ECA welcomes standardised pre-qualification approach

The Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) has welcomed the new Common Prequalification Assessment Standard (CAS).

The Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) has welcomed the new Common Prequalification Assessment Standard (CAS), which has been created by industry representatives brought together by Build UK and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA).

ECA’s director of CSR Paul Reeve, and deputy chairman of the steering group that drew up the CAS, says: “The CAS aims to standardise supplier pre-qualification questions (PQQs), cutting out the wasted time and cost of multiple prequalification questionnaires. It’s the answer to a very long-standing and expensive problem in construction and beyond, and so we actively support the CAS and encourage buyers and suppliers to engage with it.”

The CAS contains a raft of agreed PQQs that include financial, health and safety, environmental, quality and other topics. During 2019, assessment bodies such as CHAS, Constructionline and Achilles, along with others, who may include trade associations, will be using the CAS to assess contractors’ general capabilities.

Once assessed, suppliers should increasingly find that the CAS is recognised as the industry PQQ standard for construction, and related activity such as maintenance. Furthermore, when data sharing arrangements are in place, suppliers should not need CAS certification from more than one assessment body.

Reeve adds: “We expect the CAS to be of increasing benefit to both buyers and suppliers, and notably members of trade associations, where suppliers may find it easier to complete the CAS question set.”

Currently, industry pre-qualification is dominated by health and safety-related questions, and many buyers and suppliers engage with commercial assessment schemes which operate under the umbrella of Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP). Usefully, the health and safety questions in the CAS are closely aligned with the questions asked by SSIP assessment schemes, which will also help to reduce suppliers’ and buyers’ costs, with less duplication and wasted effort.

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