The National Federation of Builders has put a single pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) for construction procurement at the heart of its 2010 election manifesto.
The NFB, which represents 1,500 construction SMEs, said that its 2009 public sector procurement survey showed that on average the PQQ process cost every SME up to £5,000 each year thanks to duplication across multiple schemes.
Other measures outlined include in the NFB manifesto included:
- A commitment to increase the level of spending on training and apprenticeships, helping small firms to hire and retain apprentices to ensure the industry has a highly skilled workforce to meet demand when market demand returns.
- Further funding to support the work of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) so that advice and support is readily available to the whole industry.
- More effective regulation to remove cowboy builders. Nearly one in five (18 per cent) of British homeowners has fallen victim to sloppy workmanship, costing victims more than £6.8 billion.
- Breaking up of regional utility monopolies whose poor service in the provision of connections services to new developments continues to create severe financial penalties for SMEs.
- Reducing the regulatory burden and providing incentives for meeting environmental goals.
Julia Evans, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, said: “The construction sector was responsible for one in five insolvencies last year and 375,000 job losses in the last 18 months. The overwhelming majority of the industry’s employers are still SMEs and yet their voice is not being heard and their contribution is being ignored.
"Government will have some tough choices to make on public expenditure, but the decisions taken need to recognise the vital role that smaller contactors play in Britain’s economic, social and environmental prosperity."