HS2’s main works civils contractors have collaborated to introduce a new system for assessing tenders, designed to increase efficiency and reduce costs in the supply chain
Four of HS2 Ltd’s biggest civils contractors will introduce a standardised pre-qualification (PQ) system for subcontractors in a bid to streamline the process, reduce costs and boost productivity.
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 civils 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.
It is estimated that suppliers in the construction industry are currently spending up to £1bn per year on tendering for work. This new system aims to avoid duplication and cut costs.
Build UK, CECA, and HSRIL joined forces two years ago to deliver the new PQ system and have recently launched its first phase.
HS2’s contractors will implement the initiative through the future HS2 supply chain.
Benefits of the new Common Assessment Standard
The Common Assessment Standard for PQ’s will mean suppliers have a choice in assurance provider. This will create market competition and reduce the costs associated with infrastructure procurement.
It also 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.
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.
Andy Cross, procurement director at HS2 Ltd, 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.”
Jo Fautley, deputy chief executive of Build UK, added: “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 system, a supplier will be able to take the accreditation to any sector of the construction industry, beyond the rail sector.