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Breaking News

Tuesday 06 Jul 2010

BSF scrapped

Breaking News by WAN Editorial
Credit: Paul Clarke 
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13/07/10 Matt Jackson, Wellington
Having been at the forefront of BSF for several years, this news comes as nothing short of a mislead promise by the government and heartbreak for many many communities. For many reasons this will no doubt seal the deal for pushing many smaller contractors within the UK out of business, times are too lean to pull the plug on such a huge building programme, many architects, engineers, contractors/ subcontractors are relying on this package of work to assist them through this lean economic period. Many of these contractors were promoting local apprentiships with youth from local schools, community promise and up to date technology, curriculum and sporting facilities won’t be realised whilst the architectural industry is already skimping, Architectural graduates are already finding it tough to obtain a position for their year out, some can't even find this whilst offering to work for free.
<p>Notwithstanding this and standing the programme on its end, there does need to be an accountability from Local Authorities that plodded along and didn’t grab or realise this significant and exciting opportunity when the time was right, however digging deeper the contract template appeared to be on yesterdays currency with poor reflection on value for money or current market rates, in a nut shell I would assume most local authorities hands were tied and the governments procurement role out procedures was flawed, the RIBA has quite rightly and is totally justified in pointing out the procurement issues.
<p>There are so many sincere people with education ambition at their very core that work/and have worked for 4 - 5 years delivering huge out of balance working hours owing to the pressure to deliver this programme, behind the scenes big amounts of money takes a even larger commitments to deliver and this will come as a significant blow to many of those within local authorities, BSF procurement teams, schools, pupils, communities and local businesses.
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Education Secretary halts 20-year, £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme 

News comes today that the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme will be abandoned in a continuation of the new coalition government’s wide-scale spending cuts. The 20-year initiative was designed to rebuild or advance every secondary school in the country; however Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced that the scheme is to be cancelled in order to save money. He explained that the programme had been hit by ‘massive over-spends, tragic delays, botched construction projects and needless bureaucracy’.

706 new projects in the Building Schools for the Future programme have already had contracts signed and are therefore set to continue, but 715 more face disappointment today as they see a permanent halt to proceedings as the schools budget is cut by £1bn. Gove argued: “There are some councils which entered the process six years ago which have only just started building new schools. Another project starting this year is three years behind schedule. By contrast, Hong Kong international airport, which was built on a barren rock in the South China Sea and can process 50m passenger movements every year, took just six years to build.”

Ruth Reed, President of the RIBA, has slammed the decision, describing it as: “profoundly detrimental - not only to the construction industry that would be building the schools, and the architectural profession that would be designing them, but also the thousands of pupils who have benefitted from an enriched learning experience in a designed for purpose environment.” She continued: “As highlighted in today’s speech, the BSF programme was not without flaws. The RIBA has long argued that the process of procurement needed to be greatly improved in order to cut costs, save considerable time, and produce better designed buildings. The RIBA’s Smart Procurement method, which we have consistently urged the Government to utlise, essentially removes the duplication and waste in the process; using this method would allow the Government to deliver efficiently and to maximise investment.”

Sian Disson
News Editor

WAN Editorial

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