Bechtel has been named by HS2 as its preferred supplier for the £170m contract to be its development partner to help develop plans for the line from Birmingham to Leeds and Crewe to Manchester.
CH2M had been preferred but it withdrew last month following controversy about conflicts of interest and probity of process, given the close connections between CH2M and the HS2 organisation. CH2M has also been HS2’s development partner for phase 1 of the project since 2012 under a £350m contract. In January 2017 CH2M managing director Mark Thurston was appointed chief executive of HS2, taking over from interim chief executive Roy Hill who was himself on secondment from CH2M. HS2 has 25 former CH2M employees on its payroll and a further 37 on secondment.
Losing bidder Mace had taken legal advice and called for the procurement process to be re-run. However, Mace – the only UK firm in the running – was in third place behind Bechtel in the original tender process, so Bechtel is next in line for the job. Bechtel and CH2M are both US engineering companies.
An HS2 spokesman said: “HS2 Ltd can confirm that Bechtel are being taken forward to the next stage of the 2b Development Partner procurement process.
“The bidder now enters the standstill period allowed for under the process prior to contract award. Following discussions, we are confident they are able and prepared to deliver the contract on time, on budget and to a high standard.”