News - Construction News

Streamlined infrastructure procurement

HS2 has launched a pioneering new system of procurement designed to streamline the process for civil sub-contractors.

The new system is the result of a collaboration between the four Main Works Civils Contractors, to develop a standardized pre-qualification (PQ) system for subcontractors, to assess tenders which will increase efficiency and reduce costs for the supply chain.

The new Common Assessment Standard will ensure that bidders looking for work with the high speed rail company’s four main civils contractors – Align, BBV, EK and SCS Railways – will go through identical pre-qualification processes.

Developed as part of HS2’s ‘Collaboration Hub’ initiative, the contractors worked with two of the sector’s biggest representative organisations, Build UK and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), and through industry body, High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group (HSRIL), to agree the new system.

According to research, it is estimated that suppliers in the construction industry are currently spending up to £1Bn per year on tendering for work. This new system will help avoid duplication and cut costs. The Common Assessment Standard for PQ’s will mean suppliers have a choice in assurance provider creating market competition and reducing the costs associated with infrastructure procurement. It ensures that all suppliers meet a high-quality standard, essential for HS2 to deliver a safe and quality supply chain.

HS2’s Collaboration Hub enables HS2’s Main Works Civils Contractors to work together to find common approaches and initiatives that will ensure consistency across the HS2 programme, and that the best procurement decisions are made for the project. HS2 will represent approximately 11% of UK infrastructure spend over the next decade and will be the largest individual client in the sector. The approaches taken to procurement on the project will not only have an impact on HS2 but the wider construction sector.

Jo Fautley, Deputy Chief Executive, Build UK said: “The construction industry is making great strides towards more collaborative working and the Common Assessment Standard has been developed by industry, for industry, based on standards that clients, contractors and the supply chain have all agreed on. The adoption of the Common Assessment Standard by leading clients such as HS2 will help to improve efficiency and reduce duplication and cost, supporting the future delivery of world-class infrastructure.

“Under the new trailblazing system, a supplier will be able to take the accreditation to any sector of the construction industry, beyond the rail sector. Not only will this reduce the costly, complex and repetitive burden the current procurement approach takes, but could improve standards across the board in the sector.”

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