Coach Fabricators Tender

We're looking for a coach fabricator or converter to help transform a school bus into a mobile observatory.

Key Information
15 February 2023
w/c 20 February 2023

LEEDS 2023 are looking for an experienced coach refurbisher or converter to help transform a former school bus into a mobile observatory in collaboration with artists Heather Peak and Ivan Morison.

Part of one of LEEDS 2023's flagship projects, Smeaton300, this mobile observatory project is inspired by the legacy of father of civil engineering, East Leeds-born John Smeaton. It will be a magical space for communities to gather, observe the stars and the world around them during a 7 month tour of the city.

The commission is an East Leeds Project and LEEDS 2023 co-Production and is commissioned by Foxglove and LEEDS 2023.  


Fabricator Brief 

The scope of work for the Fabricator on this project includes: 

  • Working closely with LEEDS 2023 and the Commissioned Artists to design and deliver the external fabrication, Internal Systems, Interior Fit Out and Finishings (where applicable), on time, on budget and in line with Leeds 2023 core values around Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Sustainability / Impact and Accessibility. 

  • Design and Install (to the highest standard) of all Fabrication Works and Internal / External Systems in line with current building / vehicle regulations and health and safety. Providing the necessary sign off / documentation / certification when required (Electrical, Gas, Alternative / Modified Fuel Systems, Heating, Plumbing, Modifications to the vehicle that may impact mechanical performance). 

  • Practically the work will include, but will not be limited to: Modifications to the vehicle shell (blanking windows, access steps, roof hatches). Fitting of Fresh Water System, Heating System, 12/240V Electrical Systems, Solar Power, 240v/16A Hook Up, Kitchen with Hob and Fridge, Toilet, Lighting, Mobile Broadband / WIFI and Audio Visual requirements, Integrated Furniture, Full Paint Job and or Vinyl Wrap. 



 The schedule is subject to change but we are working towards the following key deadlines: 

  • Early February 2023: the detailed design is developed by the fabricator.  

  • Mid February 2023: Works commence (8 – 10 weeks) 

  • April 2023: Works completed 



We are looking for fabricators who can demonstrate: 


  • Experience of working successfully bespoke vehicle conversions. 

  • Strong design capability and in house capacity including fabrication / bodywork, interior conversion, coachworks / painting and or vinyl wrapping.  

  • Sufficient resources including personnel and workshop space 

  • Competent trading history 

  • A commitment to sustainability and ability to present past projects that were delivered sustainably  

  • Experience of working to tight schedules and set budgets 

  • Compliance with regulations associated with vehicle conversion and internal systems (Electric, Gas, BioFuel, Heating and Plumbing) signed off by competent engineer(s) 

  • Adequate PLI and ELI  

  • Relevant qualifications and membership to industry bodies 

  • Evidence of a network of relevant contacts locally, regionally, and nationally 

  • Evidence of an alignment with LEEDS 2023’s values including a demonstrable commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion 

  • Value for money 



Applicants are invited to submit an expression of interest (no more than 4 pages) and a portfolio of relevant previous work, company details, details of ELI and PLI, and rate card or estimates of fees which can be sent to Joseph French, production@leeds2023.co.uk.

Applications will be shortlisted and fabricators of interest will then be invited to discuss the project with the wider team shortly after the application closing date.  

We particularly welcome applications from agencies/companies/individuals who champion diversity and inclusion in their work and practice.  

If you have any questions, please email info@leeds2023.co.uk.