Gardiner & Theobald and EC Harris omitted from £1.2bn pre-qualification list for colleges

Gardiner & Theobald and EC Harris face the axe from contracts in further education after missing out on a £1.2bn education framework.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has left several major players, including EC Harris, G&T and Drivers Jonas, off the consultants’ framework, due to be announced later this month.

The surprise move, which could lead to the firms being replaced on existing contracts as well as missing out on future deals, has sparked a row between some of the companies and the LSC.

It is understood that the LSC has delayed announcing the framework by a week to consider complaints from consultants, including some of the largest and most experienced in the education sector.

Miles Delap, a partner at G&T said: “The initial view is that we’re not on the framework but we’ll have to see how this develops. We’ve spoken to the

LSC and are waiting to hear from them.”

G&T, which partnered with further education specialist Fusion for its bid, is working on about 10 further education projects ranging in value from £10m to £60m.

Delap said that although firms not on the consultant framework would not be dropped immediately, clients would be likely to come under heavy pressure to replace them “when a natural break in the project occurs”.

It is understood that colleges that do not use consultants listed on the frameworks may miss out on LSC funding for costs and feasibility studies. All college building above £5m is expected to be procured through the system for the next five years.

The LSC framework is divided into three sectors covering cost consultants, project managers and architects.

Several large architectural practices including Building Design Partnership, RMJM and Sheppard Robson are also understood to have missed out.

Firms on the consultants frameworks include Gleeds, Davis Langdon, Faithful + Gould, Mace, Northcroft, Ridge & Partners, Robinson Low Francis, Turner & Townsend, Bailey Partnership, AYH, GVA Grimley, Atisreal, King Sturge and Lend Lease.