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Certified Safe: Is There Value In The Prequalification of Contractors?

Certified Safe: Is There Value In The Prequalification of Contractors?

Prequalification for contractors used to be a rarity — reserved only for the most complex projects and contract jobs. And it was uncommon to find them out of major branded or public sector work. Now, prequalifications are accepted as the normality of operating in the construction industry.

But why is that?

As expert providers of prequalifications and accreditations, there is nobody better to answer this question than CHAS. Let’s explore prequalifications, why they exist, and the value they offer both contractors and clients. 

What Are Prequalifications For Contractors?

Prequalification for contractors are assessments performed by third-party organisations to determine whether or not a contractor meets certain criteria required to work on a construction project. These assessments often pertain to health and safety but can branch out to a number of other compliance and risk assessment areas, including anti-corruption, rights to work and equality in the workplace. 

By passing prequalification assessments, a contractor business can show they are aligned with client compliance demands and are ready to put forward bids for construction projects. 

What Is The Purpose Of Prequalification?

Prequalification is a barrier to entry that governs eligibility for a client project. 

When a contract goes to tender, it may be available to hundreds of contractors. To ensure that only the best and most suitable candidates can put forward a contract bid or proposal, a client may use a prequalification.

Without first obtaining the prequalification, a contractor service cannot bid on the project tender. The purpose is to safeguard a client against risk and reduce their administrative load. Clients don’t have to check and regulate the compliance practice of bidders against the regulatory standards required for their project because the prequalification does that for them. 

It’s all about automating quality control. Clients have to comply with their own industry regulations and standards, and part of that is making sure their supply chain and strategic partners are not putting their projects at risk of non-compliance. Prequalification makes it easier for clients to make decisions, save time and money, and manage their supply chain compliance requirements. 

For contractors, the purpose of obtaining prequalification is to ensure eligibility for work. It demonstrates your ability to support client compliance goals rather than putting them at risk. 

What Is The Prequalification Process?

You will be sent to a regulatory assessor to file your prequalification. CHAS is an example of an assessor. Through us, you will run the entire prequalification process, from initial setup to final approval. 

This is usually carried out online and can be completed in under two weeks.

The prequalification process begins with a questionnaire submission. Depending on the type of prequalification and the level of detail required, your contractor business will be asked a series of relevant questions, which can range from outlining your working practices to providing your business address and contact details. You may be asked to provide supportive evidence to back up claims. For example, if you claim to have certification or a specific business license, you may need to present copies of documentation or reference numbers. 

Once you have finished your prequalification questionnaire, it will be submitted for independent review by the CHAS team. If the submission is satisfactory, we will award you with CHAS accreditation, and you will have obtained the prequalification you need. If your submission requires amendments, we will work with you and provide feedback, helping you make the necessary changes to secure prequalification. 

Upon prequalifying, you will receive your certification, which will allow you to place your tender bid on projects that require contractor prequalification. Prequalifying with CHAS also means you can add your business to our accreditation database. Thousands of construction clients can view your contractor profile through this database and reach out to you about jobs.

CHAS offer a fast track prequalification service for contractors that need rapid turnaround on accreditation for jobs. Eager to make a tender bid on an urgent project but can’t until you prequalify? CHAS can help. 

Why Should Contractors Prequalify?

Prequalification can be essential for obtaining work as a contractor. If you don’t work to achieve appropriate prequalifications, you won’t be eligible for many construction contracts. Not every construction contract will require prequalification, so you can opt not to follow the process, but in doing so, you will close yourself off from a bounty of project opportunities. 

Prequalifications help clients make the best choices and find the best contractors for their work. Following the criteria set out by a client is good practice and helps you build stronger partner relationships. By impressing clients now through prequalifications, you may unlock new work opportunities further down the line. Prequalifications for contractors aren’t just an investment in accessing work in the short term but can also be a springboard for developing contact networks and securing jobs for long-term growth. 

Is Prequalification Worth The Time And Effort?

Short answer? Yes. Long answer, the time and effort required for prequalification depends on the type of certification you need. 

For instance, if your business needs a health & safety assessment at the basic level, the prequalification process should be relatively quick. However, aiming to gain other types of accreditation, such as environmental certification or anti-bribery and corruption compliance certification, involve a more complex process.

This is a major problem in the construction industry, where many projects or contracts require different multiple prequalifications. The result is that for the 180,000 contractor businesses operating in the UK construction industry, there are an average of 11 prequalifications questionnaires submitted every year. 

That’s more than 2 million prequalification assessments. Worse, many of these assessments cover the same information. This duplication problem happens because construction projects require different prequalifications from different assessors. 

Fortunately, things are changing with the advent of the Common Assessment Standard

How The Common Assessment Standard Supports Better Prequalification For Contractors

The Common Assessment Standard was devised and designed to address the fragmented prequalification practices plaguing the construction industry. Launched in partnership with BuildUK following consultations and input from clients and contractors across the industry, the Common Assessment Standard solves the biggest problem with prequalifications — the amount of time invested in acquiring them.

The Common Assessment Standard is a single prequalification covering 12 essential areas of information governance procedure, risk assessment and regulatory compliance. Together, they help a construction contractor comply with any requirements for work a client may have. The result is that clients have no need to use other prequalifications to secure the contractors they need for their supply chain, and so the Common Assessment Standard becomes a universally accepted form of prequalification for contracts that helps them get involved in any construction project. 

With the Common Assessment Standard, there is no need to file 11 different prequalifications per year. Now, only one is required. The Common Assessment Standard is already favoured by many major construction projects and brands across the UK, including HS2, Multiplex, Costain and more.

For contractors, the message is simple. 

If you acquire Common Assessment Standard accreditation, you’ll prequalify for thousands of jobs with some of the biggest brands in the industry, all while reducing your expenses by dramatically cutting down on the time you invest on prequalification questionnaires. 

Find more work and cut costs at the same time with CHAS. We’re the UK’s leading provider of the Common Assessment Standard. Work with us to secure your prequalification for contractors and secure new construction jobs.

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