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Barking and Dagenham seeks contractors for £1bn framework

Exclusive: Barking and Dagenham council’s regeneration company Be First is seeking contractors for a new £1bn framework.

The framework, which has more than 44 projects in the pipeline, will run over the next four years.

It will be divided into two lots: the first for smaller schemes with a value up to £20m, and the second for those of £10m upwards.

Speaking exclusively to Construction News, Be First’s commercial director Iain Ferguson said the company was looking for a small number of contractors to carry out work.

This includes the construction of 2,500 residential units along with supporting infrastructure such as schools, libraries or community centres.

“We’re not looking for developers to help us get going with it; we are looking for contractors who want to build quality product to time and to budget,” he said.

“We want to have a limited number of contractors who end up on the framework. This will not be a framework with six or seven contractors on it; it will be substantially less than that. They will then be able to see a volume of work that’s coming through.

“Each contract will be subject of a mini-competition, but it won’t last very long.

“We have the benefit of two key assets: we own a lot of the land so we’re not having to worry about whether and when and how we get land, and we have access to funding which others don’t.”

Mr Ferguson said that, while Be First only wanted a small number of firms on the framework, it aimed to attract contractors of different scales.

“In the larger lot we’ll be looking to work with the larger contractors; some of the sites will be around £100m and certainly a few will be between £50m and £100m,” he said.

“But there are some in the smaller range and we would like to work with not only the small and regional contractors, but also encourage contractors that live and work in the borough to put their name forward.”

The commercial boss told CN that Be First was looking for an “open book” approach from contractors and would not tolerate practices such as late payment.

“Contractors should expect from us that we should pay them on time, and as a consequence of that we will expect them to pay the supply chain on time.

“We need to ensure there is an open door for the supply chain to come and speak to us.

“At the end of the day, one of the important things for us is on-time delivery and it will be very easy to spot issues in the supply chain if the main contractor cannot supply appropriately.”

Applications are open until 9 July, with appointments due to be announced by the end of October 2018.

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