The Publicly Available Specification, or PAS 91 as it’s more commonly known, is a standardised pre-qualification questionnaire that aims to reduce the need for suppliers to complete a multitude of questionnaires for different commissioning authorities when bidding for contracts.
The most recent amendment of the PAS 91 questionnaire (PAS 91:2013+A1:2017) saw it align with Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and CDM Regulations 2015. It is also closely aligned with both the standard Selection Questionnaire and the ESPD, and commonly used in procuring works contracts, without the need to mix and match with the standard Selection Questionnaire.
Here’s an explanation of what it is, and how it can help you save time and money.
What are the benefits of PAS 91?
In essence, PAS 91 is a standardised questionnaire that harmonises the various questions used by construction-sector buyers to assess the suitability of suppliers for everything from new builds, refurbishments, repair and maintenance to demolition and conversions. By completing a PAS 91 questionnaire it enables suppliers to:
- Develop standard responses to the core questions, which can be used each time any commissioning authority uses a PAS 91
- Ensure you have the data and supporting documents to hand to evidence your ability to deliver the service
- Gain automatic exemption from certain sections, such as quality and health and safety if you hold relevant certifications
- Be able to complete the pre-qualification stage more quickly and cost effectively, in turn opening up more opportunities
- Increase your confidence that the questionnaire and supporting documents are completed correctly and meet the commissioning authorities’ requirements.
PAS 91 comprises of three core parts:
- Mandatory questions – these capture general information on areas such as company structure, contact details, financial data and health and safety, which are tailored depending on whether you are a contractor, designer or service provider.
- Optional questions – these cover areas such as quality management, environmental management, equal opportunities and diversity, and building information modelling – it’s worth remembering here that you might be exempt from the need to provide detailed responses if you have the relevant credentials, for example registration with a Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) scheme.
- Additional questions – this section enables the commissioning authority to ask questions specific to the works or services they require. In theory they should be relevant and proportionate.
There are three things that are worth noting: firstly, although PAS 91 provides a common format and set of questions, it does not provide a standard for what an acceptable or adequate response may be. Secondly, the format of the PAS 91 document might vary from buyer to buyer, and anyone who has completed an Excel-based version for the first time will know how daunting it can look at first sight. And thirdly, the PAS 91 should not be completed as a stand-alone document, but is typically requested alongside a construction tender submission as part of the process.
As tender writing experts we can support you with the completion of your PAS 91 questionnaire, including talking you through the various sections to identify where you can claim exemption, as well ensuring your submission is fully compliant.
If you would like more information on pre-qualification questionnaires for construction, please head over to our PQQ construction resources page for important features and more helpful information, or contact us now to talk to a member of our team.