THE RACE to win one of the largest prime contracts to be let so far by the Ministry of Defence has been whittled down from 10 firms to just four.
Some 22 firms originally registered interest in the Lucknow Barracks scheme in Wiltshire, which is worth between £32 million and £42 million.
Ten firms eventually prequalified for the deal but now just Carillion, Kvaerner, Laing and Taylor Woodrow remain in the game. One of these will be dropped, with the remaining trio invited to work up bids.
The unlucky half-dozen were Amec, Balfour Beatty, Ballast Wiltshier, Kier, Morrison, and Tilbury Douglas.
The four were chosen after a two-day selection process carried out two weeks ago.
Three firms have already been selected by the MoD's team at Lucknow but, in accordance with the rules of its procurement arm, Defence Estates (DE), this has to be ratified by DE's head office in Sutton Coldfield.
The unsuccessful bidder will be told by September 7 and the remaining three bidders will be invited to tour the site on September 20 before going away to submit tenders.
A winner is set to be named on February 21, 2001, and work on site is due to start in the spring. McNicholas Plc has the demolition contract, due to finish in December.
The job involves rebuilding the army barracks to provide accommodation for 660 personnel and has been expanded to include work at the neighbouring officers' mess at Moolton.
n A decision on who has won a £10 million prime contract to build a primary healthcare centre at Tidworth in Hampshire has been delayed by a month. The MoD has asked the three bidders - Balfour Beatty, Mowlem and Taylor Woodrow - to come up with more detail on a number of financing and contractual issues.