It’s just been announced that three more major contractors have joined the list of buyers who specify the prequalification Common Assessment Standard (CAS). Bouygues UK, VolkerWessels UK and Wates join industry names such as Balfour Beatty, Mace and Costain - along with the HS2 joint venture partners- who now specify the CAS, with further buyers expected to join the list in the months ahead.
This growing list means that achieving the Common Assessment Standard is now a vital requirement for many businesses in the engineering services sector.
The CAS enables buyers to enquire about a supplier’s business, along with other important issues such as H,S&E, quality, equality and CSR through a ‘desktop’ assessment or if necessary, a site assessment at the supplier’s offices. Suppliers can obtain certification to the CAS from any one of three Recognised Assessment Bodies, (Achilles BC, Constructionline and CHAS) to tender for work with these leading buyers.
Excessive buyer PQQs have long been a problem for suppliers due to the unnecessary cost and effort of filling in and getting certification to multiple PQQs. In addition, chasing certification badges detracts from the business of ensuring, and delivering, supply chain capability and reducing risk. These issues are best handled by more bespoke dialogue between a buyer and its prequalified suppliers.
With this in mind, Build UK, with the active support of ECA and others across the industry, designed the CAS to reduce PQQ cost and duplication for both buyers and suppliers. Recently introduced ‘supplier data sharing’ has widened the scope for specification by allowing buyers to obtain prequalification data about suppliers from any Recognised Assessment Body, regardless of who carries out the supplier’s assessment. Significantly, data sharing also means many suppliers now have commercial choice about who carries out their assessment.
In addition to helping with the further development of the CAS, ECA’s CSR team provides Members with professional advice and website guidance, via ECA’s comprehensive ‘CAS manual’, on how to engage successfully with the Common Assessment Standard questions.
For a full list of organisations that specify the Common Assessment Standard, go to: https://builduk.org/priorities/increasing-productivity/pre-qualification/
Paul Reeve is ECA Director of CSR and Vice Chair of Build UK’s CAS industry group.