Carillion, Balfour and Mowlem tipped as preferred firms for extension of Project Jaguar into capital schemes.

BT is shortlisting contractors for £300m of work a year as it extends its Project Jaguar procurement scheme from facilities management into capital projects.

It is understood that three firms will be chosen from a shortlist of six for the mega-deal, dubbed Project Jaguar II.

Carillion, Balfour Beatty and Mowlem have been tipped to win the work, which is expected to last for five years. A team led by Carillion and including Balfour Beatty won the original £500m Project Jaguar FM deal in May.

Capital projects were initially bundled into Project Jaguar when the shortlist was revealed last year but later dropped before Carillion was chosen. The new deal will have three preferred contractors rather then the single one chosen for the FM contract.

One of the bidders said that the decision to choose three contractors was to ensure that BT did not put all its eggs in one basket. The bidder said: “BT is a very big customer and also a high-quality one. This is a key deal to win.”

It is believed that each firm will be assigned a region and each will obtain £100m of work a year.

Sources have likened the project to a Ministry of Defence prime contract. One said: “BT wants to make the contractor the prime supplier, with other consultants fitting in below.”

BT is a very big customer and also a high-quality one. This is a key deal to win

Source at Bidding Contractor

Another source said there were key similarities to prime contracting, including a focus on key performance indicators, supply-chain management and value engineering.

The source added that he hoped the firms chosen would work closely with the Carillion/Balfour Beatty FM team. “There has to be a connection between building something, costing it and running it. That’s where you can drive the costs down.”

It is also understood that the project will include a preferred list of project managers and architects.

Project Jaguar II comes at the same time as the reorganisation of BT’s property department. The company is believed to have streamlined the department to fit in with its five new business units, including BT Wireless and BT Networks.

A source close to BT’s property department said: “There is now a much sharper focus on the business units and how the property team will interface with them.”

A BT spokesman said the firm refused to comment on speculation but added that it was always scrutinising its relationships with suppliers.