Council retenders low-carbon school originally awarded to Willmott Dixon

A council is retendering a £57m ultra-low-carbon school job won by Willmott Dixon last year.

West Sussex County Council has opened bidding for a single-stage design-and-build contract for the Bedelands Academy (pictured), a new 900-pupil secondary school for those living in a new Homes England-led development called Burgess Hill Brookleigh.

Willmott Dixon was announced as the successful contractor on the scheme in February 2023, but the council has now published a contract notice detailing its search for a new builder.

A Willmott Dixon spokesman said it had been appointed under a two-stage tender process and had withdrawn amicably after it and the council failed to agree a price for the second stage.

The new notice states that the contract will start in April 2025 and that practical completion must be achieved by 30 March 2027 for occupation in September 2027.

The notice adds: “This project is being procured as a single-stage design-and-build contract, [the council is] seeking a fixed-price lump sum for the entirety of the works.”

The school received planning permission in December 2022 when it was praised for its “unique” design, which aims to achieve Passivhaus certification and use no fossil fuels in operation.

Plans to include nearly 1,000 solar panels mean the school could generate its own renewable energy on site. The school will use LED lighting controlled automatically by detecting daylight and movement.

A full tender pack is available via the council’s eSourcing Portal.

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