More and more education providers are using procurement frameworks for construction and refurbishment projects.

In the nine years since we first launched the schools and community buildings framework, we’ve helped to procure works on everything from the construction of a new £30million secondary school, to the painting and decorating of classrooms.
And interest is still growing – so much so that we’re expanding the scope of the framework to include infrastructure works from this autumn.

Why procure through a framework?
Speaking to our clients, they recognise the value of a framework’s in-built flexibility in procurement routes, and the ability to make a “fast track” appointment of a supplier.
This can lead to significant cost, time and effort savings at the pre-construction phase, and it helps to establish an efficient and fruitful working relationship between client and supplier, meaning more value can be derived throughout the life of the project.
For example, the iconic Degree Apprentice Centre at the University of Warwick in Coventry is the result of such a partnership. Kier weas appointed to the £10 million assignment involving a three-storey build on an old hardcore car park, with an IT teaching lab, meeting rooms, nine teaching rooms, an open-plan breakout area and a ground-floor science lab.
The striking design brings to life the client’s vision, and contains innovative solutions developed through close working between Kier and the client’s design team. Providing a bridge from education to industry employment, the building now accommodates 60 to 90 students in state-of-the-art, technology-enabled seminar rooms and multi-functional teaching rooms.
The project was completed on budget and on time within 18 months of inception, including 54 weeks of onsite construction.
Elsewhere, we partnered The Highland Council with Morrison Construction for the refurbishment of the grade-B listed Inverness High School. Built in 1937, the art deco school was in need of a revamp and modernisation.
Intrusive surveys revealed structural defects, so the scope of the project had to be widened to address these. The relationship between the two partners enabled this to happen seamlessly, leading to time and cost benefits in terms of procurement and programme.
Fourteen classrooms, offices and a brand-new state-of-the-art biomass energy centre were built during the first phase of the project, with works having to be delivered in a live school environment. To ensure they could do so effectively, Morrison laid the foundations for an excellent relationship with the school and the pupils by taking part in sponsored walks, attending career evenings and donating school football strips.
The Highland Council has also recently reused our framework to procure Kier to build the new £15million Ness Castle Primary School in Inverness.

Our new framework
With our current framework Schools and Community Buildings 2 (SCB2) coming to an end this autumn, we’re replacing it with Public Buildings 3 (PB3) – renamed as it has been expanded to deliver infrastructure projects, including student accommodation, with six lots instead of four.
We’ve also split refurbishment from new build in the lower project value bands to help with ease of procurement, and to encourage local, specialist firms to bid to be on our supplier list.
While looking at suppliers for the framework, we’ve done so with the country’s net zero goals in mind, so have assessed their capability for delivering low energy and zero carbon buildings, including any prior BREEAM credentials.
Capability in delivering Special Educational Needs Schools has also been factored in to ensure we have the right skills within the framework for such projects.
More details about the new PB3 framework – including the names of suppliers – will be announced on LHC’s website over the next few weeks. Please do contact us to find out how we might be able to help you find the perfect delivery partner for your project.

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