HS2 forced to rebid £435m Curzon Street station

Aaron Morby 2 months ago
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HS2 has cancelled the bid race for its flagship Curzon Street station project in Birmingham blaming a lack of interest from contractors.

The move is the first signal that contractors’ appetite to take on high-risk major projects is waning after a wave of big write-downs across the sector.

The rail client had hoped to shortlist at least four bidders for the £435m contract in May but said there had been a lack of interest from the industry in the call to prequalify.

According to industry sources, Balfour Beatty’s joint venture with Vinci was a strong contender for the central Birmingham station project.

Already it has been named as preferred bidder for the £1bn HS2 Old Oak Common station in west London.

But a legal challenge against the procurement process from rival bidder Bechtel has left this win in the air.

Amid this uncertainty, it is understood BBV was struggling to commit to the Curzon Street station build.

One source said: “The stations procurement is all starting to look like a bit of a mess, so it is not surprising HS2 has gone back to the drawing board.”

Now HS2 wants to recast the procurement process to rebalance risk transfer between client and contractor, in an attempt to draw in more bidders.

A Curzon Street industry day will be held next Friday (19 July) to set out fresh procurement plans.

An invitation to bid will now go out in early September, setting the procurement process back 10 months.

A statement said: “HS2 have recognised the current market conditions are challenging and the increasing concern regarding risk transfer and wanted to revise our position to provide a better balance and overall outcome.

“The industry day will provide an opportunity to re-engage with the market and outline our revised strategy which we believe will attract a larger number of bidders, reduce risk and thereby produce a more competitive process.”

Interested firms need to register for the event by noon on 17 July.

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