Industry leaders north of the border are now calling for radical reforms after a survey found each pre-qualification questionnaire completed has only a one-in-36 chance of winning work
The Scottish Building Federation has attacked the current system as a ‘lottery’.
Its latest Scottish Construction Monitor found an average of more than three out of every four pre-qualification questionnaires completed by construction firms for public tenders failed to secure them a place on the tender shortlist.
Even when shortlisted, an average of seven out of every eight tender submissions was unsuccessful.
Federation Chief Executive Michael Levack said: “This latest survey shows what a lottery the current public procurement process has become.
“I’ve heard employers representing businesses of all sizes argue they would have better odds of generating revenue by placing bets at the roulette wheel than tendering for public contracts.
“The root and branch reform of construction procurement the Scottish Government has promised is clearly long overdue.
“It’s particularly concerning that so many SMEs in the industry are avoiding public procurement altogether because they find the costs so prohibitively high.
“Scottish ministers have set great store by their commitment to give SMEs greater access to the public procurement market.
“This survey demonstrates the urgent need to tackle sky high procurement costs if more smaller construction firms are to be persuaded of the benefits of tendering for public contracts.
“I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has finally launched a public consultation on its proposed Procurement Reform Bill.
“But we already know that the current procurement system is broken and the measures needed to fix it.
“With the industry now facing a second recession in the space of four years and confidence continuing to slide, Scottish Ministers need to act immediately to streamline the procurement process and provide fairer and more cost-effective access to publicly funded building contracts for firms of all sizes.”