Council rebids £57m Willmott Dixon school job

West Sussex County Council has opted to retender its ambitious project to create a new ultra-low-carbon secondary school in Burgess Hill after failing to agree a final price with contractor Willmott Dixon.The firm secured the two-stage contract around a year ago to deliver the £57m Bedelands Academy secondary school for around 900 pupils.

Work had been due to start before the end of last year but the failure to finalise the build cost amid high construction inflation saw the council decide to go back to the drawing board.

This time around the council is adopting a single-stage design and build route with a fixed price lump sum.

It hopes to award the new contract by April to allow the selected builder time to achieve practical completion by 30 March 2027 for occupation in September 2027. This will be two later than originally planned.

The school is designed to be net carbon-zero in operation and the first West Sussex school to achieve Passivhaus accreditation, the highest standard of energy efficiency a building can reach.

The council is leading the way on building the secondary school at the new Brookleigh development, providing secondary places for families living in the 3,500 new homes and the wider Burgess Hill area.

West Sussex County Council has committed nearly £40m of funding, in what is the Council’s single largest school investment in the last decade. Homes England is contributing around £18m in developer contributions and the land.

Bid documents are available here.

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