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New Street costs spiral over £700m

The anticipated final cost (AFC) for the Birmingham New Street station enhancement project has ballooned to £708m, according to the latest figures from Network Rail. 

Within the November ‘Progress and costs of high profile Network Rail projects’ report, it was revealed that since the last quarter the project’s cost increased by £47m. 

Network Rail stated that additional expenditure has been incurred on the “extensive renewal of defective concrete in the original station structure, asbestos removal and tenant relocation”. 

Originally, Birmingham New Street’s enhancement works had an AFC at GRIP 4 of £483m. This figure, along with separately funded work added or removed since then, stood at £661m in the August 2014 report. But now, in the figures correct to December, the total has increased to £708m. 

The latest overview document revealed that more offices, the extended concourse and improved bomb blast protection had been added to the GRIP 4 scope. But Network Rail added that “further costs” are anticipated as a result of knock-on effects within the delivery programme. 

Network Rail is also involved in the linked project, funded by Birmingham City Council, to construct the new shopping centre above the station and new John Lewis store. The financials for that aspect of the project are accounted for separately in Network Rail's report, published quarterly as part of the company's transparency agenda.

The last of the major civils work on Birmingham New Street station is underway, with the entire project still expected to be finished on time by September 2015. 

In the last edition of RTM, we caught up with  Chris Montgomery, Network Rail’s project director for the New Street project, and Paul Dalton, Mace’s senior project manager and associate director, who gave their thoughts on the latest civils work and what the finished gateway will deliver for the city’s future. 

On 2 December, natural light hit the floor of the new concourse at Birmingham New Street station as the final layer of concrete was broken through as part of the development’s new atrium. 

birmingham new street up through the floor to the new atrium

More than 4,000 tonnes of concrete, which made up much of the roof of the old shopping centre, has already been removed and demolition experts are preparing to demolish the final 2,000-tonne layer which made up the roof of the old concourse. Over the past two months, demolition engineers from specialist contractor Coleman & Company have worked round-the-clock over to remove the thousands of tonnes of concrete. 

birmingham new street atrium view

RTM has asked Network Rail for further details on the increased AFC, but at the time of publication had received no reply.

“During construction of the first phase of the project a number of large unexpected issues were uncovered including a core riddled with defective concrete and asbestos. These legacy issues, dating back to the stations construction in the 60s, needed to be fixed and extra investment has been necessary,” said a Network Rail spokesperson. 

“The total predicted cost for the project is £750m with roughly £150m paying for the building of John Lewis and Grand Central and £600m to transform Birmingham New Street into a C21st transport hub.”

(Images: c. Network Rail) 

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