At least one bidder has questioned aspects of the award of the consultancy framework

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The award of Scape’s £350m consultancy framework has been delayed after questions were raised from at least one of the unsuccessful bidders, Building has learned.

Multiple market sources previously informed Building the joint venture between Gleeds, Aecom and Pick Everard was being lined up for the four-year public sector framework.

The JV was said to have beaten off competition from the other five bidders - Mace, Turner & Townsend, Norse Group and the previous holder of its consultancy framework Faithful+Gould (F+G), who this time around teamed up with Arcadis, Bilfinger GVA and Grant Thornton to bid after Scape set a turnover threshold of £125m per annum for bidders.

However, market sources have now informed Building the F+G-led joint venture has raised queries over the award of the framework with one source adding they believed “there may be others”.

The same source said: “It’s in a period of questioning, questions like ‘why has it been marked that way?’ It’s a movable feast.”

This source added a legal challenge would be “a really strong” reaction but it could not be ruled out.

Another source said bids for the framework “had cost a lot of money so it’s understandable people are raising questions”.

A spokesperson for Scape confirmed the standstill period had been extended: “The Alcatel [standstill] period for this framework has been extended. Scape Group is unable to provide further comment at this time.”

The F+G-led JV declined to comment. The JV between Gleeds, Aecom and Pick Everard and single bidders Turner & Townsend, Mace and Norse Group have been contacted for comment.

The four-year Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework will be open for use by all public sector clients and will cover project management, quantity surveying, architecture, engineering services and strategic asset management.

Scape describes the BECS framework as “new”, but it in effect replaces its existing Asset Management, Survey and Design Services framework, which is held by Faithful+Gould and expires at the end of this September.

Scape runs a number of frameworks and last week announced that its four-year major works framework, that is being re-procured, has increased its estimate value from £5.5bn to £7bn.

Unlike Scape’s existing major works agreement, held solely by Willmott Dixon, the latest version will be split into five lots and appoint a lead contractor to each one.

Meanwhile the other major public sector consultancy framework from the government’s buying arm, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), has suffered repeated delays to its launch.

The £2.9bn flagship Project Management and Full Design Team Service framework had been expected to launch this month, but the CCS has now said it will go live next month after scrapping the international lots from the framework.

The Ministry of Defence instead is to procure a major international consultants framework, Building has learned.