Almost two-thirds have difficulty pre-qualifying for work

Hospital

Small and medium sized builders have slammed the government for its poor procurement practices, in a report published by the National Federation of Builders (NFB).

The NFB Procurement Report found 62% of SMEs experience difficulties pre-qualifying for public sector work, while 40% of firms spend at least one month a year filling in tender forms rather than carrying out actual construction work.

The report also found few SMEs are involved in delivering work through construction frameworks, despite government assurances they were committed to boosting the number of SMEs involved in them.

The report found 90% of SMEs deliver government work outside of frameworks and 79% do not undertake work as a subcontractor on a framework.

The NFB urged public sector clients to “recognise where it is more appropriate to use traditional tendering” rather than procuring through frameworks.

However the survey found growing awareness of the government’s standardised PAS91 tendering process, which is designed to simplify procurement and reduce bidding costs and is currently being rolled out across public sector procurement.

The report found 62% of respondents had a “high awareness” of PAS91.

The full report is attached (see right).