AN architects’ practice which has designed a host of Scottish university buildings has highlighted the need for a fundamental reappraisal of the way public contracts are awarded, while warning that Scotland could yet face a “ripple” effect as the impact of Brexit is beginning to be felt in London.

The collapse of contract services giant Carillion has led to huge uncertainty over the fate of thousands of jobs, and fears sub-contractors across Scotland will ultimately be left out of pocket for work already carried out on projects awarded to the bust FTSE 100 company.

Architects’ firm Sheppard Robson, which generates around one third of its work in the public sector, has worked on a raft of building projects in the education sector since its Glasgow office was established 10 years ago. Past projects have included the Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow, while it is currently working on the £63 million Knockroon Learning Campus in East Ayrshire.

Partner Adam McGhee, who heads the Glasgow office with James Dick, said: “I think the fundamental issue here is that there is a complete misunderstanding of the complexity and the true cost of these types of projects.

“What we’re banking on here is a bit of a false economy. But if it’s the only economy in town and that’s where the big-ticket projects are sitting, people have to secure these projects as a business imperative, to secure their turnover. They’ll look for efficiencies throughout the course [of the project], but if those efficiencies don’t materialise, that’s where end up with these significant losses.

“It just strikes me that the big question here is: do we require a review of the procurement process, because it seems that a number of these big five contracting firms are suffering difficulties, and making significant losses on these government procured projects.”

There have been suggestions the government should bring some projects back “in-house” following the Carillion collapse, but Mr McGhee warned ministers they could get a “sharp shock”.

He added: “They might find that even they struggle to deliver value for the taxpayer’s pound.”

Asked how he would like to see the procurement system reformed, Mr McGhee said bidders for projects should be made to deliver a “fairer” break down of the costs involved. “Fundamentally, the balance in assessing the appropriate bidder, cost and quality, needs to be properly re-assessed, so you are not just taking the lowest bid,” he added.

Sheppard Robson has previously flagged its concern that Scottish universities may find their expansion projects threatened by Brexit, with Mr Dick voicing fears the vote to leave the European Union could result in a vital funding source being blocked. He said this could impede the ambitions of institutions such as the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, which compete on the world stage when it comes to attracting staff, students and research funding.

Mr McGhee said Sheppard Robson has yet to see any notable effect from Brexit. However, he feels there may yet be a “ripple effect” for the firm, which has staff from more than 60 countries across its offices in Glasgow, Manchester and London.

Mr McGhee said: “We haven’t noticed a massive impact. We certainly found opportunities in the aftermath of Brexit for our business to grow, and continue to be successful.

“What we are very aware of is businesses in London starting to see a downturn in specific sectors. The commercial office sector seems to be taking a bit of a downturn in London. We are almost holding our breath to see if there is that ripple effect that we have seen so often in history.”