Contractor prepares to start on £74m Birmingham schools project and £57m housing scheme in Sandwell.

Balfour Beatty has reached financial close on its £74m Birmingham Schools PFI project, as well as its £57m Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council affordable housing scheme.

In Birmingham, the 30-year schools project will provide a total of 12 new and refurbished schools, including two secondary schools, nine primary schools and one early years centre.

Balfour Beatty is investing £4 million of equity in the project through its specialist vehicle, Transform Schools, which is a partnership with Innisfree. The construction work on the project will be carried out by Balfour Beatty Construction and Balfour Kilpatrick. In addition to the construction programme, facilities management work to a value approaching £50 million will be undertaken by Balfour Beatty subsidiary, Haden Building Management.

At Sandwell, Mansell has a five-year contract which will involve upgrades and improvements to all council housing on the Harvills Hawthorn and Millfields estates in Wednesbury South. The scheme will see the refurbishment of 900 homes, the demolition of 140 redundant properties and the building of 120 new homes for sale. The work will enable Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council to reach the Government's Decent Homes Standard by 2010. Management and maintenance services will run from 2006 to 2031.

Balfour Beatty chief executive, Ian Tyler, said: "We are delighted to have reached financial close on projects which will greatly enhance the learning environments of schoolchildren in Birmingham and deliver sustainable improvements for the residents of Wednesbury South."

"These successes further underpin our leading position in the education market and confirm the potential for PFI as a procurement vehicle in the fast-growing affordable housing sector."