Railway admits it was asking firms to take on too much risk for Curzon Street work
HS2 has scrapped the process to find a contractor to build a £435m station in the middle of Birmingham because not enough firms were prepared to shoulder the risk to build it.
The railway said it is having to start again for the job at Curzon Street, designed by Grimshaw Architects, and will be hosting an industry day next Friday to work out what to do next.
It said it would launch a “revised strategy” for the scheme, under which less risk will be handed to the station’s design and build contractor – after admitting contractors had turned their backs on the job.
In a notice posted to the Official Journal, it said: “HS2 have recognised the current market conditions are challenging and the increasing concern regarding risk transfer and wanted to revise our position to provide a better balance and overall outcome.
“The industry day will provide an opportunity to re-engage with the market and outline our revised strategy which we believe will attract a larger number of bidders, reduce risk and thereby produce a more competitive process.”
Procurement for work on the track and overhead system and for tunnel and lineside M&E work have also been paused – although HS2 has not given a reason for this.
Contracts have already been awarded on HS2’s two London stations, with a Mace/Dragados team signing up for Euston after beating three other firms including a Costain/Skanksa JV.
A JV between Balfour Beatty and Vinci is meanwhile yet to officially sign a deal for the Old Oak Common station as rival bidder Bechtel brings legal action against HS2.
The latest delays are announced as the Public Accounts Committee warns that a 2026 opening date for phase one is becoming increasingly unrealistic – and risks causing a Crossrail-style programme blow-out.