Amec has followed the lead set by major clients and launched a scheme to form partnering arrangements with key suppliers and subcontractors.

Amec hopes the “strategic partners” initiative will improve efficiency and lead to cost savings. It plans to achieve these by developing new ways of working with a select group of materials and services suppliers through long-term partnering agreements.

Contractors and materials suppliers will have to meet standards set by Amec in cost reduction, health and safety, training and innovation to qualify for partnering work.

In addition, successful participants will be expected to show “continuous measurable improvement” in working practices.

Amec intends to ask specialists and suppliers to prequalify as “strategic partners” over the course of the summer before compiling a final list of successful applicants by early autumn.

Group executive director Malcolm Eckersall said: “We’re looking to protect profit through our supply chain by taking out the risk on risk that exists in the industry.” He added: “The real test of partnering is to treat our supply chain as we expect to be treated by clients.”