29 September 2008 | Paul Snell
The value of a renewed framework agreement to build schools is to double in value following the popularity of the original contract.
The national framework for design and build of academies, which is part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project, will help refurbish and rebuild 3,500 schools by 2020. The new deal will be advertised next year, when its value will increase to £4 billion.
Tim Byles, chief executive of Partnerships for Schools (PfS), the agency in charge of the project, said a new framework was needed to meet demand and secure work.
"The considerable uptake of projects within the national framework driven by acceleration and the success of the early procurements means we are now fast approaching the £2 billion OJEU limit of the existing framework."
So far 54 projects have been procured through the framework, with another 48 arranged through Local Education Partnerships - deals set up between local authorities, PfS and a private sector partner.
The current framework was launched in January 2007 and featured six contractors, which had identified local supply chains in four regions, and was drawn up to run until the beginning of 2011. The new OJEU notice will be placed in March 2009 and will feature 10 providers.
The BSF project has been dogged by delays - 350 schools were meant to open by the end of 2008, but only 12 are now expected to meet this deadline.
In May this year the procurement process was overhauled in an attempt to make savings of £250 million through reduced purchasing times and speedier supplier selection (Web news, 8 May 2008).