Contractors currently have to answer a different set of questions every time they bid for new government work.
From today, a standard prequalification questionnaire is available as a free download, streamlining this process to save time and money for construction firms.
Estimates by the National Specialist Contractors Council put the cost to the industry and its clients of wasteful prequalification processes at £250m every year.
The Publicly Available Specification (PAS 91) has been developed by the British Standards Institution in partnership with the Department for Business.
Business Minister Mark Prisk said: “Ensuring that public sector procurement practices are not wasteful has always been important but the current economic climate brings that into even sharper focus.
“Over the next decade the new PAS 91 could save the construction industry billions of pounds.
“This is a good example of how Government can work with key suppliers to develop an approach which meets the needs of both the public sector clients and the private sector suppliers.”
Bill Wright, Managing Director of W. Wright Electrical Ltd said: “As a contractor who regularly fills out these questionnaires, I fully support the publication of PAS 91 and I am pleased to see that it is gaining wide support across the industry.
“What matters now is that clients and major contractors adopt, or even when they need more information, build upon this important document. This will help to minimise costly and unnecessary paperwork and place the focus where it should be – on assessing contractor’s capabilities”.
PAS 91 has been developed with direct involvement of the Electrical Contractors Association, the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group, the National Federation of Builders, the Federation of Master Builders and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association who were all on the Steering Group.
CECA National Director Rosemary Beales said: “PAS 91 arrives at a crucial moment for an industry that is being pushed to demonstrate greater and greater efficiencies.
“For many years CECA has been campaigning to get rid of the huge duplication created by bureaucratic pre-qualification processes.
“PAS 91 is the key that could unlock hundreds of millions worth of savings that can be reinvested back in real construction, helping to provide the growth needed in the economy.
“It is vital that clients across the industry act now to ensure their pre-qualification questionnaires comply with PAS 91.
“Having worked with some of the industry’s other leading trade bodies to help develop PAS 91, over the next year we will be campaigning – both nationally and through our regional structure – to ensure that it is used by all of the clients in our sector.”
The Publically Available Specification (PAS 91) is now available as a free download on the BIS and BSI websites here: http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/business-sectors/construction/specification