It is understood that the bid, led by John McAslan + Partners, was originally the top scorer in the competition to oversee the rebuilding of the 113-year-old school, which burned down five years ago.
But after the bids were recalculated, it is understood that Hawkins\Brown took the highest score. Purchases were canceled entirely shortly thereafter.
The exact marks awarded to each team are still unknown. Documents released through AJ’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request are heavily redacted to obscure the accounts and names of the finalists.
But the FOI shows that during the first 10-day hiatus in November 2022, one of the four practices on the shortlist, believed to be Hawkins\Brown, contacted the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) to ask how their show could be registered.
In an email from the FOI, in which party names were withheld, the unsuccessful team asked: ‘We were disappointed to lose because we put an enormous amount of work into our bid and felt that [we] Uniquely positioned to restore this magnificent building.
“Our company has bid for many years, but we have never lost by such a narrow margin.”
The GSA wrote back on November 25, trying to explain how the marks are calculated and to determine why the team ranked second once they added the combined quality and pricing score section.
But five days later, an internal GSA email confirmed that errors had been found in the registration process and this was a ‘problem’ [had] It originated with the result of the Architect Led Team’s bid evaluation.
“It resulted in the wrong outcome being announced to the bidders,” she says.
The GSA then contacted all of the shorthand practices to explain that they had withdrawn the initial notification letter, which said John McAslan + Partners had topped the finding. Her message text:[Errors identified within the scoring matrix have] It resulted in inaccurate positions in both technical evaluation and price evaluation.
The school requested an external auditor to conduct an independent review of the bid evaluation process.
It was revealed that “the original scoring matrix failed to calculate the final quality score in proportion to the 100 percent awarded to the highest quality score achieved” while the initial price score was, in error, reached by expressing the lowest bid as a proportion of [the teams’] Bid price.
When the bids were recalculated, a different team had the highest score. AJ understands that was Hawkins/Brown.
However, during the new pause—spurred on by the new award letter—the school received a pre-action letter from one of the other bidders challenging the outcome.
As a result, the GSA decided to close the purchase process and assured the teams that no bonus had been awarded.
In documents also released under the Freedom of Information Act, the GSA said it wanted to bring in an outside procurement consultant to advise on the new process and support it “practically and procedurally in delivering an open, fair and demonstrably compliant process.”
Talk after giving up the purchase for a year in March‘Ask any of our members and they’ll tell you that design buying in Scotland is broken,’ said Tamsey Thompson, chief executive of RIAS.
“Whether projects are falling apart due to technical errors or a lack of weight given to design quality within the broader procurement system, things clearly need to change.”
The purchase was launched in March last year, with the goal of selecting a team to deliver a “faithful re-creation” of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1909 architectural masterpiece.
The historic Charles Rennie Mackintosh Building was destroyed on 15 June 2018 while undergoing a £35 million restoration program following a previous fire in 2014.
After a “complex and resource-intensive investigation”, which took more than three and a half years to complete, Firefighters admitted they still don’t know how the fire started.
In October 2021 Glasgow School of Art ruled out building a new building to replace the structure destroyed by fire and instead She chose a “faithful restoration” of the architectural masterpiece.
John McAslan + Partners and Hawkins\Brown have been contacted for comment.
Statement from the Glasgow School of Art – Macintosh Building Procurement Exercise:
The purchase has closed and no appointment has been set after a technical error has been identified in the scoring matrix used. We have taken this decision after careful consideration and believe that this was the right and fair decision to make.
The decision has been shared in advance with the shortlisted companies and we would like to thank them again for their participation in the procurement process, recognizing the significant time, effort and resources they have invested in bidding for this work.
In our statement of March 1, 2023, we were clear that we would review the process and let us know how we handled your purchase in the future.
We are committed to bringing in a third party to perform the review and working with us on your next purchase, applying insights about the original process shared with us after the announcement and in our discussions with the shortlisted companies and taking into account lessons learned from the review.