Birmingham's construction partnership has created millions in efficiency savings, calculates new report

Birmingham city council has calculated that its pioneering construction partnership has saved the city around £120m.

Since 2004 the council has ditched the use of competitive tendering on projects worth over £100,000, using instead a partnership comprising inhouse building consultant Urban Design and three outside contractors, GF Tomlinson Birmingham, Thomas Vale Construction and Wates Group.

Birmingham Construction Partnership (BCP) was set up to help deliver the city council's £500m capital building programme through to 2009, after it was decided that awarding contracts to the lowest bidder was inefficient, with the tender process alone costing over £6m a year.

This week a report produced by the BCP, using the Office of Government Commerce's industry-recognised Achieving Excellence guidelines as a means of measuring value, concluded that the partnership had saved the council around £120m.

The report pointed to efficiencies and value gains in the areas of employment and training, waste and environmental management, recycling capital, customer/tenant satisfaction and programme certainty. The Decent Homes scheme in particular had delivered value in excess of £25m.

Since its launch the BCP has built more than 260 projects, worth a total of £480m, including housing, leisure and sport projects, schools and social care schemes.

Steve Vickers, Urban Design's general manager, said: “From the beginning, all members of the BCP have worked together to develop the partnership so that it brings real benefits to the people of Birmingham in the way we deliver high-quality building projects which are excellent value for money.”