Public sector clients and contractors to be targeted in drive to create single comprehensive register for UK.
Constructionline operator Capita has received DTI backing for a campaign to boost membership of the register.

Chris Harris, the Capita director responsible for Constructionline, received approval for the marketing push last Thursday.

The move comes after the news emerged in December that the scheme had signed up only 9000 firms – 36% of its target of 25,000 members.

Harris said the promotional drive was designed to persuade more contractors and public sector clients to sign up to the scheme.

In addition to the publicity campaign, Harris said that regional user groups would be set up to help members to overcome any difficulties they had with the scheme.

He said the advertisements, which would be aimed particularly at the trade press, would focus on Constructionline's capacity to increase efficiency.

The promotional campaign was welcomed by Derek Tordoff, director of the British Constructional Steelwork Association, who had been lobbying for it.

Tordoff is arguing for the creation of a "single list" of vetted construction firms. This would bring together firms that have been accredited by their trade bodies and firms that have qualified for Constructionline into a comprehensive national register.

This has been put into practice by Tordoff's association. Steelwork contractors can join Constructionline only if they are on the BCSA's own prequalification register – however they do not have to meet any additional entry criteria.

Tordoff added: "I support the basic concept of the register but continuing work needs to be achieved to eliminate the administration process and make sure the scheme is easy to use."

A spokesperson for the Heating and Ventilation Contractors Association said there had been a degree of scepticism over the scheme but it was supportive of the publicity drive and the single list idea.

He said: "The HVCA welcomes the increased advertising of Constructionline and hopes that it can increase uptake among contractors for a comprehensive single list."

Capita is in discussion with IT group Achilles, which provides database systems for construction procurement and manages the Construction Clients Charter, the Confederation of Construction Clients' list of clients.

It is understood that the talks are over the maintenance and further development of the Constructionline register.