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HS2 leaders urge NI companies to bid for £10bn phase 1 contracts

Senior representatives from HS2 Ltd spoke to companies in Northern Ireland today (10 September) to urge them to bid for the £10bn contracts available for the first phase of the project.

Speaking at an event in Belfast, Northern Ireland enterprise trade and investment minister, Jonathan Bell, said Northern Ireland companies have already shown – through the London Olympics and Crossrail – that they “have the skills required to build first class infrastructure”.

He pointed out that the event’s turnout proved there was an “encouraging” interest from Irish construction and civil engineering companies to “find out more” about Britain’s largest infrastructure project.

HS2 Ltd commercial director, Beth West, added: “Building HS2 is a massive long-term project, one that offers a huge opportunity for Northern Ireland companies to bid for billions of pounds worth of contracts to deliver HS2, which will boost jobs and skills across Northern Ireland.

“To deliver a project of HS2’s scale and complexity requires the right companies with the right skills. I’m extremely pleased that so many local firms have already shown an interest and I’d like to encourage all Northern Ireland businesses large or small to get involved with HS2.”

Bell promoted the opportunity by reminding attendees that Invest Northern Ireland had previously organised meet the buyer events for Crossrail that led to over £1m of orders with Irish-based firms.

In August, RTM revealed that contracts for major civil engineering works in HS2 would be put out to tender in September.

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson told RTM that it would issue invitations to tender for an ‘engineering delivery partner’ to provide works valued at £350m, alongside a second £900m contract for enabling works in the autumn.

The procurement process for most of the major engineering works between London and Birmingham will start after the publication of a pre-qualification questionnaire next month. There will be contracts for seven lots, ranging between £700m and £1.1bn, totalling £6.4bn.

Royal Assent is not expected until the end of next year, but West told RTM that the current procurement exercises do not “pre-empt the granting of Royal Assent for the HS2 Bill currently going through Parliament”.

Phase 1 of the high speed project will link London to Birmingham and is scheduled to start in 2017, creating up to 15,000 construction jobs and 2,200 permanent maintenance jobs.

(Edit: Story updated to amend previously incorrect contract figure)


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