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Welsh businesses encouraged to bid for Swansea arena work

A view of how the Swansea Digital Arena may look.

Welsh businesses are being urged to bid for work on the £135m Swansea Central Phase One scheme. 

Principal contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, working in collaboration with Swansea Council, wants to maximise the use of local and regional expertise.

There are 30 work packages available, with a total value of more than £23m. The value of the individual work packages starts from £10k.

They include: Mechanical and electrical second tier sub-contractors – £12m; external building, including brickwork, doors, frames and glazing – £2m; internal fit-out and finishes, including walls, flooring and plaster/ render – £9m.

A full breakdown of these and the individual smaller work packages will be available at a free-entry meet-the-buyer event for businesses and on the Business Wales website.

The event is being held by Buckingham Group and the council in collaboration with Welsh Government service Business Wales, CITB (the Construction Industry Training Board) and the Swansea Bay City Deal.

It is due to take place at the Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC), University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) in Swansea’s SA1 district on March 11 from 9am-1pm.

The format will be one-to-one pre-arranged meetings; these can be booked in advance through Business Wales – www.bit.ly/MTBmarch11. The event is for contractors able to bid specifically for the packages advertised.

Swansea Central Phase One will bring a 3,500-capacity indoor arena, coastal park, landmark bridge, car parking, homes and commercial premises to a key city centre site.

It is being driven and funded by the council. The £1.3bn City Deal is part funding the arena; the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund is part funding the bridge.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “We promised to deliver opportunities for local firms through this transformation scheme and that’s just what we’re doing.

“Welsh businesses are already finding work on this world-class regeneration project. I urge other business to attend this meet-the-buyer event.

“Buckingham Group are expected to give every possible opportunity to Welsh firms. Similar opportunities for local and regional business will form part of all City Deal projects coming forward in the near future.”

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “This landmark project will bring investment to Swansea and help regenerate the city for generations to come.

“A key part of the success is to ensure that local businesses and individuals have a great opportunity to benefit. Latest figures show that of the 284 people working on site, almost 80 per cent of them are based in Wales.”

Kevin Underwood, managing director for Sports and Leisure at Buckingham Group Contracting, said: “We are already enjoying working closely with Welsh businesses on this incredibly exciting scheme.

“We’re confident of delivering high-quality work – and we’re looking to work with other suppliers and partners who can match our demands for the highest standards.

“More than 200 Welsh businesses attended a Swansea Central Phase One meet-the-buyer event at the Liberty Stadium last March; I expect similar interest this time.”

Buckingham Group have been on the expansive site – between the LC and Tesco Marina – since May last year. Main construction work began in November and the project is due to be complete in the second half of next year.

Howard Jacobson, growth adviser at Business Wales, said: “This meet the buyer event is a prime opportunity for Welsh contractors to gain more insight into the appropriate packages before bidding for the transformational scheme.

“Business Wales are delighted to be able to support any businesses wishing to tender through our fully funded support and workshops.”