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BBC shows preference for commercial practices with new design framework

The BBC has made its intentions clear about the type of 'value for money' architectural practice it wants for future construction projects after unveiling the names on its new design framework agreement.

The former RIBA Client of the Year has picked BDP and TP Bennett as its two design practices - along with six other cost, management and engineering consultancies - to handle the corporation's medium-sized developments across the UK.

Observers will no doubt see these appointments as an attempt by the BBC to move towards more commercially driven practices.

The corporation will not want to repeat some of the 'mistakes' of the Broadcasting House redevelopment - originally headed by MacCormac Jamieson Prichard - nor the debacle over its new headquarters in Glasgow involving David Chipperfield.

Part of an EU procurement process, the BBC initially invited 25 companies to tender for the contracts for its design framework agreement in November 2005. Shortlisted practices Atkins and Capita Symonds failed to make the cut.

Tony Wilson, head of workplace solutions at the corporation, said: 'We're looking forward to working with this strong line-up of suppliers.

'The new framework agreements give us flexibility to procure the specialist services we need, while also allowing us to get maximum value for money.'

Meanwhile Faber Maunsell and Jacobs have been appointed as the approved structural and service engineers on the new framework.

by Richard Waite

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