A guide to contractor prequalification and onboarding - Verature

Arrive Safe: The Ultimate Guide to Contractor Pre-qualification and Induction

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Contractor Management Systems

This guide will cover how to safely bring a contractor onto site. From the pre-qualification stage, through to the qualification of contractors, to ensure you a successful and safe, project outcome.

This guide is intended to provide you with best practices for bringing contractors safely onto site, and introduces various methods including using Verature as a contractor management software and compliance platform to help you pre-qualify, select, onboard and qualify your contractors. Whether you are a client, a contractor or a recruiter, this guide will help you understand and follow the steps and procedures involved in the contractor management process, from pre-qualification to qualification.

What are your obligations as Client or Contractor?

As a client, your duty is to ensure that the contractors you hire are competent, qualified and compliant with the relevant legal, environmental and health and safety regulations and standards. You also have a responsibility to cooperate and coordinate with other clients who share the same site or contractors, and to consult with the workforce and their representatives about the selection and management of contractors.

As a contractor, you have a duty to ensure that you and your workers are competent, qualified and compliant with the relevant legal, environmental, and health and safety regulations and standards. You also have a responsibility to cooperate and coordinate with the client and other contractors on site, and to follow the client’s instructions, policies and procedures.

Key Terms and Definitions

In this guide, we will use the following key terms and acronyms:


Section 1: Contractor Pre-Qualification

1.1 What is Contractor Pre-Qualification?

Contractor pre-qualification is the preliminary stage in the bidding process where the goal is to determine whether a contractor has the resources and experience required to complete the job successfully. It is a way of assessing the suitability of potential contractors before inviting them to bid for a project or join a preferred supplier list.

Contractor pre-qualification involves reviewing the contractor’s history, experience, qualifications and references. It also involves checking their health and safety information, insurance documentation, quality and safety accreditations and policies. This process helps to ensure that the contractor meets the standards and expectations of the client, as well as the legal and regulatory requirements of the country in which they operate.

Contractor pre-qualification can benefit both the client and the contractor by:

Contractor pre-qualification can take various forms, such as a health and safety questionnaire, a standardised pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ), a specific accreditation scheme (e.g. CHAS or Safe Contractor) or a combination of all. The aim is to provide a common minimum standard for construction procurement and demonstrate the contractor’s commitment to high standards of health and safety, legal compliance and qualification to do the works.

Contractor compliance is about ensuring adherence to rules and safety standards throughout the contractor’s journey, from pre-arrival to departure, ensuring workplace safety. An integral part of that is controlling the documentation surrounding contractor compliance.

1.2 What are the Challenges of Contractor Pre-Qualification?

Contractor pre-qualification is a critical process for businesses that want to ensure they work with dependable and skilled suppliers. However, it is not a simple or easy process.

Some of the common difficulties that procurement, technical, projects, facilities or engineering teams encounter when conducting contractor pre-qualification are:

By tackling the challenges of contractor pre-qualification and using the best practices and tools, businesses can enhance their contractor selection and management process, and achieve better outcomes for their projects.

1.3 Why Contractor Pre-Qualification Matters for your Project?

Contractor prequalification is the process of evaluating and verifying the qualifications, capabilities and compliance of potential contractors before inviting them to bid on a project. It is a crucial step for ensuring that only the best and most suitable contractors are selected for the project, and that they meet the standards and expectations of the project owner and the general contractor.

You have a role and responsibility when it comes to pre-qualification of contractors?

All parties have responsibilities. The roles and responsibilities of the client, contractor and recruiter in the pre-qualification stage are as follows:

Contractor prequalification can bring many benefits to any project, such as:

1.4 Overcoming Contractor Pre-qualification Challenges

To overcome the challenges at pre-qualification stage, businesses need to adopt a systematic and strategic approach, as well as leverage the appropriate tools and software, such as Verature. These solutions can help with:

1.5 Best Practices when Prequalifying Contractors

The prequalification stage is the process of screening and evaluating contractors before they are invited to bid for the project or task. The purpose of this stage is to ensure that the contractors meet the minimum requirements and standards for the work, and to flag any unqualified or unsuitable contractors. The best practices of contractor selection at the prequalification stage are:

1.6 Criteria and Standards to Prequalify Contractors

The criteria and standards for selecting suitable contractors for the project depend on the nature, scope and complexity of the project, as well as the client’s expectations and requirements. Some of the common criteria and standards include:

1.7 How a Centralised Contractor Management System Facilitates Pre-Qualification

A centralised contractor management system, like Verature, automates the collection, management, and requalification (annual audit) of minimum criteria and standards, such as health and safety information, documents and forms. 

Verature’s built-in customisable questionnaire and credential approval process allows you to easily pre-qualify your contractors based on their capabilities, capacities, resources, management processes and performance. You can use Verature to:

Once you’ve gone through your pre-qualification process, Verature also provides a secure and centralised contractor database of approved contractors, where the business can easily access and update contractor profiles, credentials and compliance status and use Verature to help when it comes to selecting a contractor to fulfil a particular project or job.

Section 2: Best Practices for Contractor Selection

2.1 What is contractor selection?

The process and criteria for choosing the most suitable contractor for a specific project depends on the nature, scope and complexity of the project, as well as the client’s expectations and requirements. Some of the common steps and criteria include:

2.2 Contractor Selection Best Practices: Choosing the right contractor for the job

The selection stage is the process of assessing and verifying the suitability of contractors for a specific project or task. You may be selecting from your pre-qualified list of approved contractors. Whilst this stage is often done outside of your contractor safety management system with the assitance of procurement or purchasing teams, it would be a mistake to focus purely on the commercials at this stage. The purpose of this stage is to ensure that the selected contractors have the necessary skills, knowledge experience and resources to complete the work safely, efficiently and to the required standards.

The best practices of contractor selection are:

How a contractor management system can help with contractor selection

A contractor management system often becomes your database of approved contractors – or those that have met your minimum standards during the pre-qualification of contractors. A contractor management system, such as Verature, can help with contractor selection in a number of ways:

Read our essential guide for more info.

Section 3: Contractor Onboarding & Induction

3.1 What is contractor onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of integrating the selected contractor into the client’s organisation and providing them with the necessary contracts, agreements, policies, induction, training and communication.

It is different from onboarding full-time employees, as contractors are usually hired for specific projects or tasks, and have more flexibility and autonomy in their work. Of course, this also exposes contractors, the project and your site to greater risk. Onboarding external contractors can help you ensure that they are qualified, compliant and engaged with your company’s goals and values. Some of the steps involved in onboarding external contractors are:

A system like Verature can help you streamline and automate your contractor onboarding process, by providing you with a self-service portal where you can pre-vet and approve your contractors, set the job requirements, notify them to complete and maintain their compliance records, share your site safety induction with a multi-choice assessment and monitor and track your contractor or subcontractor’s status with digital badges.

3.2 Contractor onboarding: Inductions & Assessments

As an employer or a client, you have a duty to provide information, instruction and training to contractors and their workers who carry out work for you. This is to ensure that they can work safely and without risk to their health or the health of others.

The information, instruction and training you provide should be:

What should your contractor induction include?

Some of the information, instruction and training you may need to provide as part of the induction and supplementary information includes:

What format should it take?

You can provide information, instruction and training in various ways, such as:

You should also consult with the contractors and their workers and their representatives about the information, instruction and training you provide, and involve them in the planning and delivery of it. This will help to ensure that it meets their needs and expectations and that they are engaged and motivated to follow it. You should also review and update the information, instruction and training regularly, and check that it is effective and achieving the desired outcomes.

How Verature Helps with Inductions

Verature’s external contractor portal may be used to share safety instructions and inductions with contractors. A multi-choice assessment follows, which can be used to assess contractor knowledge and compliance and guide future face-to-face instruction. The client gains complete oversight as to which contractors have passed their induction and can control access to site and issue of work permits accordingly.

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Section 4: Contractor Qualification

4.1 What is contractor qualification?

Contractor qualification is the process of performance evaluation of the contractor both during and after the project execution.

How a contractor management system can help with contractor qualification

Best practices can be maintained by using management tools such as Verature. Verature monitors the company and contractor compliance levels in real-time and provides alerts and reports on any issues or gaps. It allows the business to use leading indicators, such as safety culture and behaviour (utilising modules such as Red and Yellow Cards/ 3-strike rules, for example), to evaluate contractor safety performance, rather than relying solely on lagging indicators, such as accident rates and injury statistics. Verature also enables the business to record feedback and perform on-site audits on contractor work, which can be used when assessing for future works during the pre-qualification and selection process. While communication tools help to foster a positive and cooperative relationship between the contractor and client.

4.2 What performance evaluation criteria should you use to assess contractor performance?

The criteria and standards for assessing contractor performance and compliance during and after the project execution depend on the nature, scope and complexity of the project, as well as the client’s expectations and requirements. Some of the common criteria and standards include:

4.3 What tools can you use to carry out performance evaluations?

To assess the contractor’s performance and compliance, the client or the principal contractor should use a variety of methods and tools, such as:

The assessment of the contractor’s performance and compliance should be done regularly and consistently throughout the project, and at the end of the project. The results of the assessment should be recorded and documented, and shared with the contractor and their workers, and other stakeholders. The results of the assessment should also inform future contractor selection and pre-qualification processes.

4.4 How can a contractor management system help with ongoing contractor performance and compliance monitoring?

An effective contractor management system not only helps by centralising contractor documentation, projects, permits and activities, making it easy to visualise what is going on and thus where you might need to focus your attention on performing reviews and audits of works, but can also help provide tools to capture performance and compliance data.

Verature’s digital badges provide an efficient way to perform on-site inspections. Challenge contractors via scanning their digital badges’ QR code, and perform a number of checks:

Verature’s mapping functionality enables you to visualise all projects, permits by status and on-site contractors. Making it easy to hone in on hotspots of activity and plan inspections and audits.

Record results of inspections and audits, record near-misses and incidents and use Verature’s Red and Yellow Card module to highlight non-conformances, lessons learnt and preventative actions.

While systems can help provide a range of tools to achieve oversight of contractor activities and methods for reporting results of performance and compliance audits, it is thus important to have clear objectives and an understanding of what items you need to pay attention to whilst performing inspections and audits.

4.5 How to supervise the work of contractors, workers and subcontractors?

Managing and supervising the work of contractors and their workers is a key responsibility of the client or the principal contractor, depending on the nature and size of the project. The main objectives of managing and supervising contractors are to:

What actions should you take to put into place effective contractor supervision and management?

Some of the actions that can help to manage and supervise the work of contractors and their workers are:

Steps to deal with problems or incidents involving contractors and their workers

Problems or incidents involving contractors and their workers can have serious consequences for the health and safety of the people, the environment and the project. Therefore, it is important to deal with them promptly, effectively and professionally. Some of the steps that can help to deal with any problems or incidents involving contractors and their workers are:

This underscores the importance of effective communication during the onboarding and induction phase of contractor management and having tools in place to document where incidents do occur, for lessons learnt and future decision-making regarding selection and project management.

Section 5: Introducing a Contractor Management System

5.1 How Can Verature Help with Prequalification, Onboarding and Induction?

Leveraging software systems like Verature ensures you are performing necessary checks at pre-qualifiation and annual audit, and have full information available to you about how contractors have performed on previous jobs for you, when selecting contractors for projects. They also help establish communication channels and ensuring contractors have consumed and understood your site safety rules and expectations before attending site. Systems help with automating data collection and compliance checks, making it easier for teams to make safer, more informed choices at this crucial stage.

How Verature’s tools help

Now, let’s explore in greater detail how Verature Contractor Management System can be instrumental in smoothly navigating this difficult stage of contractor management:

Verature’s Features:

Learn how Verature’s 8-stage efficient process improves contractor management.

5.2 Real-world Examples of Businesses Benefiting from Verature

Businesses from diverse industries have successfully utilised Verature to enhance their contractor prequalification and onboarding efforts.

Wellcome Trust Case Study: Elevating Contractor Compliance with Verature

Wellcome Trust, a prominent charitable foundation focused on improving global health, approached Verature to update their process. Verature’s Contractor Control System provided them with a customised solution, streamlining their contractor management process. Key benefits included automation, centralisation of data and enhanced communication. Wellcome Trust now enjoys real-time updates and data sharing across the organisation regarding contractors, incidents and events.

“The team at Verature deserve a round of applause; they have made this a really easy project to manage and have been brilliant at understanding our requirements and delivering Verature, the Shift Handover and our Induction Video. We would not hesitate to recommend the Verature system.”

Photo of Jo Grunert Jo Grunert Facilities & Workplace Project Manager
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Sibelco Case Study: Streamlining Compliance Across Multiple Sites with Verature

Sibelco, a global material solutions company, sought a modern, cloud-based solution to manage contractor profiles and inductions across 19 sites. Verature enabled Sibelco to establish a structured and standardised induction process, replacing manual methods like punch cards and spreadsheets. The result was increased efficiency, improved health and safety procedures and a complete overview of workers’ induction status across all sites.

“The Verature system has been really well received at Sibelco; it’s clean and user friendly. We now have a complete overview of our visitors and contractors on each of our sites to ensure they’ve completed the required inductions. The system is making it easy to ensure we are remaining accountable for the safety of our contractors when on site.”

Photo of Wendy Brunt Wendy Brunt Operations Administrator
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Collins Aerospace Case Study: Enhancing Contractor Management with Verature

Collins Aerospace, a leader in aerospace and defence solutions, collaborated with Verature to streamline their contractor management. The Verature Contractor Management System optimised their daily operations and provided complete visibility of contractor activity. Through Verature, they streamlined contractor inductions, automated document collection and improved communication between different departments.

These examples showcase how organisations have experienced substantial improvements in their prequalification, induction and ongoing qualification of contractors through implementing Verature. Verature’s solutions have successfully provided streamlined methods to verify contractors and improved communication and collaboration with their contractors.

5.3 Reducing exposure to risk with Verature

Verature plays a pivotal role in mitigating risk and optimising resources:


In conclusion, ensuring the safety of contractors as they come onto a site is paramount. It involves a comprehensive process that includes careful selection, thorough pre-qualification, detailed onboarding, and consistent induction practices. By adhering to these steps, businesses can create a safe working environment that minimises risks and promotes a culture of safety. It’s essential to select contractors who demonstrate a strong commitment to health and safety, provide them with the necessary information, instruction and training, and ensure that safety policies are strictly followed. Ultimately, the goal is to foster a collaborative effort where both client/employers, contractors and subcontractor understand their roles and responsibilities in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace

Contact Verature today for a comprehensive demonstration of how our system can revolutionise this important stage of contractor management.

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