01 November 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The government has awarded a major new procurement agreement that will help to shape public sector construction.
All public sector bodies can use the Crown Commercial Service's (CCS) Construction Works and Associated Services agreement to find companies to help to build new schools, hospitals, office buildings, universities, prisons, and houses. It has a maximum potential value of £30 billion over the next seven years.
The agreement saves public bodies from having to run their own costly and time-consuming procurement exercises.
It will help both the government and the construction sector in achieving objectives under the government's Construction Strategy and Industrial Strategy, which was formed in collaboration with industry and supports sustainable construction.
The CCS has today named 128 suppliers, including 57 small and medium-sized enterprises (Sees), on the procurement agreement. Thirty-one of 38 sub-lots have been awarded yesterday (31 October). The CCS expects to award the remaining lots in due course.
It is the first government-led construction agreement that can be used by the whole public sector. Organisations will use the agreement to find companies to construct new buildings, refurbish existing properties, undertake repairs and demolition, and decommission redundant assets.
Simon Hart, the minister for implementation, said: "This agreement will help public bodies across the country carry out the work needed to build much-needed new housing as well as improve schools and hospital buildings.
Sam Wyatt, commercial director for buildings at the CCS, said: "This new agreement provides a solid foundation for public sector bodies to achieve the best outcomes and value for their investment across the whole construction life cycle. The principles of this agreement are collaboration and integration with supply chains, boosting innovation at a critical time and supporting the government's work towards achieving a zero-carbon 2050 target."
The new agreement was designed to guarantee a level playing field for SMEs. There are lots for different contract values and regional lots open to local suppliers to ensure that smaller companies can compete for places. Close to 99 per cent of all providers in the construction industry are SMEs.
Housing associations and local authorities can use the agreement to commission housebuilding. The CCS will engage directly with commissioners to provide procurement guidance, helping the government to meet its target of building 300,000 homes each year.