RMJM, Epr and Aukett Associates are understood to have held talks with BBC executives last week.
A spokeswoman for the corporation confirmed that it was in discussion with the practices but refused say whether they were in competition or whether the work could be split between them. She said: “We are talking to the three about the possibility of further development.”
The spokeswoman also refused to comment on the design brief. However, a source close to the project said the development would be similar to plans submitted by the BBC in the early 1990s.
That scheme included provision for recording studios and office space, but only the office development went ahead. It is understood that the BBC is ready to give the go-ahead for a high-tech recording studio where the original one would have been built.
The source said: “What it is trying to do with the rest of the site is not far adrift from those plans. I think the BBC is fairly keen this time.”
It is believed that construction work will run along lines similar to BT’s Project Jaguar and will embrace Egan features, including key performance indicators.
The BBC said in 1998 that it was looking at adopting partnering-style relationships with contractors as part of a new procurement strategy.
The White City development is part of the BBC’s property review being carried out by NM Rothschild, which started in 1998. It is understood that the BBC plans to raise up to £500m from the sale-and-leaseback of its 520-building portfolio.
One idea mooted is that White City could be redeveloped as part of a public-private redevelopment. This could see the creation of a 50/50 company between the BBC and a private sector firm. FM firm Citex has been linked with such a deal.
The property review is due to be completed soon but is understood to have been delayed by the arrival of new director-general Greg Dyke and the wrangle over the licence fee. A BBC source thought the plans were imminent. He said: “We are very close to it. All the things are falling into place. We have to make sure that the plans get internal approval.”
The BBC spokeswoman said the review had to be handled urgently because the lease on Bush House runs out in 2005. She said: “We have got to get on with it.”
Other elements to be dealt with in the review are more cost-efficient, comfortable and environmental buildings. The spokeswoman said: “In his first speech to staff, Greg Dyke expressed enthusiasm for standard accommodation to be improved.”