The Education Funding Agency has announced it will launch a £5bn regional framework for school refurbishment jobs worth up to £10m.
The four-year Regional Framework will be divided into five lots, comprising London and the South-east, the South-west, the Midlands, the North-west and the North-east.
Eight contractors will be appointed to the London and the South-east lot, which will be worth up to £1.75bn, while the other lots will range from £750m to £1bn and have places for seven contractors each.
Contractors bidding for the new framework will have to have a minimum financial turnover threshold of £25m in each region they bid for.
In July, three of the North-east’s largest building contractors, Esh Group, Surgo Construction and Tolent, hit out at frameworks after they decided not to bid for the new £4bn EFA Contractors’ Framework as a consortium, believing they could not compete with the larger national contractors despite having a combined turnover of £250m.
Esh Group chief executive Brian Manning welcomed the new framework for regional contractors. Mr Manning said: “Anything like this is positive news for regional players but it is a pity it is just refurbishment work – some new build work in there would make it even more attractive.”
The Regional Framework will be used mainly for refurbishment and remodelling works, including window and roof replacements and asbestos removal work, as well as some small new-build projects.
Surgo Construction chairman Ian Walker was also supportive of the new framework, but said the bidding process would need to allow regional contractors to “prove their worth”.
Mr Walker said: “The key to the success of this framework will be, I believe, for government to prove its commitment to growing local economies by ensuring that regional contractors get the opportunity to [show] their experience and quality of the service they provide in this sector.”
Projects procured through the framework will range from £200,000 to £10m, but the majority of jobs will be worth £3m to £5m.
The Department for Education will launch the tender process on 25 November and the new framework will become operational in July 2014.
A supplier engagement day will be held in Sheffield on 18 October to explain the tender process. To attend, contractors should register through the e-tendering portal.
Bidders will be allowed to apply for more than one region, but will be required to demonstrate the minimum financial threshold of £25m for each region they apply for.
The framework will be used for the EFA’s capital programmes, including free schools, academies and basic need. However, it will also be made available to other bodies such as local authorities, academies trusts and individual schools.
- Lot 1: North-east England, worth up to £750m. Covers Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire and Humberside.
- Lot 2: North-west England, worth up to £750m. Covers Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.
- Lot 3: South-west England, worth up to £750m. Covers Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
- Lot 4: Midlands, worth up to £1bn. Covers Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
- Lot 5: London and the South-east, worth up to £1.75bn. Covers London, Essex, Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.