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Big Fish - 31 January 2008

Make’s John Prevc wonders if some of the stress could be taken out of the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme

What process consumes the efforts of six teams comprising financiers, contractors, architects, and a huge number of consultants and specialists designing 30 buildings for 18 months, then throws 25 of the 30 designs into the bin? It’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) of course.
Make was recently part of the unsuccessful Skanska-led team bidding for the Kent County Council BSF programme. The team included Atkins, dRMM, DSDHA and FLACQ.
We invested between two and eight architects at different stages of the process, all of whom were
100 per cent committed to the project. The bid effectively consumed 25 architects for a period of 12 months.
The capital investment involved in delivering such a bid runs into the millions of pounds. But the question of whether it will result in more considered, qualitydriven contractors is unclear.
I certainly believe that our bid produced exceptional designs which would have delivered the education needed for each of the individual schools we considered.
But is it worth going through the stress of this process? Personally, the answer has to be yes! To give up what is one of the most rewarding building types would be a travesty. But how we get there must change.

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