The procurement of 42 capitally funded priority schools has drawn closer after contractors were invited to a bidding day with the Education Funding Agency this week, Construction News has learned.
The £2.4 billion programme is split into two pots with £2bn of work to be procured through private finance, and £400m worth of capitally funded projects, which will be procured through the academies framework.
The schools programme has suffered massive delays after an announcement on the list of projects to receive funding under the programme was deferred from December 2011 to May 2012, when £400m was added to the original £2bn pot for 42 schools most in need of repairs.
Contractors on the academies framework will attend a bidders’ day this week where details of the first batches of schools under the £400m programme most in need of repair are expected to be revealed, following the announcement of the 42 schools by education secretary Michael Gove in May.
Contractors approached by CN warned that they had been told not to discuss the details of the bidders’ day, although a Department for Education spokeswoman confirmed to CN on Friday that the event would take place this week.
The 42 schools are expected to be split into eight batches of between four and 10 schools on a fast-track procurement basis, with the batches spread out to ensure the market is not overstretched when PFI schools come to market from December.
Contractors are set to learn more about the regional batching of schools, the legal framework for their procurement and the baseline standards for schools, as set out by the Department for Education last week.
Procurement of the £2bn PFI batches of schools is not expected to commence until December, with the government now expected to make an announcement on a new private finance model around the time of the Autumn Statement on 5 December.
The 42 schools (see image) will be procured through the academies framework with bidders including Balfour Beatty, Bam Construct, Sir Robert McAlpine and Wates among the big names qualified to battle it out for work.
The news will provide a boost to the education sector, just a week after new baseline design standards were set out by the department to show contractors standards around areas such as cost and the environment, upon which they should base designs for new PFI priority schools.
Sector 1: North and the Midlands:
Balfour Beatty Construction; Bam Construction; Lend Lease; Carillion Construction; Clugston Construction; Interserve Projects Services; Kier Regional; Shepherd Construction; Sir Robert McAlpine; Vinci Construction; Wates; Willmott Dixon
Apollo Property Services; Balfour Beatty Construction; Bam Construction; Bovis Lend Lease; Carillion Construction; Interserve Projects Services; JB Leadbitter & Co; Kier Regional; Rydon Group; Sir Robert McAlpine; Wates; Willmott Dixon