Risk consultants, project managers and planning supervisors wanted as Armitt puts Railtrack successor in place.
Railtrack replacement Network Rail is lining up framework deals with consultants just a week after it took over the system.

The company, headed by former Costain chief executive John Armitt, is understood to be looking for tie-ups with project managers, planning supervisors and risk and value consultants.

These are likely to last up to 10 years and will be similar to the maintenance contracts Armitt announced last month.

One consultant said 60 firms had expressed an interest in the risk and value-consulting framework but complained that Network Rail was making price the key yardstick.

According to the consultant Network Rail would pick suppliers from the lowest quarter of those who applied. "It harks back to how Railtrack treated consultants."

Network Rail is lining up firms to examine and assess non-rail infrastructure on the network, which includes bridges.

Contractors such as Carillion and Amey are expected to pitch for this work, which will be split regionally between the South, the Midlands and the North.

The deals are likely to be based on a QS framework introduced by Railtrack last year.

One rail source said Network Rail, which took over last Thursday, was keen not to repeat the mistakes made by its predecessor, which spent £225m on consultants in the last year. The source said: "Network Rail wants to set clearer annual budgets for what it spends on consultants, so money is controlled and consultants can plan their resources better."

A Network Rail spokesperson confirmed that there was a plan to extend the QS deal to other disciplines but said it was too early to outline any details of the new frameworks.

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