Turner & Townsend and EC Harris work on claims after losing out on government framework


Turner & Townsend and EC Harris are taking legal steps to challenge the award of a £750m public sector consultants’ framework, Building understands.

Separate market sources told Building that Turner & Townsend (T&T) has engaged lawyers to work on a potential challenge, and that EC Harris is also working on a challenge, after both firms missed out on places on four of the five lots of the Project Management and Full Design Team Services framework. This was awarded by the government’s private sector procurement partner UK Shared Business Services (UK SBS) this month.

It is thought other firms are also considering challenging the award, with the main grounds expected to be the UK SBS’ system for judging bidders on pricing criteria.

The news came as UK SBS confirmed it has extended the 10-day standstill period following the award, which expired on 23 June, by a further 10 days, “in response to a small number of supplier requests for additional levels of detail in relation to the feedback process.”

A spokesperson for UK SBS added: “To ensure fairness for all suppliers and transparency across the process, UK SBS will provide further detail to all suppliers who were unsuccessful.”

UK SBS said more information will be provided to suppliers during the week commencing 30 June and said the “estimated live date” for the framework has been put back again from this month and “is expected to now be the end of July 2014”.

T&T and EC Harris declined to comment.

Overall, more than a dozen consultants won places on the long-awaited framework. Capita, Jacobs, Mace, Pick Everard and Mott MacDonald were among the big winners, landing spots on at least four of the five framework lots.

Other winners included Gleeds and Parsons Brinckerhoff (successful on at least three lots), Faithful+Gould (successful on at least two) and Deloitte, Hyder and WYG (successful on at least one).

Building has been able to confirm the winners on the four UK lots - a “one stop shop” covering all consultancy services, project management, cost management and design team services.

The fifth lot – for public clients working overseas, including the Foreign Office – could not be confirmed, although Building understands that Turner & Townsend and Aecom were among the winners on this lot.

A number of major consultants missed out on all four UK lots, including Turner & Townsend, Rider Levett Bucknall, Aecom, Ridge, Mouchel and Gardiner & Theobald - all of which were on the previous four-year iteration of this framework, which covered the UK.

The framework has been dogged by controversy. It will go live over a year later than the government intended, after delays due to a prolonged consultation period, alterations to the framework requirements and more than 400 tender clarifications in the weeks leading up to bids being submitted.