Move should drive down costs for contractor prequalification

A new forum has been set up to encourage mutual recognition of health and safety competence schemes for contractors.

The Safety Schemes in Procurement Competence Forum (SSIP Forum) aims to drive up health and safety standards while driving down the costs of prequalification through “deemed to satisfy” measures.

The forum aims to avoid the duplication of effort that results in contractors having to fill in assessments from a number of different safety scheme operators.

The founder members of the SSIP Forum are: Constructionline; the Contractors’ Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS); ExOr Management Services ; and the National House-Builders Council Safety Scheme.

The forum will encourage pre-qualification assessment providers to maximise mutual recognition between their schemes. In addition, all SSIP Forum members will be independently audited to provide assurance that member assessments are conducted to the necessary standard and quality.

The Forum is supported by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the government’s health and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Announcing the launch of the SSIP Forum, chair John Murphy, said: “We aim to improve the pre-qualification arrangements significantly by increasing the mutual recognition of schemes and by providing widely recognised and reliable pre-qualification.”

SSIP Forum members have embraced the ‘core criteria’ described in the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) to the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM 2007).

The Forum is also actively supported by the Construction Clients’ Group (CCG), the Construction Industry Council, the HSE, the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group (SEC), the National Specialist Contractors Council and the UK Contractors Group.