The National Federation of Builders is optimistic the latest incarnation of PAS 91 will enjoy a wider take-up than much criticised previous versions.
Paul Bogle, policy manager at the trade association, said: “The new version will be mandatory for central government and while that is not the case for local authorities we’re optimistic the new version will gain wider acceptance among local authorities too.”
Last year an NFB survey of eight local authorities found that none had adopted PAS 91 2010, and only three were aware of its existence.
But Bogle had found evidence of “an increased awareness” among local authorities of the new version.
He said: “We’ve already had discussions with some local authorities who will use the new version and, overall, the response from local authorities has been positive. As an industry we want to see PAS 91 2013 work so we will continue to talk with local authorities to make that happen. It is likely to be a long process, but it is one that will benefit both contractors and clients.”
The revised PAS 91, which was published this month, has been updated to ask basic questions about an organisation’s understanding, capability and willingness in BIM to reflect how the technology has grown in importance in the last two years.
It will also be free to download – the previous version cost £49.
SMEs consistently complain about the cost of filling in multiple prequalification questionnaires and have been sceptical that clients will adopt the new standard.
Pre-qualification organisation Constructionline was a member of the steering group set up by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and has already adopted PAS 91 2013.
Director Philip Prince said: “The government has recommended use of PAS91 in the Government Construction Strategy and Common Minimum Standards for construction procurement – with the question set already mandated for central government departments. The latest Government Construction Strategy update also recommends that the entire supply chain adopts the new question set.”
Philip Prince continued: “Simplifying the pre-qualification process is the very essence of what Constructionline stands for, which is why we have adopted the new version of PAS 91 as the basis of our own pre-qualification questionnaire. This means the 2,500 buyers already using Constructionline to source pre-qualified suppliers are well on their way to becoming PAS91 compliant and new suppliers are now able to use their pre-prepared PAS91 answers to join the scheme.”
“What matters now is that the whole industry works collaboratively to promote the importance of PAS91 and encourages wider adoption among buyers. This will open up more opportunities to SMEs and help ensure the construction industry remains buoyant during these difficult economic times.”
Last month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its proposal to create a simpler pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) to boost SME access to contracts could replace PAS 91.
The plan for a new industry standard PQQ, to be drafted with the support of the Construction Industry Council, was one of the key recommendations in RICS’ recently published Construction Policy.