The Education Funding Agency has started the search for contractors for its £5bn regional schools framework and lowered the turnover threshold for consortia bidders to £10m each.
The four-year framework will be divided into six regional lots and cover refurbishment works worth up to £12m.
A prior information notice in October revealed that all contractors bidding for the new framework would need a minimum financial turnover threshold of £25m in each region they bid for.
However, the EFA has now said that for consortium bids, which may have up to five members, each individual contractor must only meet a turnover threshold of £10m.
The overall turnover threshold for single bidders and consortia remains £25m.
Speaking to Construction News last month, Esh Group chief executive Brian Manning raised concerns that the £25m minimum turnover threshold could present problems for contractors in regions such as the North-east, where building firms have suffered due to lower volumes of construction work in recent years.
The £5bn framework will cover the East of England, London and the South-east, North-east, North-west, South-west and the West Midlands, ranging in value from £500m to £1.5bn.
Contractors can bid for more than one lot of the framework, provided they meet the minimum overall turnover threshold for a single bidder or consortium of £25m in each region they bid for.
Since the prior information notice was released, the EFA has added an additional lot – the East of England – and adjusted the values of each lot to account for it (see box).
The framework will be used mainly for refurbishment and remodelling works worth £3m to £7m, but could include projects ranging from £200,000 to £12m.
It will cover the EFA’s capital programmes, including free schools, university technical colleges, studio schools and basic need-funded work.
The EFA intends to appoint seven contractors to each lot of the framework, with the exception of London and the South-east, to which it will appoint eight. It will invite 14 to 16 contractors to tender for each lot.
Bidders’ days will be held in London on 5 December and in Sheffield on 11 December. To attend a session, contractors must register through the e-tendering system by 5pm on 2 December.
Prequalification questionnaires must be submitted to the EFA by 9 January 2014 via the e-tendering system.
Lot 1: North-east, £500m
- Covering Durham, Northumberland, Tees Valley, Tyne and Wear, Yorkshire and Humberside
Lot 2: East of England, £750m
- Covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Peterborough, Rutland, Suffolk
Lot 3: London and South-east, £1.5bn
- Covering Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of White, Kent, London, Surrey, West Sussex
Lot 4: South-west of England, £500m
- Covering Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, West of England, Wiltshire
Lot 5: West Midlands, £875m
- Covering Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Telford and Wrekin, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire
Lot 6: North-west of England, £875m
- Covering Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside