He opened bidding today on the first seven major infrastructure projects worth £11.8bn during his visit to China, where he is also promoting the Northern Powerhouse.
The Chancellor also announced plans for a new ‘HS2 partnering day’ between British and Chinese firms to explore joining up on bids for contracts..
The industry’s major players have already formed consortia, many with international construction giants, to mitigate the risks on design and build contracts expected to be worth up to £1.1bn. These include several major French and Spanish civil engineering giants.
Latest HS2 bidding consortia
- Balfour Beatty/Vinci
- Align – Bouygues/Sir Robert McAlpine/Volker Fitzpatrick
- LFM– Laing O’Rourke Group/FCC Construcción/Murphy
- Morgan Sindall/BAM/Ferrovial Amey
- Dragados/Hochtief/Galliford Try
More than half the route will be in cuttings or tunnels, with around 100 bridges and viaducts needed.
The launch of the bidding process takes the form of a pre-qualification questionnaire for the main civils works for phase 1.
At this stage suppliers will be allowed to express an interest in all seven packages.
Following the PQQ, successful applicants will be invited to bid for up to four packages at tender stage, with a maximum award of two contracts per tenderer.
The seven contracts are split over three geographical areas (North, Central, South), along the phase 1 route from London to Birmingham.
There will also be the option for additional contracts covering the route North of Birmingham, subject to a ministerial decision on this later in the year.
Tranche 2 comprises £2.6bn of stations work, and Tranche 3 comprises £1.5bn of railway systems orders. These will be launched in 2016 and 2017.
Construction works will commence following Royal Assent of the Phase 1 Hybrid Bill which is currently being considered by Parliament.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “HS2 provides an excellent opportunity for businesses across the UK with 25,000 jobs created during construction and 3,000 when up and running.
“The start of the procurement process for these significant contracts is a major step towards construction on HS2 getting underway in two years’ time and a massive opportunity to help rebalance our economy long before the trains start running in 2026.”