Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Standard to cut prequal red tape still months away

A government plan to save contractors thousands of pounds in admin expenses by overhauling the Prequalification Questionnaire (PQQ) system is still a year away from completion.

CJ revealed earlier this year that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills was attempting to develop a publicly accepted standard (PAS) for common questions, which aims to ensure that contractors need only belong to one body in order to prequalify in the most common PQQ questions.

David Turner, deputy director of the construction sector unit at the department, said that the process of developing the PAS was taking longer for construction than other sectors.

The PAS is now set to be published in summer 2010, with a review panel to open the standard out to wider consultation starting at the end of this year.


Standard to cut prequal red tape still months away


It was originally intended that the process to develop the standard, which started in May this year, would take six to eight months to complete.

Turner said that it is intended to cut red tape and "just let people get on with construction, which is what they are in business for".

Turner was speaking at the official launch of the Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) programme, which aims cut down on the bureaucracy involved in the prequalification process by creating mutual recognition between health and safety prequalification schemes.

Paul Reeve, health and safety and environment advisor to the Electrical Contractors Association, welcomed the introduction of SSIP. He said: "The proliferation of safety pre-qualification schemes and questions is a huge problem for suppliers, in terms of staff time and cost. It can also distract buyers and suppliers from what is most important: practical measures to ensure health and safety on site."

Speaking at the event, Gerry Mulhollan, HSE leader at Laing O'Rourke Technologies, warned that SSIP needed the support of clients, who often want contractors to fill in their own health and safety questionnaires when tendering for contracts, in order for it to work.

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