Further evidence of BAA’s drive to cut tender costs emerged this week when it announced that it will not re-tender its design framework contracts this year.

The airports operator was due to put the framework out to tender towards the end of this year, but is understood to have been deterred by a costly nine-month procurement process to appoint 10 contractors to its £6.2bn “complex projects” framework.

The architects currently on the list are Foster + Partners, Grimshaw, 3D Reid, Capita Architecture and SMC Parr.

A source close to the process said: “After the cost and time consumed in re-tendering the contractors’ framework, BAA has decided it doesn’t want the bother. There are practices on the framework that they aren’t very happy with, but they’ll slowly be phased out rather than thrown off.”

A BAA spokesperson said: “We have agreements in place with a group of architectural practices and we get excellent performance from them. We’ll go out to the market when it's appropriate to do so.”