Retailer follows lead of government ministries and J Sainsbury and opts for single point of responsibility.
Retailer Boots is to follow the lead of J Sainsbury, the UK's biggest commercial client, and use prime contracting as its preferred procurement method.

Boots, which spends £150m a year on construction, told Building that it would drop its system of preferred lists and replace it with long-term, single-point framework agreements with up to five main contractors.

  A Boots spokesperson said it would no longer specify which designers or subcontractors should be used on construction sites. Instead, the main contractor would be responsible for the supply chain.

Colin Moore, director of construction at Boots Properties, said: "We will be looking for the main contractor to run the supply chain.

"It means that it will be in the contractor's interest to choose subcontractors that can add value."

Moore said contractors would be chosen using key performance indicators developed by Boots in consultation with contractors it had used before. The KPIs will include safety and a capacity to reduce time on site. Boots aims to choose the contractors by September.

Moore said: "We will be looking for contractors that want to drive down the number of defects.

"That includes latent defects, the ones that don't appear until a few years later."

Moore said that in the past he had been let down by designers and contractors. He said: "I prefer design-and-build contracts. Then you are dealing with just one organisation, one that has both sets of skills."

Boots has a close relationship with Wates Construction and contractor Styles & Wood and said it was pleased with their performances.

The decision comes as the company is about to launch a plan to refurbish up to 65 stores to include beautician centres, which will offer a designer range of beauty products. Boots is investing £15m in eight pilot stores and the programme will go ahead if these are successful.

Sainsbury announced last March that it would drop its preferred construction managers in favour of prime contractors.

The government also announced earlier this year that prime contracting is to become its leading procurement system.