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Government launches search for a new Georgian Embassy design

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has launched a competition to design a new British Embassy in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.

Announced as an OJEU Notice, the competition calls for a complete professional team to deliver the embassy building from RIBA stages A to L. Appointment will be by competitive interview.

This is, however, 'subject to final choice of procurement route'. This is because the FCO is looking for guidance from the competing teams on the most suitable approach.

'There may be a number of ways of delivering the building,' said Malcolm Reading of Malcolm Reading and Associates, the client advisor. 'It may be partnering, or a local contractor, or a UK contractor.

'We want to benefit from the input from the teams. There may be good and bad ways to procure the building.'

Estimated cost of the project is £10 million, to include a building of 1,600m2 plus a residence of 400m2. This is above average size for a British embassy.

There has been a British Embassy in Georgia since 1995, following the independence of the former Soviet republic but it is, said Reading, 'inadequate'.

He stressed that the FCO was looking for an entire team and that this was not a design-led competition, but said, 'There will be some conceptual response as part of the interview process.'

The deadline for requests for documents is 1 February 2007 and the FCO will shortlist five or six teams.

In the few hours since the notice was published yesterday, the FCO has received about a dozen requests for information. Reading said that some of these were from 'big names', but would not disclose details.

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by Ruth Slavid

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