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Strong shortlist for university deal

Six of the top 10 contractors invited to tender for Birmingham City University campus project

Six of the country’s 10 biggest contractors are on a heavyweight shortlist for the £100 million contract to build a new city centre campus for Birmingham City University.

Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke, Carillion, BAM Construct, Vinci and Sir Robert McAlpine have all been invited to tender for the job, worth between £50m and £100m.

Among those understood to have missed the cut are Sisk, Wates, Shepherd Construction and Willmott Dixon. Competition between the remaining firms is set to be fierce given their collective financial clout and their experience in the education sector.

Several of the contractors also have strong reputations in the Midlands. A Bam Construct spokesman said: “Given our successful track record in Birmingham, especially with education, it’s obviously a major contract, an important client and a project we’d really love to build.”

Phase one will cover 28,000 sq m bordering New Canal Street, which must be operational when the university leaves its current Gosta Green site by September 2013.

The bidders will also be spurred on by the promise of further work on additional phases of the project, which could take the development to 55,000 sq m.

Work to be carried out under the phase one contract includes site preparation and enabling works, design and construction, fit-out and external works.

A separate £1.25m contract covering site preparation prior to main construction, including asbestos removal and alterations to road layout, is currently at procurement stage.

The campus, which is being designed by Associated Architects, will house the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, the Faculty of Performance Media and English, a library and modern teaching spaces.

The development is also intended to incorporate a concert hall, space for working with business, a food court and a retail centre.

Mace has been appointed as project manager. Contractors are expected to start work on site on 2 August 2010, with completion scheduled for 31 June 2013.