The Specialist engineering contractors’ (SEC) Group Scotland represents the largest
sector of construction (by value) in Scotland. its member organisations – listed on the front
of this report – mainly comprise SMEs involved in various aspects of construction
engineering from steel fabrication and lift installation and maintenance to mechanical,
electrical and plumbing installation and maintenance.
Over the years two issues have given rise to major concerns for these firms – lack of
cashflow security and the needless cost associated with wasteful duplication in public
sector pre-qualification processes. SEC Group Scotland has been working closely with the
Scottish Government to address these issues.
The Scottish Government is firmly committed to using procurement as a strategic tool to
enhance the commercial well-being of Scottish construction supply chains. this, in turn,
promotes growth through investment in technology, jobs and training. amongst measures
introduced there have been the Standard Pre-qualification questionnaire (sPQQ) which
aims to standardise the pre-qualification process and, from the beginning of 2013, the
trialling of project bank accounts.
This Report has been compiled by my colleague Sarah Greatorex Ba, Ma, MBa, Sec
Group executive Secretary. it is in support of the monitoring being carried out by the
Scottish Government to assess the impact of measures aimed at improving payment
practices and reducing the cost of pre-qualification. i’m grateful to the help provided by my
executive assistant, Zanna tweedie, in sending out the questionnaires.
The survey, upon which this Report is based, covered the university sector in Scotland. a
second survey of Scottish local authorities and other public bodies has also been carried
out and comparisons can be made between the two surveys. Similar surveys have also
been carried out by Sec Group throughout the uK. Responses to the questionnaire were
obtained under the freedom of information act since an initial voluntary survey failed to
elicit sufficient responses.
In Scotland there are 15 universities, and responses were received from 14 of these.
construction spend by Scottish universities is well over £200 million per annum. this is a
significant element of the £2 billion annual construction spend by the public sector in
In analysing the responses we have drawn up a number of recommendations that are
listed at the beginning of this Report. Many are based on the recommendations in the
Scottish Government’s review of public sector construction procurement published in
october 2013; with one exception the Scottish Government has accepted all the