Bovis Lend Lease has won a high-profile tussle with Mace to land the £30m construction management contract to “transform” the Tate Britain gallery

The job is the first part of a three-phase plan for the London gallery, and is seen as a valuable foot in the door for the later phases. It will be focused on upgrading the existing space to improve the conditions for works of art by artists such as Turner, Constable, Gainsborough and Bacon.

Bovis’ appointment follows a number of high-profile wins for its rival Mace in the arts market. It is Bovis’ first win for some time in an area in which it has traditionally enjoyed an advantage. Past wins include the refurbishment of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Festival Hall.

Work will not begin on the scheme until the early part of next year and is due for completion in 2013.

Tate has made the award despite the problems with government funding that are reported to be threatening other arts capital projects, including the Tate Modern extension and the British Museum extension – both won by Mace. The British Museum scheme has been further jeopardised after its designs, by Richard Rogers, were turned down by Camden council.

Bovis will initially support the design team to progress detailed designs


Nevertheless Mace last month signed a deal with Tate Modern to work as construction manager on the £215m extension, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, to the South Bank gallery.

Tate said: “Tate can confirm that Bovis Lend Lease has been appointed construction manager for the Transforming Tate Britain project. They will initially support the design team to progress detailed designs up to the submission of a listed building application.”

Bovis declined to comment.