Balfour Beatty warns HS2 delays putting jobs at risk

Aaron Morby 5 years ago
Share

Balfour Beatty has warned that delays to starting main civils work on HS2 is putting jobs at risk.

In a report setting out the challenges faced by main contractors in the delivery of major infrastructure projects, it warns that the UK’s ‘will they, won’t they’ approach to major project planning and funding is hitting the skills pool.

There is now a real fear that staff taken on to deliver huge contract packages could be put at risk.

“Balfour Beatty has taken on a large number of employees in order to enable us to deliver the contracts we are proud to have won on HS2,” said the contractor.

“However, the delays to HS2 mean that these people will now either have to be redeployed where possible, onto other schemes, or, where this is not possible, be made redundant.

“This situation is being replicated across the industry.”

The project is reported to be around £1bn over the £6.6bn budget and HS2 bosses want contractors to streamline final costs before signing off contracts for the construction phase.

Main civils on HS2 was originally planned to start in in November 2018. This slipped to March before being extended to June in order to provide suppliers with additional time to optimise their designs.

Now HS2 chiefs have put this date back again to after the summer to give contractors more time on delivering costings in line with expectations.

Balfour Beatty also warns that good strategic planning work to stagger major project starts is also at risk of being undermined.

“Unscheduled delays such as that currently impacting HS2 will effect current agreements to phase work on concurrent mega projects,” says the Balfour report

“Mega projects should therefore be planned and sequenced by Government as a programme or pipeline of work to avoid ‘feast and famine’ in the supply of skilled labour,” it warns.

Next decade of mega projects and workforce demand


As the Government advances the infrastructure project pipeline Balfour has also urged the Government to use a procurement model that strengthens, rather than weakens the industry.

“We encourage the Government to consider the need for a robust domestic construction industry when contemplating the nature of risks that can be reasonably transferred to the private sector.”

It also wants Government and the industry to help skilled individuals move between schemes, via a single, coordinated passport scheme covering the whole construction and infrastructure industry.

Leo Quinn, chief executive also welcomed moves by Government to revamp the Apprenticeship Levy and revisit its £30,000 earning threshold to restrict  numbers of lower skilled EU workers.

He said: “Government must play its part in making sure that the immigration system is flexible enough to allow the industry to access the skilled workers it needs to build these hugely complex, challenging schemes where there is a shortfall of UK workers – which there will be; that the way in which it procures schemes ensures a robust, viable construction industry; and that the Apprenticeship Levy is fit for purpose and delivering the future talent pool needed.”

Latest news

Farrans makes breakthrough on tricky tunnel job

Farrans Construction has completed an innovative tunnelling operation for Northumbrian Water as a TBM completed an underground crossing of the River Tees. The 220m tunnel is part of Phase 1 of a new £155m water pipeline to be constructed while protecting the watercourse and the wildlife that relies upon it. Northumbrian Water’s Project Pipeline: County […]
59 mins ago

Housing contractor Durkan suffers second year of losses

More fire safety provisions tip firm into £3.9m loss
22 mins ago

Heidelberg buys aggregates and earthworks specialist B&A

Latest deal follows acquisition of Mick George
37 mins ago

Plan in for £3bn Lincolnshire mega data centre

3.3m sq ft Humber Tech Park will be one of Europe's largest data centres
3 days ago

Green light for Digbeth 1,300 homes scheme

Warner’s Fields scheme to start with excavation and landscaping of the River Rea
3 days ago

Flagship biodiversity net gain scheme flawed

NAO warns Government's flagship green development scheme at risk of failure
3 days ago

£210m M3 Junction 9 upgrade gains consent

VolkerFitzpatrick to start work in early 2025 on Winnall roundabout, near Winchester
3 days ago

United Living wins 14-year L&Q homes repairs deal

Trafford housing upkeep deal worth £205m
3 days ago

£400m Lewisham resi-led scheme advances

Land deal paves way for Amro Partners' 1,000-home London scheme
3 days ago

McLaren gets go-ahead for Grade II listed Leeds student scheme

Springfield House to be revamped and two new wings added
3 days ago

Piling giant to fit people alarms on all rigs

Cementation Skanska upgrades site safety systems
3 days ago

Vistry to make £800m profit after subcontractor cost cuts

House builder bullish about shareholder returns after asking suppliers for discounts
4 days ago

Shareholders approve £2.5bn Barratt and Redrow merger

Final hurdle is for the competition regulator to approve the deal.
4 days ago

Green light for £80m Leith waterfront revamp

Build-to-rent homes and student accommodation scheme to be built
4 days ago

Tilbury Douglas clears Interserve legacy jobs to return to profit

Revenue tops £500m in first year as standalone contractor
5 days ago

Land deal paves way for Manchester civil service office hub

Government buys five acres at former Central Retail Park
4 days ago

Speller Metcalfe wins Wolverhampton library upgrade

Full works are due to start in the autumn
4 days ago

Skills shortage puts big infrastructure projects at risk

Government failing as an intelligent client and now over-reliant on consultancies
5 days ago

Contractors face further insulation board price hikes

Cost of PIR insulation boards set to rise another 10%
5 days ago

Henry Boot wins £36m Rotherham Markets job

Project involves upgrading existing market and building a new library
5 days ago

Keltbray hires new head of infrastructure procurement

Lukasz Olszewski will oversee rail, energy and highways business units
5 days ago

Tunnel fit out robot to revolutionise civils work

Costain and VVB Engineering part of innovative consortium
5 days ago

Funding deal for £86m wind turbine test centre

Latest investment at National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth
6 days ago

Plan in for Manchester ‘upside-down’ 18-storey tower

Landmark cantilevered NXQ building plan for city Northern Quarter
6 days ago

London 25km Super Sewer hooked up for commissioning

Tideway completes connection to existing Lee Tunnel sewer system
6 days ago

£200m Lincoln ring-road approved

North Hykeham Relief Road granted planning permission
6 days ago

£1bn Manchester Airport City plan rebooted as new sci-tech hub

Plan pivots from offices to science and manufacturing campus, called MIX Manchester
7 days ago

Record results at maintenance specialist Renew

Infrastructure maintenance work continues to pay off for contractor
6 days ago

Barhale lands £21m shaft scheme for Thames Water

Civils specialist bags latest upgrade deal on Thames Water Ring Main
6 days ago

Caddick names new north east director

Former Laing O'Rourke project lead joins Yorkshire contractor
6 days ago

Contractor services