TENANTS in south London are the latest to benefit from the Government's Decent Homes initiative, with 15,000 houses due to be revamped under the plan.
Greenwich Borough Council has lined up nine firms for the £120 million contract, which has been broken down into four geographic areas - west, central, east and south - worth £30 million each.
The council has asked Higgins, Kier, Apollo, Connaught, Lovell, Mears, Makers, Mullally and its own direct labour organisation to work up bids.
All nine are bidding for the four areas.
The council wants to appoint at least two firms for the overall work.
One of the bidders said: 'It's an unusual tender. Normally we just bid for the bits we want to go for. It makes it easier as you can be job specific.
'As it is we are bidding for the whole lot, which seems a bit of a waste of time and energy.'
Bids have to be back in by July 22 but the council is not expected to choose its partners until the autumn, with work starting at the beginning of 2006.
Another bidder said: 'There will be site visits, interviews, references and meetings.
It's a long-winded and very expensive process but the massive amount of work involved is worth it for the reward.
'You have to work very hard and know about partnering.The same lot are winning work time and again and those that aren't will suffer, with no work for the next few years.'
Further north, Epping Forest District Council in Essex has given contractors until August 12 to request to participate in a £15 million Decent Homes deal.
The council wants to revamp 1,800 homes over 10 years.