At Holsworthy in North West Devon, we have designed a new Foundation Stage Unit as a forthcoming extension to the new Childrens Centre. The construction of the Childrens Centre was a project that was also managed by NPS.
As well as being the designers, we are acting as client’s agent and project manager for our joint venture partner Devon County Council. In that role we ensure that the Council is getting the best possible value. For this project, rather than simply allocate the construction to a framework contractor, we felt it was more appropriate to test the prices in a dynamic market and establish a more up-to-date benchmark. To achieve this we put the contract up for competitive tender.
We received expressions of interest from 27 contractors, and selected five of them to price the project. The winning contractor’s price was a little lower than the Council’s budget, which had been based on standard framework rates. We used the excess to re-introduce some ‘nice to have’ design elements that we had previously eliminated in a value-engineering exercise.
The contractor had not previously worked for Devon County Council on this type of scheme, and the competitive tender process had put the project behind the original programme timetable. We worked with the contractor to revisit the programme’s critical path, and move some activities around so that the key dates could still be achieved.
Chris Dyer of the Council’s Children and Young Peoples Services expressed his appreciation of the outcome by writing to us to say, "This is a good example of pro-active project management. Well done and thank you."