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Salford Uni to retender £38m arts block

Exclusive: A £38 million arts block is set to be retendered by Salford University before the end of the year, as it looks to increase the floor space of the new building.

Sources told CN that Bam Construct was considered favourite to win the deal after the original OJEU notice valuing the scheme at between £32m and £38m was published in the summer of 2011.

CN revealed that Bam Construct, Laing O’Rourke, Lend Lease, Shepherd Construction, Vinci and Willmott Dixon were in the running for the scheme in February this year.

Wates is believed to have been interested in the scheme but pulled out.

The contract award was then delayed from an expected award date in the spring, when a Salford University spokeswoman told CN tenders were still being evaluated but that the project would be going ahead.

But the university has now confirmed it will retender the scheme later this year to reflect an increased floor space, while aiming to keep the job within the same tender price.

A spokeswoman said: “We are currently reviewing the internal design of the new arts building and plan to issue new tender documents by the end of the year.

“The review is taking place to reflect the amalgamation of the School of Art & Design with the School of Media, Music & Performance.

“Staff and students from these schools will be working together more closely and the building’s design will need to reflect this increased collaboration.

“We expect work to start on the new building by the summer of 2013.”

Among the contractors working in the region are Bam Construct, which has been awarded the £100m deal to build Manchester City’s new training facilities; Laing O’Rourke, which is on site on the £95m transformation of the Manchester town hall and library; and Willmott Dixon, which is currently working on the new Irish World Heritage Centre where it expects to win a second phase of work subject to funding.

The original design for the Salford arts block included works for a seven-storey arts building with recording studios, flexible theatre, performance rooms and cafe, as well as a new-build art and design workshop and redevelopment of open space around the building and the university square.

Construction is expected to take two years on the Salford scheme. It was designed by architect Stride Treglown and structural engineer Gifford and was granted planning permission in August.


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