HS2 approval throws ‘lifeline’ to consultants

Aaron Morby 10 years ago

The industry’s work-starved consultants reacted with relief to the Government’s decision to press ahead with the £33bn HS2 railway line.

The decision holds out the promise of much-needed design and consultancy work, expected to be worth up to £350m in fee income alone.

But the reaction from contractors was far more circumspect, as many feared the project start will be allowed to slip in the face of fierce local opposition and prolonged attacks on the cost effectiveness of the investment.

A spokesman for a national contractor said: “We of course welcome it, but the start date is set after the next election. A lot can happen between now and then as we have all seen over the years. The real heavy investment in construction seems like it is going to be a very long way off.”

Despite the caution about when contract work will materialise, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association called for contractors to be brought onto the project at the earliest stage.

CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said: “The announcement of the go-ahead for the first phase of High Speed 2 is both a phenomenal opportunity for industry, but also an enormous challenge.

“The delivery of HS2, both on time and to budget, will confirm the strengths of the UK infrastructure sector at home and abroad.

He added: “Nonetheless, the decisions that are being made now have the potential to have a huge impact on the delivery of the project. It would be hugely beneficial for those contractors who will be working on HS2 to be involved in the development of the project, even at this early stage.

The Association for Consultancy & Engineering chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said: “Industry is pleased to see broad cross-party support for HS2.

“The transport select committee reported that no alternative to HS2 offered the increased rail capacity and there is general agreement that the project will pay economic dividends.

“We hope this will see challenges and public concerns resolved quickly and constructively so as to get the project underway without delays.”

One consultant told the Enquirer: “We have been waiting for this and it promises to really boost work at a time when there is little about. It’s a real lifeline for all of us, because not much else is going on in the UK.

He added: “Every major player in the industry is bidding for the consultancy work, which has already come out to tender.”

Government project promoter High Speed 2 Ltd plans to select a framework of firms this year to cover architectural and engineering services, urban planning and landscape engineering, technical testing and analysis services.

Professional fees for the front end of the project have been estimated to cost anywhere from £250m to £350m.

Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) HS2 Expert Panel, Steve Hayter, said: “Government’s willingness to explore different engineering options to minimise the impact on those communities affected must be welcomed.

“Tunnelling on this scale is a proven, effective engineering solution with many advantages. Engineers will now stand ready to do what they do best – overcoming any challenges and ensuring the project succeeds.”

Transport secretary Justine Greening revealed several new measures to mitigate the worst affects of the line, which will see journey times between London and Birmingham cut to just 49 minutes.

A new tunnel as the line passes through Ruislip in West London will remove all noise and visual impacts in that section of the route, and extended tunnelling  in the Chilterns will bring further benefits to that area.

The length of the line which is in tunnel or green tunnel has been increased by over 50%, to around 22.5 miles in nine individual sections.

In addition, around 56.5 miles of the 140 mile route will be partially or totally hidden in cuttings, and the amount on viaduct or embankment  has been substantially reduced.

This means that well over half of the route would be mitigated by a tunnel or cutting.

The Government also confirmed plans for a London link between HS1 and HS2 to allow passengers from Europe non-stop travel to the North.

The decision will also see huge investment in London’s Euston Station and a new station development at Old Oak Common in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Latest news

B&K returns to strong profit growth across the group

Pre-tax profit jumps 23% to £65m as revenue edges up to £1.18bn
6 hours ago

British Land expects tender price inflation to hit 10%

Developer says 91% of costs are fixed on planned schemes
5 hours ago

Morgan Sindall set for £80m leisure and health hub

West Suffolk public service development to be built at no extra cost to tax payers
6 hours ago

Plans in for £500m Hollow Mountain pumped hydro scheme

Work removing 2m tonnes of rock could start within two years
1 day ago

L&G to pump £4bn into West Midlands developments

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street signs landmark investment deal with L&G
6 hours ago

Hunt starts for £250m Stockport 8 site developer

Town centre 8-acre site is earmarked for 1,200 homes, shops and leisure
23 hours ago

Higgins bags trio of East London passivhaus schemes

Partnership to build 220 affordable homes for Newham council
18 hours ago

Water industry revives PFI model for £1bn job

Vast Haweswater Aqueduct upgrade to pilot new DPC model, hailed as the future for water companies
1 day ago

VolkerRail fined £550,000 after trench collapse

Court hears how two metre deep excavation was unsupported
1 day ago

‘Ratty the Robot’ takes bite out of costly pipe inspections

Pipe-crawling tetherless robo-rat makes light work of complex underground inspections
1 day ago

Graham gets green light for £124m M25 Junction 28

Consent allows work to start this Autumn on Essex junction upgrade
2 days ago

Six win £600m panelised housing DPS deal

Better Building alliance of 29 housing associations signs up manufacturers
1 day ago

Watkin Jones reports record £2bn pipeline

Student rooms and BTR builder plans corporate name change in big rebrand
1 day ago

Race starts for £500m Scottish zero carbon hospital job

Bidding starts for new University Hospital Monklands near Airdrie
2 days ago

Manchester airport taxis out £60m terminal 2 pier job

Bidding to start before the end of 2022 for project start early next summer
2 days ago

Plan for 1,100-home complex at Leicester factory site

Galliford Try investments plots Corah Factory transformation
2 days ago

Axed House by Urban Splash staff plan legal action

Ex-workers consult with lawyers following administration
2 days ago

Summer slowdown fears as latest contract award data droops

Latest Barbour ABI Snap Analysis paints uncertain picture
2 days ago

Farrans wins £39m Somerset recycling hub

Site preparation gets underway for Keynsham Recycling Hub
2 days ago

Balfour gets green light for £250m M25 junction 10

Autumn start for M25 junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange improvement scheme
5 days ago

Leeds plumbing contractor sinks with loss of 30 jobs

Dickinsons Plumbing and Heating goes down but renewables arm salvaged in sale
5 days ago

HS2 achieves first diesel-free construction site

Skanska Costain STRABAG JV runs Kilburn site with green kit
5 days ago

Administration confirmed at House by Urban Splash

160 jobs lost following "operational issues" at modular factory
6 days ago

Network Rail fined £1.4m after worker crushed by track machines

Judge highlights "many layers of failure" within site management
6 days ago

Kier picked for £350m Leatherhead regen plan

Property arm to draw up plans to redevelop two large town centre sites
6 days ago

Two seriously injured in London steelwork collapse

Two steel erectors left fighting for their lives after collapse at Ardmore site
7 days ago

Urban Splash modular staff start looking for new jobs

Work stops at House by Urban Splash factory and housing sites
7 days ago

Building facade specialist CMS goes into administration

Building envelope firm had turnover of £43m
7 days ago

Office work uplift returns construction output to growth

New commercial work drives output uplift for the first time since the pandemic
6 days ago

More suppliers wanted on £683m waste power plant

Meet the buyer event for North London Heat and Power Project: Register now
1 week ago

Contractor services