Construction manager set to beat Balfour Beatty and Laing O’Rourke to take Birmingham station

Mace is on the verge of beating Laing O’Rourke and Balfour Beatty to deliver Network Rail’s £600m Birmingham New Street station, it is understood.

The surprise decision would see Mace act as an Olympic-style delivery partner on the project, overseeing all aspects of the construction programme. Foreign Office Architects (FOA) will design the scheme’s exterior, having emerged as the winner from a shortlist that included Rafael Viñoly Architects.

The appointments will be a milestone in the project, which has a troubled history. An original scheme, drawn up in 2005 by John McAslan + Partners with WSP, was scaled back in August 2007 when the government said it would only contribute £128m in funding, rather than the £350m requested.

McAslan and WSP were dropped from the scheme in February this year in favour of Building Design Partnershp (BDP) and Atkins, just as the government announced that it would put up £400m for the project.

FOA will design the station’s exterior and an atrium; BDP and Atkins will flesh out designs for the rest of the development.

FOA has also been appointed to the £1bn Euston station redevelopment for British Land and Network Rail.

Network Rail is expected to announce an appointment within the next fortnight. The scheme would be one of Mace’s biggest rail projects to date, and it will be a boost to the firm to have seen off competition from Balfour Beatty and Laing O’Rourke – both of which have experience of large rail projects.

Balfour Beatty recently beat Laing O’Rourke to the £180m redevelopment of Blackfriars station in London, due to complete in 2011.