Progress on three fronts for HS2
Three steps towards the start of HS2 construction were taken this week on the administrative, legislative and contractual fronts.
At an administrative level, the client organisation’s new offices in Birmingham were officially opened.
In Parliament, the enabling legislation reached a significant stage.
And there was progress in creating the construction supply chain as more than 300 companies attended meetings with the consortia of major contractors pitching for the enabling works.
HS2 Ltd’s headquarters in Birmingham were officially opened by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin on Thursday 4th February 2016. Up to 1,000 staff will be employed at these offices in the Colmore business district.
The official opening coincided with the final week of petitions in relation to the HS2 Phase One hybrid Bill being heard in the House of Commons select committee. This marks a significant step towards the Bill, which will provide the planning permission for phase one of the High Speed 2 route between London and Birmingham.
The petitioning process gives those affected by HS2 the opportunity to be heard. Over the last 17 months, the HS2 Commons select committee has heard almost 2,600 petitions, many of which have led to changes to the Bill.
The HS2 phase one legislation is expected to achieve Royal Assent by December 2016. Construction on the London to Birmingham route is due to start in 2017.
Seven contracting teams are currently preparing bids for three packages of enabling works, worth £900m in aggregate.
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) hosted a meet-the-bidder event for them at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre on Wednesday this week (3rd February 2016), which was attended by more than 300 potential suppliers interested in getting a slice of the action.
Of these companies, more than 70% were small and medium-sized businesses, CECA said, offering services from archaeological and ecological consulting to fencing and earthmoving.
Over the course of the day more than 1200 meetings took place between these companies and the seven joint ventures who will be receiving bid documents for the enabling works packages later this month.
CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “We know that delivering HS2 will require the skills and capability of some of the UK and Europe’s largest infrastructure contractors. Yet these companies will also rely on a wide range of small and specialist suppliers, bringing additional value through the extra capabilities that they offer, ensuring the project’s efficient delivery. This event provided evidence of the level of support that is standing ready to deliver across the country once the first enabling works begin next year.”
“This was a terrific event for the shortlisted bidders, as it allowed us to meet an exciting cross section of our potential supply chain,” said Nadia Savage, director of the Laing O’Rourke/Murphy joint venture LM. “We met some really interesting businesses, from family run SMEs right through to national corporations. The numbers present showed the passion and enthusiasm of the UK construction sector to deliver HS2.”
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This article was published on 5 Feb 2016 (last updated on 8 Feb 2016).