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Ryder joins forces with top US practice for PFI hospital drive

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Paul Hyett's Ryder practice has formed an alliance with US architect HKS to target UK hospital PFI contracts as part of a commitment to the procurement method. The company formed by the alliance, RyderHKS, is a 50:50 joint venture between the two practices. The partnership followed an approach made by Ryder to a number of US-based healthcare practices. Ryder will continue in its own right and will deal with nonhealthcare projects.

The company is already bidding for PFI health projects in Newcastle upon Tyne with Amec and WS Atkins, and in Oxford with Catalyst. Both contracts are worth £100 million. The company is currently in negotiations on three other health projects across the UK.Hyett said: 'We are committed to making PFI work effectively. No one can seriously challenge the ambitions of those who wish to see more humane hospital environments that will enrich the experience of staff and visitors and improve patients' conditions. By linking with HKS to form RyderHKS, we bring a knowledge of best practice worldwide, combined with a substantial resume for the effective delivery of these complex building types.'

Ryder director Mark Thompson and HKS senior vice-president Craig Beale will manage RyderHKS. The company's board of directors will be composed of Ryder chairman Paul Hyett and director Peter Buchan, with HKS chief executive Ron Skaggs and director Ralph Hawkins.A number of HKS staff have already relocated to the Ryder offices in London and Newcastle, with more set to follow after Christmas. Thompson said: 'HKS is rated among the top healthcare practices worldwide, and has garnered more of the US health facilities market than any other firm in the past nine years. Key HKS staff members are already settling in on a variety of projects, bringing leading-edge expertise to the UK.'

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