The Building Schools for the Future programme in Bradford has been delayed, and the preferred bidder will probably not be named until next year.

The BSF department at Bradford council was supposed to choose a consortium to run the £54m programme last week. The scheme covers the demolition and rebuilding of three secondary schools.

Instead, the shortlist has been reduced from three consortiums to two. An Interserve-led bid, which included consultant Mott MacDonald and architect Watkins Gray International, has been dismissed, leaving teams led by Mowlem and Amey.

A spokesperson for the BSF department at Bradford council said: “We are still assessing the bids and are still coming to a preferred bidder decision. The length of time until we make the formal appointment will depend on the number of issues we have to go through with that organisation.”

The spokesperson added that the council hoped to have a clear strategy by the end of the month but didn’t know whether it would be able to make an announcement. He said: “There may well be many i’s to dot and t’s to cross. Christmas is not a particularly productive time for negotiation.”

The delay comes amid growing industry concern that the procurement process has given the BSF programme a slow start.