Framework provider’s speedy integration helps college deliver STEM learning

The project

New College Durham, as the lead educational partner for the North East Institute of Technology (NEIoT), was undergoing considerable expansion and redevelopment, incorporating a £5m IoT build and a £2.5m refurbishment of its current STEM facilities.

The project, targeted for early 2020 completion, required design and construction of classrooms, workshops, purpose built advanced manufacturing facilities, an electric and hybrid vehicle training area and a virtual reality design suite for construction and built environment provision. It included a retrofit of the two-storey existing building to redefine new industry-standard technology areas, and a new, 3,300 sqm three-storey extension.

Ryder Architecture was appointed to design the 5,000 sqm Centre, with construction contractor Kier selected to deliver the retrofit and new build.


The partnership

As the contracting authority, the College had worked with a different framework provider across the first Campus building and the start of works to the new IoT, with Kier as its supplier.

However, having reached the £4m cost boundary on the previous framework, it approached CPC to run a new framework to complete the build, selecting it based on regional focus, quality and rigour, and fast procurement capability.

CPC speedily assessed the project and used its standard processes and assurance through the Schools and Community Buildings 2 (SCB2) framework – now Public Buildings Construction and Infrastructure 3 (PB3). Working with the College, Kier was reappointed based on its knowledge of the project, alongside their sustainability and social value credentials.

Arriving at such a crucial point in the project, CPC brought its partnership approach to bear, hitting the ground running while acting as broker to iron out any existing issues.

Andrew Broadbent, New College Durham principal and chief executive, said: “CPC arrived part-way through the project and efficiently established and assessed the situation, offering quality of service and developing sharp, productive relationships. I consider their role a core part of the partnership which achieved a great result.”

For the College, sustainability and corporate social responsibility were also vital in the supplier selection – a factor central to CPC’s assessment process.

Andrew Broadbent added: “Selecting a contractor is no longer just a cost-chasing exercise. Anyone we work with has to align with our values in the methods and materials they use, through to the apprenticeships they offer and the payback for our community and across County Durham.”

Jack Brayford, Kier Business Development Manager – Northern, said: “We look at the whole solution for a project, linking sustainability, design and construction. This was just as important for the IoT, with our open market testing and use of our social value calculator in our programme design and delivery.”


The solution

Using extensive experience of procuring for school and college building programmes, CPC efficiently assessed and appointed the right supplier for the IoT with sustainability and energy efficiency a clear requirement.

Throughout the project, the College remained occupied and operational, with partners taking a joined-up approach to minimise impact upon staff and students. To achieve this, CPC swiftly procured and brokered relationships, while Kier implemented processes to limit on-site impact. 

Gary Cawley, director of CPC, said: “School and college refurbishments and extensions are typically scheduled to have the most disruptive works completed during the six-week summer break to minimise impact on education and examinations. And with much capital funding allocated on a short-term basis each financial year, we understand the need to move quickly on these projects for clients.

“Our PB3 – then SCB2 framework - brings fairness to the supplier appointment process and here, meant we acted as intermediary to smooth out change in procurement against tight timescales.”

The quality of school and college buildings has been found to have a positive impact on how students learn and the outcomes of their education, with good classroom design decreasing student stress levels1 and improving wellbeing and attendance2.

Andrew Broadbent added: “We were able to put our time and resource into where it was needed most – with our staff and students – leaving re-appointment and re-assessment to CPC at a crucial point in build. Working with Kier and CPC together, we got great value and better build costs – vital in a big capital build where time doesn’t just mean money, but efficiency benefits our learning community.”

CPC delivers free-to-use, OJEU compliant frameworks for the public sector, including local authorities, housing associations, education establishments and other public bodies, meaning they can procure works, products and services for construction, refurbishment and maintenance of social housing and public buildings.

A guide is available for the PB3 framework, or alternatively, find more about CPC’s frameworks at

PB3 Framework Guide

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