Last edited 22 Jun 2016

Pre-qualification questionnaire PQQ for construction contracts

A pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) sets out a series of questions for potential tenderers to answer regarding their level of experience, capacity and financial standing. The answers to these questions enable the client to produce a short list of suppliers that are likely to be most appropriate for their particular project. Short-listed suppliers may then be invited to tender for the contract.

The pre-qualification questionnaire has the effect of reducing the number of potential tenders to those that are genuinely appropriate for the project, thus saving a great deal of wasted time for potential tenderers who would not have any realistic chance of winning the contract. It also saves time for the client processing and assessing inappropriate tenders.

Pre-qualification questionnaires should be focused and simple to complete, (perhaps with limits to the number of words that can be submitted in response to each question) otherwise they may just replicate the tender process itself. They should also make it very clear what the tender process is for, so that potential tenderers can properly assess whether they have the appropriate experience, capacity and financial standing.

Where possible a scoring and weighting system should be prepared for rating submitted information and potential tenderers should be informed of the details of the system that will be used.

The information requested should be straight-forward, relevant and proportionate to the size of the contract. It might request:

  • Company details (including legal status).
  • Details of insurance cover.
  • Financial information (such as recent accounts).
  • Relevant experience.
  • Information about technical and professional ability.
  • Information about capability and capacity.
  • Health and safety policy.
  • Quality assurance policy.
  • Environmental management policy.
  • Equal opportunities policy.
  • Relevant references.
  • A BIM assessment to determine BIM capability, gaps in skills and training needs.

Systems such as Construction Line go some way to standardising and simplifying the tender process by allowing tenderers to provide pre-qualification information just once that can then be presented to multiple potential clients.

The government requires public clients to use PAS 91, a standardised wording for pre-qualification questionnaires.

NB In December 2013, Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock set out how a range of measures intended to make it easier for small businesses to grow in Small Business: GREAT Ambition. Measures were announced to tackle late payment and to remove the barriers to public contracts by abolishing pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) for low-value contracts and mandating the use of core PQQs for high value contracts.

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