This follows the announcement earlier this year of a similar longlist of prequalifiers for a prime contract at Faslane in Scotland.
The MOD’s commercial division, Defence Estates Organisation, distributed prequalification questionnaires to 12 firms on Tuesday evening for the Andover project. This is a £20m-30m scheme to convert a First World War airfield to offices for the Defence Logistics Organisation.
On the Wimbish project, an £8m scheme to upgrade and build accommodation at Carver Barracks, nine firms were invited to complete prequalification questionnaires.
At Andover, 29 firms expressed initial interest. From these, 12 prime contractors were chosen. They have been invited to an open day at the site on Friday, where they will be able to raise any concerns they may have.
Once Defence Estates has assessed the prequalification questionnaires, four firms will be invited to tender formally. Then, a preferred bidder will be chosen.
A source on the Andover project said: “The four firms invited to tender can have as much dialogue as they want with the project team. They need to find out what we need and what the building will look like.”
Sources describe the construction programme as tight. Defence Estates expects to award a contract by July and to have the project completed by the end of 2002.
Plans for the site include an office for 780 staff, a mess for senior non-commissioned officers, an access road and a crèche.
For the Wimbish project, an invitation to tender will be sent to three or four firms before a preferred bidder is chosen.
The most advanced prime contract scheme is a £30m project to build a jetty at Faslane.
A shortlist of four firms, from the 14 that prequalified, will be invited to tender for the complicated project by the middle of next month. One or two firms will then be invited to negotiate at the final stage.
Prime contracting, where one company manages and takes responsibility for all aspects of the project, is Defence Estates’ answer to the problem of fragmentation in the construction industry.