PAS 91 – The Expert Guide

3rd December 2018

The PAS 91: Everything you need to know 

Last updated: Dec 17, 2021 @ 2:00 pm

The PAS 91 is common across the Utilities and Construction sectors.

Clients tell us that one of the most laborious and time-consuming parts of the tendering process is constantly needing to detail their:

  • Company details
  • Experience
  • Insurances
  • Qualifications

They’re often needed across various pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) or selection questionnaires (SQs) when tendering for work.

This can consume immense amounts of time and resources. It can often dissuade SMEs who simply don’t have these to waste, from participating in the tendering process.

This is where the PAS 91 comes in.

What is the PAS 91?

In 2010 the UK Construction industry launched a standardised, industry-wide “standard selection questionnaire”. It was launched in an effort to simplify and streamline the procurement process. It dispenses with the need for suppliers to complete various, subtly different PQQs, SQs and the like, each for different contracts.

This is known as the Publicly Available Specification 91, or “PAS 91.”

The PAS 91 brings together various questions typically asked to assess the suitability of suppliers in the construction industry.

Using the same questions allows potential contractors to have the data they require to answer these, ready to hand. Or, to have standardised answers pre-development.

It is essentially a specialised PQQ predominantly for the construction industry.

Why is it important?

It eliminates the need to spend precious time and resources completing an array of questionnaires for different contracts and clients. Suppliers completing the PAS 91 will encounter a simplified and much more streamlined tendering process.

Once suppliers have completed one PAS 91 questionnaire, the same set of standard responses can be used by all buyers who are PAS 91 compliant.

By making the process less onerous, confusing, costly, time-consuming and difficult to complete or even understand the idea is that more companies, including SMEs, are encouraged to bid for work and partake in the tendering process.

Indeed, in theory, this should make the whole tendering and procurement industry in the UK more accessible. It should allow small businesses to benefit from winning bids, and to grow and prosper.

Think of this as an ESPD, but aimed at Construction industries across the UK.

PAS 91 format:

The PAS 91 format is aligned with the Government construction strategy. The PAS 91 has the aim of achieving savings in construction costs by 15-20%. It was done with the aim of reducing costs associated with the tendering and procurement process.

It is mandatory for government construction projects as of 2016.

The strategy was set out in May 2011 by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and Infrastructure UK.

The main aim of the strategy was the reduce the cost of public sector construction projects by up to 20% by 2015. It was done in order to stimulate growth and make construction procurement more accessible for SMEs. Thereby it had the result of creating more jobs, bringing about business expansion and generating greater prosperity.

So, tell me more…

The PAS 91 format is used by procurement and bid management services that set questions aligned to specific standards. The responses to which can then be shared with multiple buyers. As a result, it does away with the need for suppliers to repeatedly duplicate standard content or the same data.

Find new Construction contracts via our dedicated portal, Construction Tenders.

A standard PAS 91 typically comprises of three parts and 11 sections.

Part 1:

Mandatory questions that a buyer must phrase in the same way and same word order. This is needed in order to be compliant with the regulations of this format. This section aims to capture general information including:

Part 2:

This set of questions typically addresses company policies on:

  • Equal opportunities and diversity
  • Environmental approaches
  • Quality management.

Part 3:

Project-specific questions to assess technical and/or professional ability.

It’s well worth their while for suppliers to avail themselves of the PAS 91 format. Becoming certified in a range of disciplines (SSIP etc.) and having all the relevant data. They should have good quality standardised responses, ready to hand. This can help make the most of this, streamlining and simplifying their future tendering efforts.

The 2017 amendment to PAS91 now includes new questions covering mandatory reasons for exclusion and legislation. These relate to the Immigration Act and the Minimum Wage Act.

The main benefits of completing a PAS 91:

  • An exemption is granted from some core sections should you hold the required accreditations.
  • For the core modules, questions are standardised, and as such, you can develop standard responses to use every time.
  • Save a great deal of time in the long run.

A business will need to pass the PAS 91 before they can progress onto the invitation to tender (ITT) stage.

A PAS 91 enables buyers to identify the most suitably qualified suppliers in a short amount of time. It demonstrates that your business meets the minimum standards for the proposed contract.

If you’re a Constructionline member, you’re automatically compliant with some PAS 91 questions. Registration with a Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP), and certain accreditations can also help you bypass certain sections. For example:

  • ISO 9001; 14001; 18001
  • CHAS
  • Constructionline

However, this doesn’t mean you can skip this stage completely as you’ll still likely have to complete some questions.

Top Tip: Take your time when completing your PAS 91. You don’t want to rush it and make a mistake that could easily have been avoided. Plan enough time to complete it without having to rush. If you’re confused about something in the PAS 91, you likely won’t be the only one. If this is the case, then it’s probably best to ask a clarification question to the buyer. They will then be able to make any amendments or adjustments to the information or question. This happens more often than you think!

Need support with your next PAS 91?

At Hudson Succeed, we have over 60 years of bid writing experience and an 87% success rate. We offer four bid writing services that can help you win more work, including support with a PAS 91. Whether you’ve never tendered before or need your bid response proofread before you submit it – we can help via:

Tender Writing

Once you’ve found the right tender for your business, send it our way. One of our Bid Writers will write and submit the bid on your behalf. They’ll also provide you with a full Tender Writing breakdown. This will tell you if they will need anything from you and what you can expect from them.

Tender Ready

Our Tender Ready programme is designed for those who have never tendered before. This programme works with you to ensure you have everything you need to tender successfully. This includes an organisation-wide bid library and subscription to one Discover tender portal.

Tender Improvement

Our Tender Improvement programme can help if you’ve already been tendering for contracts but aren’t seeing results. During the course of the programme, our Bid Writers will assess your previous submissions and supporting documents. They’ll then provide feedback and guidance on how to improve, increasing your chances of success.

Tender Mentor

Tender Mentor can assist you if you need someone to complete a final proofread of your response. Our Bid Writers will look over your response, making sure you’ve answered all the requirements from the specification. They’ll also notify you of any spelling or grammatical mistakes before you submit.

Are you looking for more construction opportunities for your business?

Our Construction Tenders portal can help.

Our Opportunity Trackers manually scour and source construction leads and tendering opportunities from thousands of websites across the UK. They upload them to our easy-to-navigate, industry-specific portal. There’s no reliance on inaccurate CPV codes!

You’re able to filter and search the results by keyword, budget, location and more. This streamlines the process, allowing you to find the right tenders for your business.

When you sign up, you’ll receive a daily bulletin straight to your inbox when new construction tenders are uploaded. An on-hand Account Manager can help you find the best tenders for your business. They can talk you through any PAS 91 questions you may have, or queries about the procurement process in general.

The portal also sources opportunities for services including;

The best way to venture into the tendering world is through booking a live demo of Construction Tenders.

Find more helpful tips and advice in our blogs. We cover topics including:

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