During a period of ever-tighter budgets, public-private partnerships are providing a welcome boost to the construction business the education sector. Operations based on this type of funding are now taking off in France and Belgium.
The concept of a partnership between government and private sector businesses is far from new. Numerous examples include construction of the Canal de Midi and the operation of motorway networks. But until recently, France has not seen the type of partnership where risks are allocated to more accurately reflect a project's characteristics, particularly when it comes to concessions. This type of contract is designed to help spread the risks associated with the different projects in a more balanced manner. It also seeks to ensure that public resources are used to the very best effect, a major plus point in times of austerity.
The two biggest educational building projects under way in France are PPP-funded. On the Ecole Polytechnique site south-west of Paris, the new ENSTA (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Techniques Avancées) campus is taking shape thanks to a PPP between the Ministry of Defence and a consortium made up of GTM Bâtiment (VINCI Construction France), Cofely (GDF Suez), Lacoudre et Godet (architects), Sogreprom and Société Générale. It covers the financing, design, construction and maintenance of a teaching and research facility, 432 housing units and a gymnasium. The overall project value is in excess of €100 million
In the heart of the capital, the future Paris Diderot University is rising up on the Paris Rive Gauche site in south-eastern Paris, another product of a PPP agreement with a value of €273 million, including €108 million for design and construction.
The demand for educational buildings is taking shape in developing countries. More and more new-build projects are under way, a development that is boosting the construction business. In Chad, Sogea-Satom realize the new Toukra University in the capital N'Djamena. The project is valued at €86.6 million and covers the construction and fitting-out of 37,500 sq. metres of buildings and external works.
Overall value of the two major PPP projects that VINCI Construction France is executing in the French education sector: ENSTA and Paris Diderot University.
Annual revenue generated by VINCI Construction UK in the education market in 2009 and 2010
Potential value of the school rebuilding and renovation market in Belgium."