After beating off stiff competition, international cost consultants, Faithful+Gould, as part of a consortium led by architects, Howarth Litchfield Partnership (HLP), have been awarded the first phase of a major redevelopment scheme to design and build a new landmark further education college in Bishop Auckland servicing south and west Co Durham.
The contract, which will operate as a partnering agreement, was won after completing a two-stage tender with a final interview.
The new building of over 7,500sq m, will replace the existing 1950s college which has reached the end of its useful life. It is a particularly challenging project both for the design team and the contractor as the existing college remains fully operational whilst the building work for the new main college is carried out.
Plans have been approved that will enable the entire campus to be redeveloped in subsequent phases to house state of the art quality flexible teaching accommodation to support the excellent range of courses and high quality of teaching at the Bishop Auckland College. The new building will incorporate high levels of IT in all teaching areas as well as excellent vocational training suites. The building will incorporate the latest thinking on sustainable design, so that optimum running and maintenance costs can be assured.
The consortium - which also includes Cundall Johnson Partnership (CJP) as structural, mechanical and electrical engineering support - is no stranger to multi million pound schemes in the education sector having also worked on the £20m City Kings Academy at Coulby Newham in Teesside and the £25m Doncaster City Academy.
At the present time, the design team, led by Mike Litchfield, director of HLP, is hard at work ensuring that the objectives of all the stakeholders are met. He said: "This is arguably the most important phase in the development of any new building, especially in the education sector. There has been and will continue to be a tremendous rate of change in recent years and we are committed to developing with the College an educational brief that will lead to a building of the highest calibre to serve the needs of future generations of students of all ages in the south west Durham area for years to come."
For its part, Faithful+Gould as quantity surveyors will be responsible for the selection of a contractor, contractual documentation, cost estimates and cost plans to ensure the building is produced within budget. This will be followed up with monthly valuations and reporting during the construction programme.
Gary Marshall, Faithful+Gould’s associate director, commented: "It is good to be working with Howarth Litchfield Partnership and the Cundall Johnson Partnership on another major education scheme. We are arguably the most experienced regional partnering team operating in the education sector today. Partnering is all about working with our clients, users and contractors to continuously improve quality. Our track record has proved we have the right people, philosophy and management techniques to make partnering work as a positive experience that is to the benefit of all parties."
College principal and chief executive, Joanna Tait, is excited to see the scheme get underway after months of planning. She said: "The new buildings and facilities of the College in Bishop Auckland will place the College on the agenda for the twenty-first century. The College is pleased to be working with such a well regarded team as Howarth Litchfied Partnership, Faithful+Gould and Cundall Johnson Partnership and is very excited at the prospect of the new facilities".