It doesn’t mean that actual main construction work will start yet; that comes later in the year. But today the project client, HS2 Ltd, has received formal notice to proceed (NTP) from the Department for Transport for the four main civil engineering works packages of phase one of the railway between London and Birmingham.
To date, the contracts between HS2 Ltd and the main works civils contractors (MWCC) for Phase One have focused on undertaking scheme design and site preparation (including pricing and scoping) for the civils work. The issuing of NTP marks the point in the MWCC contracts where the work transitions from scheme design and preparatory work, to full detailed design and construction.
The MWCCs can now start site preparation works and placing subcontracts.
However, according to one of the contracting teams, main construction will not start "in earnest" until the second quarter of 2021.
The four contracting teams are:
- SCS Railways (Skanska Construction UK, Costain, Strabag)
- Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics, VolkerFitzpatrick, Sir Robert McAlpine)
- EKFB JV (Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Agroman, BAM Nuttall)
- BBV JV (Balfour Beatty, Vinci)
HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston said: “In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry - and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports - and an important investment in Britain’s future: levelling up the country, improving our transport network and changing the way we travel to help bring down carbon emissions and improve air quality for the next generation.”
HS2 Ltd awarding the contracts to four MWCCs is the next significant step of phase one of the project. An estimated 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities for UK businesses will be created during phase one of HS2, supporting thousands of jobs on site and many more around the country. It is estimated that around 95% of those contract opportunities will be won by UK based businesses and around two thirds of those will be small and medium sized businesses.”
Mark Thurston continued: “HS2 has been over 10 years in development and design. While the country’s focus is rightly on defeating Covid-19, the issuing of notice to proceed today ensures that our contractors and their supply chains have the confidence that they can commit to building HS2, generating thousands of skilled jobs across the country as we recover from the pandemic.”
As well as contracts being awarded today, the Department for Transport has also published the new Full business case High Speed 2 Phase One, setting out the strategic and economic case for the project and outlining how it will deliver a positive return on investment, alongside boosting capacity and connectivity needed in towns and cities across the country, delivering on the government’s levelling up agenda.