LAING Homes has been forced to draft in local contractors to bid for a £23 million schools scheme in north London after major firms turned their noses up at the deal.
HBG is the only national to make the shortlist and has been joined by Kent builder Neilcott and Essex firm McLaren.
The house builder has to upgrade two schools for Islington Borough Council under a land swap contract.
Three other sites occupied by special needs schools will be given to the developer for residential schemes.
But months of negotiations with preferred contractor Costain failed, forcing the client to go back out to tender.
A string of major contractors including Laing O'Rourke and Mowlem were asked to look at the deal but refused to bid.Work will start in May and finish in September 2006.