Bevan Ashford beats six firms for PFI job; win coincides with property hiring spree
Bristol City Council has appointed Bevan Ashford to advise on the first phase of a schools rebuild project. Bevan Ashford beat competition from six other shortlisted firms, including Beachcroft Wansbroughs, Eversheds, Martineau Johnson and Wragge & Co. The council's head of legal Stephen McNamara said: "The grouped schools PFI project is a crucial part of transforming secondary education in Bristol. This will be a mutually beneficial partnership which will help Bristol City Council improve educational facilities in the city. Bevan Asford's role in this will be invaluable." The £55m project is only the first phase in a scheme that eventually aims to include every secondary school and sixth form in Bristol. Bevan Ashford team leader David Hunter said: "This appointment is for phase one, but it gives us a good chance to be in the framework for later phases if we do a good job." Bristol City Council already has some in-house PFI expertise, so will be looking to develop a co-working relationship with Bevan Ashford. Hunter said: "Something that may have helped us was that we were willing to commit to skill transference." The eight transformed schools will be managed privately, with educational control remaining with the schools. The project win coincides with a number of hires. Mark Calverley joins the Bristol commercial property team from London firm Capsticks, where he was a partner. He will work closely with Bevan Ashford's PFI project team on the NHS Lift instruction, which the firm won in July this year. NHS Lift is a £1bn initiative to overhaul inadequate and outdated community health facilities. It aims to refurbish or replace up to 3,000 GP and dental surgeries and 500 one-stop health centres by 2004. Bevan Ashford has also hired a London property partner to develop its private sector property practice. Lance Conway joins from Steptoe Johnson Rakisons, where he became a partner in January 2000. Lance advises on all aspects of commercial property, with particular emphasis on investment, leisure development and the retail sector. London managing partner David Widdowson said: "We do have property capability in London, but at the moment the focus is on the public sector practice. Lance is coming in to develop our private sector practice, which will be the thrust of future development now."