Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most common questions that we encounter. If you have a question not answered here, use our forum to ask it!

Q:

What National Schedule is appropriate for my needs?

A:

A full list of the National Schedules that we produce is given on our website with descriptions for the content and appropriate use. We are also very happy to discuss the needs of our customers over the telephone and we can arrange a personal visit where this is necessary for a complex tender.

Q:

How are the National Schedules different from other Schedules?

A:

Our Schedules have been in circulation for the last thirty years and they are updated every year based on real changes to labour pay awards, material and plant price changes in the marketplace. Whilst inflation based uplift allows you to adjust the prices, there can sometimes be a huge disparity across certain trades, changes in the commodity markets and new technology. These cannot be accounted for unless there is a systematic process for review. As a truly independent and national provider, we pride ourselves for our painstaking approach.

Q:

Can I make copies of the Schedules and send them to our supply chain?

A:

The National Schedules are copyright protected and unauthorised copy distribution, electronic or otherwise seriously threatens our business. We have made it very simple and affordable for the trade supply chain to access the relevant sections on website through a Look-up service.

Q:

I am not sure that the tenderers will want to pay for the National Schedules?

A:

In our experience the cost of the Schedules is a very small sum against the potential value of the Term Contract and most Contractors and Specialists have no objection to pay. NSR Management has a spread of customers that are Sole Traders right through to the multi-national companies.

Q:

Can we benchmark and demonstrate Best Value using the National Schedules?

A:

The National Schedules are recognised by CIPFA as being one of its recommended Schedules of Rates. As a means for measuring and pre-pricing, the National Schedules give potential Employers a powerful, transparent and accountable means of pricing and payment. Given the breadth, depth and scope of the National Schedules, with clear pricing based on Labour, Material, Plant and Standard Minute Values for tasks, the Schedules give the appropriate metrics for establishing efficiency, effectiveness and economy. Also, being a national schedule, the costs can be benchmarked based on percentage adjustments across the country.

Q:

Are the Schedules too complicated and will they not require a lot of administration?

A:

The National Schedules, to those who are not familiar with them, may seem more complicated than what they may have been used to. However, the Schedules are intended to cover a broad spectrum of construction tasks. They are designed to give Users pricing and measurement transparency and thus avoid conflict where lump sum prices cannot communicate the actual work undertaken. We can work with users to create composite rate items for repetitive/volume tasks where a clear database of past requirements exists. We also provide powerful software that supports the use of the schedules in an intuitive and easy to prepare format allowing estimates, quotes and invoices to be produced against assets and job orders raised. The bottom line is that the Schedules have been designed for accountability and transparency between the Parties.

Q:

Are the descriptions generally in accordance with the principles of the New Rules of Measurement?

A:

The current National Schedules are generally in accordance with SMM. However, the NRM is not yet available for maintenance works. When the RICS releases these in 2014, the National Schedules will be updated to reflect any changes.

Q:

What do I do if I have a technical query?

A:

We provide support through several channels. On our website we have a Technical Forum where issues of a technical nature can be aired and responses garnered either from our technical team or from other Users. We also address queries by telephone, email and we can provide both customised and general training where this may be necessary.

Q:

How do I tender using the National Schedules and how do I deal with price fluctuations over the period of the contract?

A:

The National Schedules give the User an overview of the tendering process in the Guidance Notes. Fluctuation can be dealt with in several ways and it is important for the Employer to take a realistic approach suited to their organisation. The National Schedules can be used with the JCT MTC contract where the latest updated version 1st August of each year, becomes the inflation adjusted basis for pricing. The employer can choose to apply an inflation index. In some cases, they may opt for a fix price contract though this is not always an appropriate strategy based on the nature and type of works.

Q:

Why am I charged VAT on e-books and the Look-up service?

A:

e-books and Look-ups are regarded by the HMRC as a luxury item and therefore VAT is applicable.