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Welsh education construction predicted welcome boost
- August 2, 2019

The Welsh education construction sector is scheduled to spend approximately £1.5Bn on a major new programme entailing the construction of schools and colleges as a part of a new public-private delivery model composed of a private sector partner and the Development Bank of Wales.

Through the joint partnership the two parties, one being in the private sector and the other the public sector, will create the new Welsh Education Partnership Company that, in turn, will oversee the construction of educational buildings in Wales, organising supply chains and employing contractors.

Projects that are currently underway, and that are associated with the new model, include: the £8.1M primary school that is currently under construction at Ysgol y Garnedd in Gwynedd, the £7M school at Ysgol y Graig in Mid Glamorgan, the £19.1M comprehensive school that is due to have construction start early next year in Neath, the £10M primary schools project in Aberdare, and the £200M academic and accommodation block at Swansea University.

Currently, three bidders will be shortlisted for the private sector company role in the model which shall be in operation for ten years, providing the public sector with a 20% equity stake, and is predicted to produce a major upswing in the Welsh education construction sector.

A bidders day, for any potential private sector companies willing to take on the private sector role of the model, was held in Cardiff on the 18th July 2019 although any potential bidders have until a deadline of the 9th September 2019 to express their interest.

An upswing in the Welsh education construction sector is much needed after the underlying value of project starts in fell by 24% in the first half of 2019, according to Glenigan Construction data, after having fallen already in 2018 by 36%. This comes after the education construction sector in Wales was considered as a strong and steady workstream.

In fact, the underlying value of education work starting onsite in 2016 and 2017 totalled more than £400M, with there being a 28% surge in 2017 following the attainment of planning permission for £367M-worth of education work.

Between the start of 2015 and the second-quarter of 2019 the education construction sector has been granted planning permission for £1Bn-worth of work in Wales.

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