The Office of Government Commerce has appointed a construction director to manage its overhaul of public sector procurement.

David McMeehan, formerly interim managing director of the OGC’s Smarter Construction programme, will head up the organisation’s procurement reform.

The appointment was made as the OGC revealed it had forged framework agreements with five industry consultancy firms for work on government department buildings, covering new-builds and adapting premises for government use. The framework firms are Drivers Jonas, EC Harris, Gardiner & Theobald, Turner & Townsend and Bovis Lend Lease’s projects arm.

Under the terms of the frameworks, the five firms will be preferred suppliers for government contracts. Although it will not be compulsory for departments to appoint the firms, the deals mean that any department going outside the frameworks will need to offer strong justification for doing so.

An OGC spokesperson said: “These frameworks are not mandatory, but are there for departments to use if they wish. They are able to tender outside the deals, but at the end of the year they will have to prove they can justify the decision.”

The spokesperson added that, in practice, it would be unlikely that departments would look outside the frameworks for project management services. He said: “The five suppliers within the framework are all major players in the sector.

We would have thought any project team would include one of the companies concerned. I can’t see why departments would go outside the framework, but they can if they want to.”

The frameworks are not mandatory but are there for departments to use if they wish

OGC spokesperson

Work covered by the frameworks centres around the relocation of public sector organisations. Areas covered include the design and management of construction for new-builds, refurbishments and fit-outs and advice on landlord developments.

The framework firms have all pre-qualified with the OGC, having undergone a tender process that complies with OJEU requirements.

Building understands that the Health and Safety Executive will appoint senior construction unit member Rosie Edwards as a temporary replacement for construction head Kevin Myers, who is leaving next month.

According to a senior source at the organisation, Edwards is set to be named this week as temporary chief inspector of construction. The HSE is believed to be planning to fill the position permanently in two to three months’ time.

An HSE spokesperson confirmed that an announcement about the position was expected this week, but would not be drawn on candidates.