CHAS Managing Director Ian McKinnon outlines how adoption of the Common Assessment Standard has gathered pace since its rollout began in 2019 with multiple major contractors now specifying the scheme and explains why now is the time for contractors who haven't yet taken the assessment to embrace the scheme.
What is the Common Assessment Standard?
Developed by Build UK, Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), and other accreditation bodies and industry experts, the Common Assessment Standard is a leading accreditation programme that's recognised industry-wide. It replaces multiple assessment schemes with one comprehensive industry-agreed questionnaire based on existing prequalification questionnaires, including PAS 91.
As well as streamlining what was a complex, costly and repetitive system, the Common Assessment Standard helps organisations demonstrate regulatory compliance across 13 key areas of risk management including criteria such as sustainability, diversity, equality and inclusion and modern slavery.
The Common Assessment Standard was launched in 2019, at which time CHAS became the first assessment body to offer the scheme. CHAS has now assessed thousands of contractors to the standard via CHAS Elite, the most well-recognised accreditation of the Common Assessment Standard.
Data sharing milestone
A key milestone in the rollout of the scheme that has accelerated its adoption was the introduction of a data-sharing agreement in 2021. The agreement means the details of everyone who passes the assessment can be accessed via any of the providers, regardless of which assessment body carries out the audit. For CHAS contractors, this means they only need to complete the Common Assessment Standard once a year via CHAS's intuitive, easy-to-use, online contractor portal to qualify for a wide range of work rather than having to sign up to multiple schemes - saving time and money.
Meanwhile, clients looking for pre-qualified contractors simply specify the Common Assessment Standard to find contractors accredited to a single, consistent industry-agreed standard. Clients can access a database of these contractors via the services of any of the assessment bodies - such as the free CHAS Client Portal.
Who specifies the Common Assessment Standard?
The Common Assessment Standard has rapidly become the elite standard for prequalification, with multiple major contractors now specifying the scheme.
Within the public sector, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has asked for contractors appointed to its seven-year framework to assess their supply chains using the Common Assessment Standard for some time. Expected updates to Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 08/16 are likely to encourage or even mandate that Contracting Authorities in the public sector assess their supply chains using the Common Assessment Standard.
An up-to-date list of who specifies the Common Assessment Standard can be found here.
Qualifying for the Common Assessment Standard with CHAS Elite
It's no surprise that so many contractors have chosen to take the Common Assessment Standard with CHAS. As well as being the founder of third-party accreditation and a trusted authority on supply chain risk management, CHAS is renowned for providing a friendly and efficient service and high customer satisfaction levels.
CHAS contractors receive additional benefits such as access to discounted e-learning resources and free legal advice, 20% discount with Speedy Hire, free-of-charge TradePoint cards and discounted membership to Checkatrade.com. CHAS is also committed to helping contractors who are not yet ready to complete the Common Assessment Standard to work towards higher levels of accreditation.
When should you take the Common Assessment Standard?
Now is the time to take the Common Assessment Standard for contractors of all sizes as we are rapidly moving towards a situation where you won't be able to win work without it. There are two levels of certification: desktop and site-based. Companies apply to CHAS for the certification level appropriate for their business based on factors including trade, size and the requirements of their clients. For companies that employ fewer than 10 employees and have a turnover below £1.8 million or a balance sheet totalling less than £1.8 million, the assessment standards will be applied proportionately.
How can you find out more?
To find out more about qualifying for, or specifying, the Common Assessment Standard, visit www.chas.co.uk or call 0345 521 9111