The Highways Agency is attempting to work closer with specialist consultants by splitting its project support framework into smaller chunks.
It went out to tender on the four-year, £385M project support framework this week.
The agency hopes splitting the framework into five lots will allow smaller specialist consultants to bid for work directly. Previously, they had to be employed through bigger consultants who had the capability to work in all areas.
The lots cover traditional design, technology, quantity surveying, project management and traffic modelling. Five to eight consultants will be selected for each lot.
The most hotly contested is expected to be the technology-based lot where support for the £2bn managed motorway programme will sit. There is more confidence that this will escape government cuts than work stemming from traditional new build.
“Steady stream of work”
“We expect a steady stream of work from there as that is the way the network is moving,” said one bidder. “We are not so confident about the new build work in Lot 1.”
Tenders have been invited from Amey, Arup, Atkins, BWB, ChandlerKBS, Corderoy, EC Harris, Faber Maunsell, Gifford, Halcrow/Hyder, IBI, Jacobs, Mott MacDonald/Grontmij, Mouchel, MVA, PA Consulting, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Pell Frischmann, Scott Wilson, Serco, TPi, TRL, Turner& Townsend, URS, Waterman, WSP and WYG.
The agency was due to go out to tender in May. Bids are due in for the bulk of the work by 8 October with work starting in November.
Lot 4 covering project management is to be bid separately with an announcement due later this month.
The Agency is understood to be waiting to see what effect October’s spending review will have on its in-house project management capability.