13 February 2003 | David Arminas
The National Assembly for Wales has named a consortium led by Taylor Woodrow Construction as the preferred bidder in a design-and-build tender for its delayed new national Parliament building.
Edwina Hart, Welsh minister for finance, local government and communities, told a national assembly session that government contracts managers will work with Taylor Woodrow with a view to awarding the contract to build the structure in June.
The consortium includes the Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP), the architect sacked from the project in 2001. Hart and Lord Richard Rogers were at loggerheads over cost increases from the original £13 million to an estimated £47 million.
Hart told assembly members that the consortium design is based on the original work by RRP, whom she said is a respected architect. But it is Taylor Woodrow, and not RRP, that is taking direct responsibility for the risk of cost overruns.
Originally, Hart was to decide on a shortlist of two companies and award the construction contract at a later date.
David Maclean Group, the only other bidder, would not comment on the deal. But it would be in line for contract discussions if the Welsh government and Taylor Woodrow could not agree on a contract.
Tony Merrill, managing director of Merrill Commercial Consultants, said the move to appointing a preferred bidder is increasingly common, especially in government.
"It's down to cost reasons because it's expensive to negotiate with two or more clients on a shortlist," he said. "This is especially true on complex projects where cost overruns mean politicians will be jumping all over those in charge."
The building, originally announced in 1998, is now likely to be finished in 2005.