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Tuesday29 July 2014

Letter to the editor

TFL cancellation is waste of cash

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As the RIBA puts its finishing touches to the procurement reform paper Building Ladders of Opportunity, further evidence has come to light suggesting it’s sorely needed.

Transport for London announced a tender for its Urban Design Framework last summer. There were 13 lots ranging from masterplanning to transport interchange design to 3D modelling, with 184 firms to be invited to tender across all lots.

Results were announced in January, with invitations to tender to be issued in February. Now the whole process has been cancelled. The cost to the construction industry and to the public purse of such inefficiency is enormous.

A single lot had 45 bidders. If this was consistent across all lots, this equates to 45 x 13 x 3 man days per practice = 1,755 man days. At five days a week, 48 weeks a year, that’s 7.3 man years, just on the bidder side — equivalent to the time it takes to train as an architect.

TFL has decided to restart the whole PQQ process, aggregating its framework with the GLA on the curious logic that it makes sense to combine services, because some (not all) of their services requirements are the same.

This is exactly the sort of wasteful practice that the RIBA is campaigning against. Bidding practices are urged to write an official complaint to Peter Hendry, commissioner at Windsor House, and to their local MPs.

Government should save taxpayers money and boost the economy by making procurement more open, more efficient and faster, and should be stamping out, not encouraging, this sort of abuse.

Luke Tozer
London W2

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