The government is to spend another £4 billion on new academies across England and plans to introduce design standards to ensure consistent quality
The extra funding triples the Partnerships for Schools (PfS) agency’s existing academy budget and chief executive Tim Byles said it would ’certainly’ provide more work for architects. Contractors are being invited to bid for a position as an approved supplier in an OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) announcement today (6 March).
Up to 24 approved contractor-led teams, with architects, will be selected and will start bidding for individual projects from the end of the year.
‘The new contractor framework offers a great opportunity for all sectors of the construction industry,’ said Byles. ‘[It] will enable contractors and suppliers from across the country to get involved in a scheme that has a predictable flow of work, supported by direct grant government funding.’
He insisted the programme was well supported by banks, that the extra funding had been planned for some time and was not a response to the current economic situation.
Byles also said that the PfS had been in discussions with CABE and plans to create minimum design standards to ensure the quality of new academies keeps rising.
The PfS took over responsibility for the wider Building Schools for the Future programme in 2006. It has built 127 academies so far and has another 100 in the pipeline. It hopes the total built will reach 400 by the end of the new four-year procurement phase.
This time round the process has been split to create northern and southern sectors in the hope of encouraging applications from regional contractors as well as the usual national players. Up to 12 contractors will be selected for each region.