Dibbs picks up embassy deal as PFI goes abroad

Legal work on major private finance initiative-funded building and maintenance projects to run over 25 years are up for grabs from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

New embassies are planned in Sophia, Lagos and Colombo, and contracts for the legal work are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

The contract to advise on the building, design, operation, servicing and financing of the new Berlin embassy has already been awarded to Dibb Lupton Alsop.

The firm has been sitting in on pre-qualification interviews for three shortlisted consortia bidding for the Berlin work.

Jason Fox, partner with Herbert Smith, is acting for one of the three, Embassy Partnership. This is made up of investment banker Kajima, facilities manager Procord and Innisfree, a construction company.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said it was not its policy to award more than one legal contract involving PFI to a firm at a time.

The Berlin embassy is expected to be completed in 1999, the year that reunified Germany instates Berlin as its capital. It will be built on the site of the pre-war British Embassy.

David Hickman, lead partner on the contract, said: “We have a significant track record on major PFI projects acting for government departments and agencies and separately, on occasions, for consortia.”