Scottish Building Federation calls for standardised procurement process

Scottish Building FederationThe Scottish Building Federation (SBF) has urged the Scottish Government to standardise the procurement pre-qualification processes and provide separate guidance for the construction sector, given the relative complexity of procurement practices within the industry.

The call was made as the SBF submitted detailed evidence to a Scottish Government consultation on changes to public procurement rules in Scotland.

The changes outlined by the consultation largely arise from three new EU Procurement Directives and the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, including Statutory Guidance and will result in new Procurement Regulations which require to be implemented by 18 April 2016.

Other recommendations made by the SBF as part of its submission include:

  • Compliance with collective agreements should be consistently enforced as part of public procurement to ensure a level playing field.
  • Public bodies should ensure that subcontractors identified in the main contractor’s bid are ultimately used to carry out works specified. Failure to do so should be considered a breach of contract.
  • Prompt payment clauses for subcontractors need to be properly monitored by public bodies in order to be effective.

  • Public bodies should be able to make direct payments to subcontractors in situations where the main contractor has failed to discharge payment within the time limit stipulated in the contract.
  • Technical capability should be given greater prominence as a selection criterion compared to company turnover, based on compliance (either by the main contractor or chosen subcontractors) with existing recognised industry standards, accreditation systems or codes of practice.
  • Scottish Procurement’s standard PQQ should be used exclusively unless there are demonstrable good reasons for adapting or not using.
  • Creation of a centralised database of pre-qualification data to avoid duplication of effort for different procurements.

  • It should not be permissible for main contractor to adapt main contract for sub-contractors as a means of transferring risk to the sub-contractor.
  • Responsibility for monitoring and enforcement should rest with a procurement ombudsman or regulator rather than Scottish Ministers.
  • Further information about the Scottish Government’s consultation can be accessed here.

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