Budget will pay for four independent technical expert panels 

HS2 will spend just over £5m on teams set up to oversee its construction work, according to the minister in charge of the project.

Andrew Stephenson said the railway is planning to spend up to £5.2m for a period of up to seven years to fund four independent technical expert panels (ITEP).

hs2 (2)

A host of contractors on the job will have their work peer reviewed

He said: ”HS2 Ltd is currently undertaking a market engagement exercise for covering the requirement to establish, manage and provide ITEPs to peer review its main works civils contracts scheme, stations and phase 2 detailed designs and construction methodology.

“The tendering process cannot be confirmed until this market engagement exercise is completed.”

The railway is looking for a single supplier to set up and manage the four panels.

He said the total budget for the ITEPs covered the full duration of the contract, including all applicable extension options. The deal is for an initial period of two years, with options to extend for a further five.

Quizzed on how much each of the deals would cost, Stephenson told MPs: “The individual panel budgets are commercially sensitive as this information may impact the procurement following the market engagement.”

According to the market engagement documents, the ITEPs will be used to provide an additional level of technical assurance, advise on any technical decisions HS2 needs to make in respect of the design and/or risk management and problem solve where particularly complex technical issues arise.

The panels will also be required to challenge “excessive conservatism in design”, identify any issues that could lead to fatal flaws or any unidentified risks; and confirm that risk mitigations are appropriate and that any residual risks are acceptable.

HS2 is currently planning to invite firms to tender in early January, with firms being required to submit their bids by mid-February.

A notification of contract award decision is expected to be made in early April, with the contract to start later that month.