NWCH pulls tender process for £1.5bn framework

The North West Construction Hub has terminated the bidding process for its £1.5bn high value framework only a month after issuing tender documents.

In a statement, NWCH said the tender was being pulled due to “a number of issues raised” in connection with the tender process, although refused to elaborate on the reasons when contacted by Place North West.

“It has unfortunately become necessary to terminate the current tender process with immediate effect and re-issue documentation in a revised form under a new tender,” said NWCH.

“We assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly and we will do everything we can to minimise any lost time and effort.

“Changes to the ‘request to participate’ documents when re-issued will be minimal, but are critical to the integrity of our processes.

“May we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by this necessary action.”

Contractors contacted by Place North West suggested some of the language used in the documents would leave NWCH open to a legal challenge once any contracts were awarded.

It is understood the documents will be re-issued via The Chest procurement portal as soon as possible to minimise any delay to the procurement process.

Tender documents for the framework were issued by procurement lead Manchester City Council in January, following soft market testing last year.

In a departure from its previous iteration, the framework is being procured across three lots: the first covering works between £8m and £15m; the second covering works ranging between £15m and £35m; and the third including works worth more than £35m.

It is expected that 16 firms will be invited to tender for the first two lots, and 12 will be invited to tender for the third lot.

The existing framework, which was awarded in 2014 across two lots, has six construction partners: Bam; Galliford Try; Kier; Laing O’Rourke; Morgan Sindall; and Wates.

Bam covers design & build works only, while Kier covers construction only. The other four contractors have worked across both design & build and construction.

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.

The NWCH also has two other lots: medium value, covering works between £2m and £9m; and a low value lot, covering works between £500,000 and £2m. These lots are divided into regions, and include both national and regional contractors such as Conlon, ISG, Keepmoat, Seddon, and Willmott Dixon.

NWCH plans to hold market testing events for the reprocurement of the medium-value framework later this month.

NWCH declined to comment. Manchester City Council has been contacted for comment.

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