Four contractors are bidding for up to nearly £1bn worth of maintenance work after making the shortlist for prime contractor to the Ministry of Defence (MoD)
The MoD, is urging smaller specialist outfits to target some of the work such as landscaping, which will be subcontracted.
The new national contract is to manage the military's 200,000ha training estate across the UK, which includes landscapes at Salisbury Plain, Catterick, Dartmoor, Sennybridge and Otterburn.
Landscaping will form a major part of the contract and will include upkeep of ranges, building fences and dry-stone walls and clearing snow. Contractors will manage and conserve woodland, clear scrub and blitz pests.
The shortlist includes Kellogg Brown & Root with Balfour Beatty Workplace. The latter firm recently won a contract to run and manage the Olympic Park as joint venture leader in a 10-year deal. Also on the shortlist is Babcock Support Services.
The other two teams bidding for the contract, to include managing heritage sites, building-estate management and catering, are Landmarc Support Services against Serco, which has teamed up with BAE Systems Surface Ships and Kier Regional.
But smaller contractors should not be overawed by the size of job and punt for work, the ministry's next generation estate contracts programme head Steve Rice insisted. The work covered a variety of terrain, assets and services, he added.
"I would urge smaller businesses to consider where and how they might contribute within supply chains and to start liaising directly with the bidders," said Rice.
Contract project manager Lieutenant Colonel Tim Cherry said: "The incoming prime contractor is likely to need the support of excellent local providers of grounds maintenance, landscaping, forestry and conservation services."
This view was echoed by Defence Training Estate commander Colonel Christopher Sloane: "A sound partnership with industry is key. Industry will play a major role in running and maintaining the estate so it is vital that we identify the best possible private partner."
Bidders will visit the training estate as part of a "competitive-dialogue" process due to start in the summer.
CONTRACTOR SHORTLIST LANDSCAPE OPENINGS
The ministry published the following contacts:
- Babcock Support Services - Jeff Lightly, Jeff.email@example.com
- Kellogg Brown & Root and Balfour Beatty Workplace - Jim Bowden, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Landmarc Support Services - Mark Neill, email@example.com
- Serco, BAE Systems Surface Ships and Kier Regional - Jan Burgess, firstname.lastname@example.org