The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has launched the Publically Available Specification (PAS) 91 which is a new construction related procurement pre-qualification questionnaire. It is designed to standardise the way of asking key pre-qualification questions, cutting down the time and money currently wasted through duplication of processes.

At the moment, contractors are flooded with initial questionnaires which all need completing fully, even though, to the frustration of many contractors, the questionnaires each contain a large proportion of identical/similar questions. It is claimed PAS91 will alleviate these problems by consolidating all of these questions into one document, allowing contractors to use pre-prepared answers and spend more time formulating project specific responses.

Although the industry reaction largely seems quite positive, PAS91 is not without its detractors. The negative press focuses on the fact that in trying to save time through simplification, PAS91 has simply replaced one painstaking process with another. The sheer number of questions it contains, and the level of detail required in the responses will mean the time taken to fill it in could be quite significant. Add to this the need to pay for copyright in order to use it and the argument against PAS91 suggests that the mooted cost savings are therefore looking slimmer by the minute.

The jury is out then; only once the ink has dried on the first few completed questionnaires will we start to get a clearer picture.