Constructionline, the contractor and consultant vetting list, has rebutted industry criticisms with improved user figures and an internal review of its service.

The Association of Consulting Engineers threatened to leave the list earlier this year over concerns that not enough clients had signed up. This week, it emerged that the service has 1565 registered clients, a 20% rise over the past year.

The number of registered construction companies has increased 14% over the same period, to 11,409. Renewal rates are higher than in previous years – 84% of the September intake have so far renewed, with

more coming in. Constructionline has also received only 12 complaints in the past eight months, 10 times fewer than during the same period two years ago.

Constructionline director Simon Kellaway said further increases could be expected as a result of a internal review. This is intended to help clients use the service.

He said: “The current figures indicate that Constructionline is doing very well and has made significant improvements. The purpose of this internal review is to build on these improvements so market share can be increased.”

Kellaway, who became director of the service in September, added that he had contacted the DTI to inform it of the review. He said its full scope would be decided early next year and completed by August.

Constructionline’s business development team is currently liaising with clients to help improve client use and avoid duplication in the questions that contractors are asked.

ACE told Constructionline in the summer that it would withdraw from the service if it did not improve by next July. A survey of ACE members found that 75% of them thought the service from Constructionline was poor, 73% said they never got work from it and 36% thought the ACE should withdraw its support from the scheme.

The survey concluded: “Firms only retain their Constructionline membership because they feel obliged to in order to win public sector work. The attitude towards Constructionline is one of resignation and hostility.”