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Confusion as Glasgow George Square contest 'relaunched'

Glasgow City Council has been accused of causing confusion after it decided to ‘amend’ its procurement process for the overhaul of George Square at the last minute

Having already extended its deadline three times, the authority took the surprise decision yesterday (25 September) to put back the submission date for pre-qualification questionnaire by 31 days. The shock move came just hours before the forms were due in.

The council said it had taken the steps ‘to clarify certain issues relating to this procurement’ and to readvertise an amended OJEU notice as a ‘design contest’.

One ‘contestant’ described the situation as ‘bloody frustrating’ and another said they were ‘upset and confused’.

A practice which had been expecting to submit its documents for the £15 mllion project before receiving the council email (see below) told the AJ: ‘The competency of the whole process is questionable and shows a lack of courtesy to tenderers.

‘People have been working on this solidly for weeks. Now to change the process one day before submission is ridiculous and shows a lack of respect for the work that has been done.’

Six years ago a previous competition to overhaul the square was famously ditched by the council. Six UK practices, including Studio KAP, RMJM and Block/Nord were selected by the authority to prepare a second stage design submission for a new café for George Square before the contest was scrapped.

The council is seeking a designer-led, multi-disciplinary team to spruce up the city’s key civic square in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The plans would see 13 monuments - except the cenotaph - temporarily moved elsewhere in the city.

A council spokesman said: ‘The council has not changed its approach. It was always going to be a design contest, but the original advert we issued wasn’t explicit on that point. We’re simply issuing a clarification and we will reissue the OJEU notice with appropriate wording.

He added: ‘None of the tender questions are changing and none of the companies which have so far expressed an interest is being asked to redo any work. However, we will continue to hold these expressions of interest and anyone who wants to revise submissions may do so.’

Email form Glasgow City Council to tenderers (25 September)

Good afternoon, As you will be aware, the Council has chosen to extend the return period for this PQQ by a further 31 days. The Council has taken this decision for a number of reasons, primarily in order to clarify certain issues relating to this procurement. As such the Council felt it important for the procurement timescales to be extended.

Bidders are now asked to be aware of the following clarifications relating to this procurement exercise:

1. The council is seeking a multi-disciplinary team to provide a design solution for a redeveloped George Square. As part of this procurement, it intends to hold a competition inviting the entry of designs to be judged by a jury.  Accordingly, this procurement exercise is considered to be a Design Contest in terms of Regulation 33 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (“the Regulations”).

2. In accordance with the Regulations, the Council intends to publish an amended Contract Notice to clarify that this procurement is a Design Contest. This will provide additional information to bidders regarding the procurement process.

To be clear, bidders who have already expressed interest in the activity (and those who have uploaded responses) DO NOT NEED TO RE-REGISTER INTEREST when the amended Contract Notice is published.

All existing expressions of interest and uploaded responses will continue on and be assessed along with any new submissions made between now and the revised closing date.

If any bidder wishes to withdraw from the process on the basis of either the clarification provided above or as is published in the amended Contract Notice, then they are permitted to do so. (as you are at any time)

Finally, bidders are asked to note that there is and will be NO CHANGE to any of the questions required for response to the PQQ.

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