Notice to Proceed orders issued to four main teams behind civils work

The government has given a huge boost to the industry after giving the green light for firms to get going with building the first phase of HS2.

It has told HS2 that it can issue notice to proceed to the four main civils works contractors on the route between London and Birmingham.


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The site of the planned station at Curzon Street in Birmingham

To date, work on the £100bn scheme has focussed on design and site preparation with a Costain/Skanska team carrying out work in and around Euston while a Laing O’Rourke/Murphy team has been working on jobs further north near Birmingham.

But today’s move means the huge civils packages, worth £12bn, can now finally get underway, a major lifeline as the industry battles the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston said: “In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports.”

He added: “While the country’s focus is rightly on defeating covid-19, the issuing of Notice to Proceed today ensures that our contractors and their supply chains have the confidence that they can commit to building HS2, generating thousands of skilled jobs across the country as we recover from the pandemic.”

And the boss of the country’s biggest contractor Balfour Beatty, which is working on the route near Birmingham and will build a new station at Old Oak Common, said: “Notice to Proceed provides certainty for many businesses up and down the UK and will drive investment in skills and capability for current and future generations.”

The work, known as Main Works Civils Contractors, will start straight away, beginning with preparatory works and detailed design.

When he gave the £100bn project the go-ahead back in February, Boris Johnson said main construction works needed to start in April for the project to hit its construction deadlines.

The four teams working on the civils jobs are:

  • SCS Railways, which is made up of Skanska, Costain and Austrian tunnelling contractor Strabag, It will build the first section of the route which is in a tunnel between Euston and Old Oak Common and onwards to Northolt. The deal is worth £3.3bn.
  • Align JV, a team made up of Bouygues, VolkerFitzpatrick and Sir Robert McAlpine will build the next stage, including the Colne Valley Viaduct and Chilterns Tunnel. The deal is worth £1.6bn.
  • EKFB JV, made up of Eiffage, Kier and Ferrovial Bam Nuttall, drafted in to replace Carillion after the firm went bust in 2018, will work on the section between the Chilterns Tunnel and Long Itchington. The deal is worth £2.3bn.
  • And BBV JV, a team featuring Balfour Beatty and Vinci, which will complete the route, taking the line north past Birmingham Airport and into the new Curzon Street station in the centre of Birmingham. The deal is worth £5bn.