New standardised pre-qualification system for HS2 subcontractors

Four of HS2’s biggest contractors will introduce a standardized pre-qualification (PQ) system for subcontractors in a bid to streamline the process, reduce costs and boost productivity.

Align (Bouygues Travaux Publics, VolkerFitzpatrick and Sir Robert McAlpine), BBV (Balfour Beatty Vinci), EK (Eiffage Kier) and SCS Railways (Skanska Costain Strabag) have jointly developed a new Common Assessment Standard to ensure that bidders will go through identical pre-qualification processes.

Developed as part of HS2’s ‘Collaboration Hub’ initiative, which enables HS2’s main works civils contractors (MWCCs) to work together to find common approaches and initiatives that will ensure consistency across the HS2 programme, 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.

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.

The new assessment standard was introduced as, according to research, it is estimated that suppliers in the construction industry are currently spending up to £1 billion per year on tendering for work. This new system will help avoid duplication and cut costs.

Andy Cross, HS2.

Build UK, CECA, and HSRIL joined forces two years ago to deliver the new PQ system and have just launched its first phase. HS2’s contractors will be the pioneers of the new system, implementing it at scale through the future HS2 supply chain.

HS2 procurement director Andy Cross said: “Building Britain’s new high-speed railway provides a significant opportunity for the construction industry to innovate and work together, to leave lasting improvements on the sector as a whole.

“By adopting new approaches, such as the Common Assessment Standard, we can potentially transform the way in which the industry works, and procures goods and services.”

Isabel Coman
Costain, HSRIL and SCS Railways.

HSRIL director Isabel Coman, who is project director for SCS Railways, added: “HSRIL, in partnership with Build UK and the Civil engineering Contractors Association, are proud to deliver this much needed PQQ, which will significantly increase productivity in the construction industry.

“All of the MWCC’s Tier 1 contractors are backing the new standard, which will also create equal opportunity to assessment bodies, creating competition in in the marketplace and better value for all involved.”

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