Chester Storyhouse
Chester's £30m Storyhouse Theatre was delivered under the NWCH's current high-value framework

Big names shortlisted for £1.5bn NWCH framework

Charlie Schouten

Major national and regional contractors have been shortlisted for the North West Construction Hub’s £1.5bn high-value framework, with incumbents joining new bidders across three lots.

The NWCH issued tender documents for a refreshed framework in January this year, with significant changes, including procuring across three lots.

This will replace the current high value framework, due to expire later this year; this is held by Bam, Galliford Try, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Morgan Sindall, and Wates, and covers projects across the North West worth more than £9m.

Under the refreshed framework, the three lots are split by value: the first covers projects between £8m and £15m; the second covers works ranging between £15m and £35m; and the third includes works worth more than £35m.

Invitations to tender were issued to contractors on 13 July, and many of the region’s major construction firms have been shortlisted.

Among those understood to be shortlisted for all three lots are Morgan Sindall, Vinci, Kier, Wates, Graham, Galliford Try, Bam, and Laing O’Rourke.

Bouygues is understood to be shortlisted for lots two and three, while a number of companies have opted to bid for lots one and two only. These include Eric Wright, Willmott Dixon, ISG, Seddon, Interserve, and Bowmer & Kirkland.

Other companies understood to be on the shortlist for the framework include Robertson and Lendlease.

Styles & Wood is also believed to have considered a bid for the framework but ultimately decided against doing so, while Bardsley put in an unsuccessful bid. Engie, formerly Keepmoat Regeneration, was also understood to be considering a bid when the framework initially went out to tender.

For the first lot, 27 firms put themselves forward, and 16 have been invited to tender; for the second, 20 firms bid for the framework and 16 have been shortlisted; while for the third, 13 companies bid and 12 have been shortlisted.

Following the shortlisting, eight firms will be awarded a place on lots one and two, while six will be awarded a place on lot three.

The North West Construction Hub declined to comment on the shortlist but said it was “delighted with the response to the renewal of the high value framework which saw significant interest from a wide range of companies”.

The procurement for the refreshed framework was hit with some difficulty after tender documents had to be reissued in early February. This was understood to be due to issues with language used in the documents which would leave NWCH open to a legal challenge once any contracts were awarded.

Since its establishment in 2009, the NWCH has delivered around 300 projects for around 80 clients, covering a construction value of more than £1.5bn. Projects have been completed across Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, and Cheshire through the framework.

NWCH is also looking to reprocure its medium value framework, which covers projects between £2m and £9m, after starting soft market testing earlier this year.

The contractors currently on the medium value framework are Bam, Conlon, Galliford Try, ISG, Keepmoat, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Seddon, Vinci, Wates, and Willmott Dixon.

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