HS2 confirms it has lined up the firm to replace CH2M

Bechtel has been named preferred supplier for the contract on the second phase of HS2 which was originally won by CH2M.

The news comes just 24 hours before HS2 chairman David Higgins, along with transport secretary Chris Grayling, will answer questions about CH2M’s withdrawal at a select committee hearing tomorrow afternoon.

An HS2 spokesperson confirmed the hearing is still on after this morning’s news that a general election has been called for June 8.

HS2 Ltd, which is responsible for building the network, has been in discussions with second-placed Bechtel since the end of last month when original preferred bidder CH2M dramatically pulled out of the deal for the £170m phase two delivery partner contract.

An HS2 spokesperson confirmed that standstill letters to Bechtel and remaining bidder Mace went out this morning.

He added: “The bidder now enters the standstill period allowed for under the process prior to contract award. Following discussions we are confident they are able and prepared to deliver the contract on time, on budget, and to a high standard.”

Mace is expected to decide by the end of the month whether it will go to the High Court to begin legal action against HS2 over its handling of a contract award on the second phase of the scheme.

Mace queried the award almost immediately after it was made in February, alleging there were conflicts of interest after HS2 Ltd appointed CH2M European managing director Mark Thurston as its new chief executive last month. He replaced interim Roy Hill, who was himself seconded to the client from CH2M, while another senior figure at HS2, its former interim chief of staff Christopher Reynolds who spent five years at HS2, joined CH2M last year in a technical support role.