A scheme to provide clients and prime contractors with a list of suitable firms for partnering has been launched by the National Federation of Builders.
The Construction Accredited Partner Scheme is backed by the Construction Industry Training Board and construction minister Nigel Griffiths.

Speaking at the scheme's House of Commons launch on Monday, Griffiths said partnering was the most effective means of achieving best value construction, particularly in the public sector.

He said: "True partnering requires a specific set of standards and skills. Identifying companies that possess them has been a long-running challenge – that is why the Construction Accredited Partner Scheme is so exciting."

Companies wishing to qualify for the scheme must submit a site-based audit of their managerial, technical and client-care skills.

The firms must also have a comprehensive understanding of supply-chain management and establish key performance indicators using a benchmark database provided by the DTI.

NFB chief executive Barry Stephens said: "This is a major opportunity for any contractor that wants to develop successful, profitable relationships with the public and private sector."

The head of construction at NHS Estates, Peter Woolliscroft, said the scheme would support the aims of the Procure 21 programme.