Balfour Beatty has signed an exclusive agreement with three design giants which will see them prioritised for consultancy work tendered by the contractor over the next five years.
Atkins, Mott MacDonald and WSP have been chosen for the contractor’s UK strategic design consultant partnership.
Under the deal, Balfour Beatty will use the three design consultants almost exclusively for all construction projects it carries out over the next five years.
These three firms will get first option on all design opportunities that come up on Balfour projects, with the contractor looking further afield only if these three firms do not have the capability.
The UK’s biggest contractor will share its pipeline of work with the three consultants, who will in turn provide Balfour with a list of their capabilities.
Balfour Beatty managers will then pick which of the three firms is best placed to carry out each job.
All three have signed up to a general set of terms and conditions under the partnership, with only project-specific arrangements to be agreed when the consultant is selected.
Balfour Beatty told Construction News this would save a number of weeks of contractual discussions on each project.
The new partnership will be led by Balfour Beatty’s Robin Bashford, who previously held a leading role in the group’s commercial team.
Balfour has a longstanding relationship with the three consultants on a number of projects across the UK.
Mott MacDonald is currently the design partner for Balfour Beatty’s HS2 joint venture with Vinci.
WSP has worked with the contractor as design partner on a number of infrastructure projects such as the £70m A21 dualling project, while 2014 saw Balfour Beatty sell consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff to WSP in a deal worth £800m.
Balfour has a track record of working with Atkins on a number of rail and road jobs, with the companies having bid in joint venture for the project manager role on Crossrail.
The contractor was also part of the Connect Plus consortium for the M25 alongside Atkins, before the consultant sold its share in the partnership last December.
Balfour Beatty managing director for major projects Stephen Tarr said: “This partnership will draw on decades of industry experience and combine it with the modern-day technological expertise of our engineers and designers to deliver a truly lean, expert, trusted and safe way of working together as an industry.”