HS2

25.04.19

HS2 ignored serious concerns with winning bid for £1.3bn Old Oak Common contract, claims Bechtel

HS2 Ltd accepted an “abnormally low” bid and ignored serious concerns over the chosen contractors to build a key station, the losing bidders for the £1.3bn Old Oak Common contract Bechtel claimed in a High Court claim.

 Bechtel’s claim states that HS2 acknowledged a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Vinci was “severely under-resourced and a real risk to the safe and timely completion and handover.”

The joint venture was chosen in February to deliver the Old Oak Common super-hub, but last month the American engineering firm Bechtel announced it had launched a legal challenge against HS2, claiming the tender process was botched.

Bechtel currently has a £170m contract to deliver Phase 2b of the flagship project signed in 2017, and was originally in the running for the construction of both Old Oak Common and Euston, but Bechtel pulled out of the former to focus on its bid to build the west London ‘super hub’.

The alleged concerns raised, first reported by the Sunday Times, emerged in a legal claim filed to the High Court by Bechtel.

It states that HS2 said it had “very low confidence” in the ability of Balfour Beatty and Vinci to manage, deliver and assure the works, but despite the alleged concerns HS2 awarded Balfour Beatty and Vinci with the contract.

Bechtel reportedly launched the High Court challenge based on the feedback it had been given on its bid compared to the winning one, and argued that the scoring of technical proposals was not done in a “holistic and aligned manner.”

The construction of Old Oak is still due to be completed by 2026 and is billed as the UK’s single best-connected rail interchange, including connections to HS2 and Crossrail.

This is the latest controversy to hit the DfT and the £56bn flagship project, with fears it may run over budget and over schedule just as Crossrail has, and some have suggested HS2 could have its speed or capacity reduced to keep it within budget.

 

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