Last edited 29 Mar 2021

Pre qualification questionnaires and PAS 91


[edit] Introduction

The term ‘standard selection questionnaire’ is rather self-explanatory - these questionnaires, therefore, are often standard sets of questions buyers pose to potential suppliers as part of the tender process.

Pre qualification questionnaires in construction are used by buyers as the first stage of selection. Typically, this is a box-ticking exercise that includes basic company information and checks statements of non-collusion.

[edit] The first stage of the PQQ

Pre qualification questionnaires are designed to act as the first stage of vetting to ensure that businesses:

Pre qualification questionnaires in construction can vary from buyer to buyer. They may use different names such as SQ (selection questionnaire) or SSQ (standard selection questionnaire). Pre qualification questionnaires (PQQ) are often marked using the pass/fail scoring methodology. They have clear yes/no answers or minimum scores for each section to be considered for the next stage.

Depending on whether the process follows the open or closed procedure, the PQQ and initial tender may be required to be completed at the same time. For the latter closed procedure, vendors must first pass this initial stage of vetting prior to completing the main tender exercise.

[edit] Evaluating the PQQ

This is one of the few sections on a typical PQQ where vendor responses are marked with scores, often with a minimum threshold required to pass to the next stage. The typical question, shared across lots of pre qualification questionnaires in construction is this:

"Please provide details of up to three contracts, in any combination from either the public or private sector, voluntary, charity or social enterprise (VCSE) that are relevant to this requirement. VCSEs may include samples of grant-funded work. Contracts for supplies or services should have been performed during the past three years. Works contracts may be from the past five years."

Word counts can vary from buyer to buyer - some requiring from as little as 200 words to larger, 1000+ word responses. Regardless, the case study should include key sections, detailing:

  • The situation: An introduction.
  • The task: The specifics of the task (for example, conducting boiler services and repairs across 1000+ plus properties).
  • The actions: How was the contract delivered, including key challenges or issues.
  • The results: A final summary detailing the successes of the contract.

Factual recall of events should be relevant to the scope of works for the contract and should demonstrate how this performance/experience makes the vendor a suitable provider.

[edit] The PAS 91

PAS 91s are becoming increasingly popular in the construction industry. This questionnaire has been developed by the British Standards Institute to save companies from filling out several different PQQs.

The main benefits of completing a PAS-91 are:

  • Exemption is granted from some core sections if the required accreditations are held.
  • Questions for the core modules are standardised, which means companies can develop standard responses to use every time.

Exemption from individual categories can also be granted through holding certain accreditations - such as an ISO 9001 quality management certificate for the performance management section. This is typically standard, however, there are sometimes slight variations from buyer to buyer.

Those companies without accreditations will have to answer questions in the optional and core modules.

[edit] Relationship with tenders

Buyers can potentially receive hundreds of tender submissions for a single contract, and as such, it’s in their interest to ensure that suppliers are both vetted and checked to ensure they both fulfil their legal obligations but also that inadequate suppliers can be excluded as early as possible, saving both time and money.

--Hudson Succeed

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