Procurement starts for Manchester Town Hall main contractor

Manchester City Council has formally started the procurement of a main contractor for the £330m Our Town Hall project, with more than 80 work packages up for grabs over the scheme’s four-year duration.

The council has issued an OJEU prior information notice for the project, signalling that tender documents to appoint a main contractor will be issued in early 2018. A main contractor will be selected in autumn.

One contractor will be appointed to act as principal contractor for the refurbishment work to the town hall, which is estimated to cost between £150m and £190m.

The principal contractor will join a professional team which already includes Mace as project manager; Ramboll as structural engineer; Purcell as architect; Planit IE as landscape architect; building surveyor Arup; and Faithful + Gould as quantity surveyor.

It is understood that designs are currently at RIBA stage two, with the project team’s co-located office already up and running.

Manchester City Council also appointed Paul Candelent, formerly regional director for the North and Midlands at Capita, as its project director for the scheme in March this year.

The winning contractor will be responsible for managing and procuring the project’s works packages. The council expects there will be more than 80 separate packages to procure, typically ranging between £100,000 and £10m, with certain packages costing as much as £40m.

The principal contractor will also be responsible for planning, cost control, and supply chain management.

Sources close to the process suggested the council would favour a contractor that focussed on direct employment and apprenticeships in its tender responses.

The council said it expected to hold a launch event for the project early next year. The target date for the completion of any refurbishment, with the building fully re-occupied and functional, is 2023.

The building is due to be vacated in January 2018. Staff and councillors currently based in the building will move for the duration of the works into the Town Hall Extension, with most moving out by Christmas, while the Lord Mayor and his office will move to Central Library from early January 2018.

The Coroner’s Court is relocating to around 11,000 sq ft in the Royal Exchange on St Ann’s Square from spring 2018 and will continue to operate in the Town Hall until then.

In total, the Our Town Hall project is expected to cost £330m.

Laing O’Rourke previously delivered the four-year transformation of Manchester’s Central Library and Town Hall Extension, alongside Ryder Architecture and Ian Simpson Architects.

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