- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 21 Jul 2014
Common minimum standards
Government Construction: Common Minimum Standards for procurement of the built environments in the public sector, is generally referred to as the Common Minimum Standards (CMS), although the Government Construction Strategy proposes that it should be renamed the Government Construction Standards. The CMS can be downloaded in full from the gov.uk website.
The CMS summarises existing government policy on construction. It states that central government construction projects (including departments, executive agencies and the non-departmental public bodies for which they are responsible) should be carried out '…with full reference to the CMS'. Where public projects have been devolved to the wider public sector, reasonable measures should be taken to ensure that the CMS are adopted.
The CMS is quite short at just 17 pages. It includes guidance on:
- General standards.
- Project and programme procurement.
- Health and safety.
- Historic estate.
Before the CMS was published, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) produced a great deal of guidance about best practice in procurement and project management. OGC has now been absorbed into the Cabinet Office, and OGC guidance has been archived, however much of the guidance in the CMS mirrors the procedures set out in the OGC Gateway Review Process, and OGC guidance is referenced in the CMS.
- Requiring that projects undertake OGC Gateway Review risk profile assessments and the OGC Gateway Review process (or similar approved process).
- Requiring collaboration and the early appointment of an integrated supply team.
- Proposing that contract routes other than PPP (public private partnership) / PFI (private finance initiative), design & build, prime contracting and framework arrangements …should not be used unless it can be clearly shown that they offer best value for money.
- Proposing the use of the PAS 91 (Publicly Available Specification) standard pre-qualification questionnaire.
- Proposing the development of an output-based specification.
The CMS also includes references to:
- The principles set out in the Government Construction Strategy.
- Fair payment practices.
- The Green Book (the government framework for the appraisal and evaluation of policies, programmes and projects).
- A requirement to collect and analyse health & safety data.
- A requirement for contractors to be registered with a good neighbour scheme.
- A requirement to assess buildability, functionality, maintainability, sustainability and future flexibility when assessing designs.
- A requirement to comply with the Protocol for the Care of the Government Historic Estate.
- A requirement to follow the procedures set out in Achieving Excellence in Construction Procurement Guide 11: Sustainability.
- A requirement to take account of the Government Buying Standard for construction. This requires the adoption of an environmental assessment process. Where BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is used, new projects should achieve an ‘excellent’ rating, and refurbishment projects with a value over £500k should achieve at least a ‘very good’ rating.
- A requirement to procure timber in accordance with the governement’s timber procurement policy.
- A requirement to fall within the upper quartile of energy performance for that building type.
- A requirement to take account of resilience to climate change.
The CMS is updated regularly and includes details of progress made in key areas.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Government Construction Strategy.
- OGC Gateway Review process.
- Major Projects Authority.
- Public project: outline work plan.
- Public procurement.
- The Green Book.
 External references
Featured articles and news
A PQP describes the activities, standards, tools and processes necessary to achieve quality in a project's delivery.
How Lidl has been actively working to reinforce their brand through sustainability.
Association of British Insurers describe full-scale cladding tests as 'utterly inadequate'.
This article examines the changing policy commitments and evolving definitions of the zero carbon home.
Researchers believe they may have created a 'game-changing' new form of concrete using graphene.
Grouting refers to the injection of materials into a soil or rock formation to change its physical characteristics.
Part of Designing Buildings Wiki, BREEAM Wiki will advance knowledge sharing for the BRE family of sustainability tools.
From the decorative to the utilitarian, and from the photographed to the forgotten.
New BRE book considers the progression from project-based knowledge creation to whole-life urban knowledge management.
This CIOB article explores the concept of value in building design and construction.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' release new images of soon-to-open 3WTC tower in New York.
A document can be called a bond or a guarantee. Does the name matter and what is the difference between them?