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A non-traditional model

As the largest school investment programme the UK has ever seen, the BSF programme gave Manchester City Council an opportunity to transform its schools and give children a better start in life. Our experience of school delivery meant we were the perfect choice as programme manager for the forward-thinking local authority. We helped break new ground and delivered one of the most successful programmes in the country, rebuilding or refurbishing all 33 high schools on time and to budget.

We worked from the programme’s inception in 2004 on every stage from background consultancy to delivery. We helped to assemble a multidisciplinary team across architecture, engineering, cost consultancy and project management, through to procurement and contracting.

Centralise, simplify, standardise and optimise

The programme saw the formation of a Local Authority Partnership with the Council as lead partner supported by Mace with nine contractors commissioned from the Regional Construction Hub Contractor Frameworks. A very successful 'One Project Office' concept was developed, with consultants and contractors sharing space to create a single delivery function. On a programme of this scale there are many stakeholders and to address this a key part of the process was to identify common goals which were to centralise, simplify, standardise and optimise delivery.

Bespoke processes and procedures were developed including a ‘kit of parts’ - an OJEU-compliant directory of standardised components. Instead of a generic design the toolkit provided a comprehensive list of approved options, enabling contractors to provide the right products at the right price and quality.

An unprecedented success

The programme was an unprecedented success, it not only reduced the construction costs by 18% making BSF 12% less costly than other schools, but it also achieved a notable increase in 5A*s-C grade with English and Maths.

“The programme continues to be a success and is going exceptionally well”

Paul Maccabee
Programme Director, Manchester City Council

Key facts


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