A review of procurement processes on the controversial Thames Garden Bridge project will include the consultancy deal awarded to Arup, NCE can reveal.
London transport commissioner Peter Hendy called for the probe into the way design deals were awarded on the £175M scheme - and said he would publish the findings in full.
Hendy revealed the move in a letter to London Assembly Liberal Democrat leader Caroline Pidgeon following an investigation by NCE’s sister title Architects’ Journal.
“In response to your letter, and the general level of interest in the Garden Bridge, I have instructed a review of the overall process of procurement of the Garden Bridge design contracts, the findings of which I will publish in full,” wrote Hendy.
Heatherwick Studio was awarded the contract to design the central London bridge.
A freedom of information request from Architects’ Journal found that Heatherwick’s initial estimated total cost was £173,000, compared with fees of under £50,000 from the other shortlisted companies.
Hendy insisted these figures did not form part of the formal bid evaluation process. Instead, the contract was awarded based on submitted day rates, a figure that came to £52,000.
Hendy said in his letter that a consultant was sought to progress the technical design of the bridge to planning application readiness. This is the role Arup eventually won, after a tender process involving all 13 firms on Transport for London’s engineering project management framework.
Arup declined to comment on the letter. Heatherwick Studio had not responded to requests for comment as NCE published this story.
Engineers have questioned the cost of building the Thames Garden Bridge, which could start on site early next year.
Bouygues’ deal to build the bridge is not part of the review, NCE understands. The full text of the letter can be viewed on the Architects’ Journal website.