Last edited 01 Nov 2020

BS 8534

Procurement is the process of purchasing goods or services. There are many different routes by which the design and construction of a building can be procured. The selected procurement route should follow a strategy which fits the long-term objectives of the procurer's business plan and should give consideration to issues such as; speed, cost, value, quality, constraints, risk, asset ownership and financing.

Whilst historically we might have thought of clients as procurers, the extended supply chains that now contribute to construction means that procurers may also be contractors, and sub-contractors.

BS 8534 is the British Standard for 'Construction procurement policies, strategies and procedures - Code of practice'. It was originally developed in response to the 'Rethinking Standards in Construction' workshops which recommended a new standard for construction procurement. It was published as BS 8534:2011 on 31 August 2011 and launched on 26 September 2011.

It offers guidance on the development of policies, strategies and procedures for construction procurement. Whilst it is voluntary, it can be applied to both the public or private sector. It was developed by the Constructing Excellence network, with a committee chaired by Richard Ward of Eversheds.

The standard is based largely on previous best practice guidance, such as that produced by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC, now been absorbed into the Efficiency and Reform Group within the Cabinet Office) and is consistent with the Public Contracts Regulations.

It sets out procurement best-practice in relation to; policy, initiation, strategy, tactics, managing performance and delivery. There is a particular emphasis on:

Given the complexity of procurement, the standard necessarily remains fairly general in its approach and guidance, and it remains to be seen whether there will be widespread adoption in practice.

NB In parallel to this process, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) developed the two-part ISO 10845 Construction procurement (now also BS EN ISO 10845: Construction procurement). This focusses more on tendering and selection, whereas BS 8534 is concerned with the higher-level development of procurement policies, strategies and procedures.

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