Consultants' and contractors’ costs for pre-qualification on a project could be reduced following the launch of a new industry body.

The Safety Schemes in Procurement Competence Forum has been set up to promote the mutual recognition of pre-qualification assessment schemes. The pre-qualification schemes demonstrate health and safety competence.

All the SSIP Forum’s schemes meet the general requirements of the Stage 1 assessment of the Construction Design and Management (CDM) regulations. This leaves clients free to concentrate on the project specific requirements of CDM Stage 2.

SSIP forum chair John Murphy said: “By tackling the cost and uncertainty surrounding pre-qualification we can encourage more suppliers, including SME’s to take part. This will widen market opportunities for SMEs and give more choice for clients”.

The scheme is recognised by various government departments along with the Health and Safety Executive, the Construction Client’s Group, the Construction Industry Council, Specialist Engineering Contractor’s Group and the UK Contractor’s Group.