Airport client puts faith in EC Harris, Turner & Townsend and Doig & Smith after support services review

Quantity surveying firms Davis Langdon and Cyril Sweett have been dropped from a 10-year framework deal with airports client BAA “for the immediate future”.

The client said in a statement that it had whittled down the number of firms on its list to three – EC Harris, Turner & Townsend and Doig & Smith – after a review of its commercial support services (CSS) framework agreements.

This move is the result of decisions by BAA to use one firm for each project rather than several. An example of this new model is the Grimshaw-designed extension to Stansted airport in Essex, where Turner & Townsend will be the sole QS.

The BAA statement said: “This approach has been adopted so that CSS suppliers will be able to demonstrate greater ownership of the commercial aspects of BAA projects.”

BAA said that the decision had been taken to drop DL and Cyril Sweett because they were doing the least amount of work out of the five in the framework deal.

A source at one of the dropped firms said the quality of its work was not in question. The source said: “We have regularly passed BAA’s MOT systems for assessing suppliers.”

The BAA statement left the door open for renewed deals with the two quantity surveyors in future. It said: “BAA will, however, maintain relationships with both suppliers and it has every intention of using their resources over the remaining years of the current agreement.”

The original five were appointed to the second-generation QS framework in 2002. They were also on the first five-year framework agreement set up in 1995.

A source close to the client said it had been more rigorous in its approach to the second-generation framework than the first.

The source said: “The first time it was more about finding like-minded companies. Now there is a stronger business focus on the deals. There is a more concentrated look taken by BAA into how they work with suppliers generally.”

Cyril Sweett has formed a European alliance with German project manager Drees & Sommer, which has 10 offices in Germany and a further 11 elsewhere on the Continent.

The alliance will concentrate on building corporate end-user business as well as PPP, retail and transport work.