The list of 12 is headed by big-name contractors including Kier, Amec, Mowlem, Laing and Skanska. It also includes Costain, HBG Construction, Interserve Project Services, Medicor (Pearce Health), Morgan Sindall, Norwest Holst and Wates Construction.
Carillion and Taylor Woodrow declined to enter into the pilots' bidding process, which has been criticised for being too long-winded.
The two pilot schemes, in north-west England and the West Midlands, cover contracts worth £1-20m to be carried out by five framework contractors in each region.
The selection process to whittle down the list will begin next month and a final announcement is expected in April. The shortlisted candidates will be judged on design quality and their record on partnering and the inspection process will include site visits and interviews.
The programme was formally launched in April last year and is set out in the government document Sold on Health.
Procure 21 aims to improve the performance of public sector clients in their dealings with construction contractors.