Atkins-CH2M and Bechtel-Jacobs JVs lead race

HS2 Woodesford

Two heavyweight joint ventures - one led by Atkins and CH2M, the other between Bechtel and Jacobs - have emerged as the frontrunners in the race to become HS2’s £350m engineering delivery partner.

Client HS2 Ltd began pre-qualifying for the lucrative role for HS2 phase one in March and sources close to the client say the procurement is shaping up to be a race between these two joint ventures. Invitations to tender will be issued next month. WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, which market sources had linked with a bid for the role, is not thought to be a frontrunner, Building understands.

The contract is the highest value HS2 consultancy role to be tendered to date, valued between £250m and £350m over the course of 10 years.

The scope covers phase one of HS2 between London and Birmingham and includes the management and co-ordination of engineering and environmental design on the project. Under HS2 Ltd’s plans, the engineering delivery partner for the phase will be supported by regional project management partners.

Building understands that Atkins and CH2M’s joint venture also includes Spanish engineering giant Sener, which has experience working on two high-speed rail lines in Spain.

One market source told Building the joint ventures in the running for the delivery partner role could split when bidding for other HS2 packages.

HS2 Ltd, Atkins and CH2M declined to comment. A Bechtel spokesperson said the firm was looking at all options to see how they could “best add value to HS2”, drawing on its experience working on HS1. A WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff spokesperson said: “WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff does not comment on the status of commercial bids.”