputy Chief Executive of Build UK, said: “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.”

CAS has been endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which is actively seeking its adoption throughout Government construction procurement, including the Construction Playbook.

Andy Mitchell, Chair of the CLC, said: “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.”