Company abandons national system as focus of work moves from new build to refurbishment

BT is to abandon its national framework for contractors and consultants in favour of a regional approach.

The company, which spends about £100m a year on construction projects, has divided the UK into nine areas, to which it has appointed a total of 18 firms, including QSs, building surveyors, M&E contractors and architects. Some are appointed in more than one region.

BT’s workload will be focused on the refurbishment of its existing buildings, 6,000 of which are in the UK.

Fresh names on the BT framework include building surveyor and architect Frankham, engineer Halcrow Yolles, quantity surveyor RN Humphreys, and M&E engineer RW Gregory. They join the likes of Atkins and its QS subsidiary Faithful + Gould, Aedas and Currie & Brown.

Companies are appointed for up to five years.

This week BT refused to confirm which suppliers had been axed from the framework but did say that it was retaining the services of some national firms for projects worth more than £1m.

The reorganisation of the framework is part of BT’s strategy to become “more cost-focused”.

Jane Watkins, head of asset and service commercial management at BT Property, said: “We’re not building the large workstyle offices that typified our approach to procurement in the 1990s. We’re much more heavily focused on refit and refurbishment – and that means we need different services from the industry.”

A spokesperson for the company added: “There is a feeling that the nature of work BT needs is refurbishment, which is better suited to regional and not national relationships. Suppliers locally can give us a more immediate and relevant service.”

BT employs 104,000 members of staff in the UK. Turnover for the year ending 31 March was £19.5bn compared with £18.4bn last year. The company’s pre-tax profit was £2.2bn, up 5%.