Now HS2 Construction Contracts Delayed Amidst Conflict of Interest Row

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As we already know, over the last month HS2 Ltd have delayed the award of their Phase 2 development partner contract to CH2M Hill, as losing bidder Mace has looked to challenge the award due to conflict of interests, due to the obvious connections between Hill & HS2 Ltd through staff secondments and CEO appointments.

HS2 Timescales, published in March 2014

Last week, that award was delayed again as Mace were called in to HS2 Ltd for further meetings, as they have hired a QC to represent them. The whole debacle has led to what Guido Fawkes reported as a ‘crisis board meeting’ this week on Wednesday. While the CH2M contracts have been in the spotlight of the conflict of interest row, just two days after their crisis meeting, it has been announced that all the Phase 1 construction contracts, which were to be awarded in a couple of weeks, will be delayed until at least June.

Of course, as usual HS2 Ltd put a spin on this, saying:

“HS2 remains on schedule with the Main Works contracts due to be awarded in the summer. Our Enabling Works contractors are already on board and preparing for the first activities on the ground over the next few months. These vital early works are designed to clear the way for the start of the Main Works and reduce the risk of delay later in the programme.”

But the reality is that despite the bluster of ‘HS2 remaining on schedule’ and that this will ‘reduce the risk of delay’, their plan now is to only award the £8.6bn construction contracts after construction was meant to have started, if indeed this whole mess is cleared up by June.

Whilst neither CH2M or Mace are amongst the preferred bidders for the construction contracts plenty of others on the ‘HS2 Industry Leaders Group’ are, with the timing of this announcement coming just two days after the crisis meeting, there is clearly more going on than HS2 Ltd are willing to admit.

The full shortlist is:

  • Align JV: BouyguesTravaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, Volkerfitzpatrick
  • ASL: Acciona Infraestructuras, John Sisk & Son (Holdings) Ltd, Lagan Construction Group Ltd
  • Balfour Beatty Vinci BeMO (BBV JV): Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, Vinci Construction Grands Projets, Vinci Construction UK Ltd, Vinci Construction Terrassement SAS, BeMO Tunnelling GmbH
  • Catalyst: Bechtel Ltd
  • Carillion-Eiffage-Kier (CEK) JV: Carillion Construction Ltd, Eiffage Genie Civil S.A. (previously Eiffage TP), Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd
  • Fusion: Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure Ltd (previously Morgan Sindall plc), BAM Nuttall Ltd, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Ltd
  • LFM: Laing O’Rourke Construction Ltd, FCC Construccion S.A., J. Murphy and Sons Ltd
  • Momentum Infrastructure: Dragados S.A., HOCHTIEF Infrastructure GmbH, GallifordTry Infrastructure Ltd
  • SCS: Skanska Construction (UK) Ltd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG