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Schools scheme gets little interest

CONTRACTS

ONLY two consortia have made the shortlist for a £60 million schools deal in Scotland.

John Dickie Construction, renamed Rok Dickie after being bought by the Devonbased contractor last week, has recorded an early success as part of a consortium led by project management firm Precept.

The Precept team, which also includes FM specialist Mitie, is up against Scottish contractor Robertson for Dundee City Council's eight-school Public Private Partnership programme.

According to a source at one major contractor, the deal has struggled to attract interest from major firms. He said: 'Miller and Laing O'Rourke both looked at it but didn't submit prequalifications.Between six and eight schools projects are due out in Scotland over the next 12 months, valued at between £60 and £150 million.We are having to pick and choose.'

The council had originally hoped to invite three consortia to tender.A source close to the project team admitted the scheme might have suffered from a busy Scottish education market but insisted that the response had been 'satisfactory' Under the 30-year contract the winning consortium will build seven new schools and refurbish and extend an eighth.

Six new primary schools will be provided, mostly around the edge of the city, and a new secondary school is also planned for the Broughty Ferry area. An additional secondary school will be created through the amalgamation and extension of two existing Catholic schools.

Community swimming pools are included in the proposals for the two secondary schools, which together will accommodate around 2,250 pupils.

Tender documents are due to be issued this week but the shortlist will not be agreed by the council until the end of August. A preferred bidder is expected next March.