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BSF projects face the axe

Architects continue to bid for Building Schools for the Future (BSF) work, despite the government’s review of £2.2 billion of contracts, which could torpedo more than 100 projects

All contracts signed since 1 January are under scrutiny. Projects facing cuts could include EWA’s Whalley Range High School in Manchester, schools by Penoyre & Prasad and Walters and Cohen in Camden, a Scott Brownrigg scheme in Somerset, BDP’s Telford Academy (pictured) and Make’s Cambridge schools.

Robin Nicholson’s practice Edward Cullinan Architects is shortlisted for Hammersmith & Fulham’s £300 million BSF contract with Skanska. He said: ‘We’re keeping going, in so far as no one knows what the outcome of the inquiry will be… We’re fortunate that it’s only part of our work at the moment.’

FAT is preparing planning proposals for a Birmingham school refurbishment procured under BSF (AJ 12.03.10). However, director Sean Griffiths said anyone would ‘think twice’ before agreeing to speculative work on a BSF bid now.

Griffiths added: ‘We’re going through a very difficult economic period… People are still doing it because it is one of the few shows in town.’

Last week, the government injected £50 million into further education colleges, restarting up to 50 schemes that had stalled during the Learning and Skills Council funding debacle.

Griffiths said: ‘It’s not going to be big projects when it’s only £50 million. You could spend that on one of them.’

But Joanna van Heyningen of van Heyningen and Haward Architects was optimistic: ‘We don’t know how these decisions will get made, but there are in fact one or two much reduced schemes coming up for bids at the moment.’

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