Three major station projects put back to ease pressure on bidding teams

Contract awards for half of the £1.5bn remaining major station tenders on the £14.5bn Crossrail scheme will be delayed until next year.

Sources close to the project confirmed that decisions on three of the biggest station contracts - Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Liverpool Street, worth £700m - will not be made this year in order to prevent congestion in contractors’ bidding teams.

The contracts for the central London stations generated a lot of industry interest

Crossrail source

Originally Crossrail had said it intended to get all of the main station contracts let by the end of the year, but the decision could mean that some awards will be put back as far as Easter 2012.

The decision follows complaints from contractors bidding for the tunnelling projects last year that the tight bidding timetable left them with huge bidding costs and few resources in a short period of time. In addition, contractors had complained that bidding for all of the projects at the same time meant they had to bid for the projects without knowing whether they had picked up other pieces of work, information that may have affected which schemes they put the most resources into.

The news comes as contractors wait to hear who will be awarded the Paddington Station contract, expected within two weeks.

A Crossrail source said: “The main contracts for the central London stations have generated a lot of industry interest. Very competitive bids were received for Paddington. It is expected this contract will be awarded during the next fortnight.”

Contractor consortiums of Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and Vinci; BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier Construction; Carillion Construction Ltd; Costain Skanska JV; and Laing O’Rourke and Strabag have been shortlisted for the £250m job.

However, sources said the lengthening of the procurement period for the stations will not affect the build schedule, with all jobs to start at their original dates. The decision to change the timetable comes after senior Crossrail staff started holding monthly meetings with the MDs of the contractors bidding for work in order to improve the client/contractor relationship.