Contractors told to reveal steel sources in public work bids

Main contractors will have to reveal where they are sourcing steelwork when bidding for major projects under emergency Government plans to level the playing field for the UK industry.

The radical new measures are being introduced as concern grows that projects like HS2 will suck in huge amounts of cheap imported steel from China threatening the existence of UK steelwork fabricators and suppliers.

steelconstructionNew Government procurement guidelines also urge all public clients to look at the carbon footprint of steel supplies, including transport costs, when judging bids from main contractors.

Procurement chiefs have also been told to take into account the social impacts of competing suppliers.

Critcally, this includes the impact on jobs, protecting the health and safety of staff and the social integration of disadvantaged workers, as well as placing a responsibility on firms to upskill the workforce.

The radical measures will apply to major projects with a total steelwork content valued at over £10m.

These new requirements, spearheaded by the Steel Procurement Working Group, will open up the steel market and level the playing field for UK business.

It hopes the plan to raise transparency and see environmental and social costs brought into bid assessments will tackle steel dumping.

Matthew Hancock, Paymaster General and Chair of the Working Group, said: “By asking procurers on major UK projects to consider social and environmental impacts, we are building a Britain that is happier, healthier and better off.

“We will always strive to get the best value for money for taxpayers and we are going to do so in a way that strengthens our economy and bolsters the long-term prosperity of people across the country.

“I don’t want contracts going abroad if the best bid is a British bid with all the social and economic benefits that brings.”

In future major best practice public clients like HS2, Network Rail and Highways England will require tier one contractors to set out, where known, how and from which supplier steel will be sourced.

If a supplier has not been selected at contract award, main contractors and relevant steelwork firms will be required to openly advertise opportunities for steel supply. This will be stipulated in public works contracts.

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