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Contractors to meet university to discuss new two-stage tender process

A £32 million Salford University project is set to be retendered between six shortlisted contractors, more than a year after they first qualified for the scheme, CN has learned.

Contractors have been called to a meeting tomorrow with the university, where they will be told of a new two-stage tender process and new tender documents for the Gateway Project will be issued.

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

Sources told CN last year that Bam Construct was favourite for the scheme; however, it was then revealed that a decision on the preferred bidder for the contract had been delayed, more than a year after the original OJEU notice valuing the scheme at between £32m and £38m was published in the summer of 2011.

The original tender process was then scrapped following a review of the scheme to reflect the university’s amalgamation of the School of Art & Design with the School of Media, Music & Performance.

A Salford University spokeswoman said: “We will issue revised tender documents next week and aim to appoint a main contractor by April.”

She confirmed the shortlisted contractors would be those invited to tender for the scheme a second time.

The university is re-running the same procurement with the shortlisted contractors from the original prequalification process who tendered last year. It has issued revised design documents to reflect fit out enhancements that will accommodate the co-location of the Schools of Art & Design and Music, Media & Performance as well as their supporting workshops previously accommodated in a separate building.

The university said that in order to optimize the benefits of these enhancements, it has requested these re-submissions include a two-stage process. The project has been renamed the Gateway Project due to its prominent location at the Crescent Station entrance to the campus.

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.

It also featured 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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