More than 40 firms compete for second-generation framework agreements worth £100m over five years.
More than 40 quantity surveying firms have staked a claim to a share of the £100m that Railtrack plans to spend on QS services over the next five years.

Railtrack is recruiting a new panel of framework QSs to replace the 12 firms appointed in 1998.

The original 12 and about 30 others had responded to an advertisement in the European Union's Official Journal by the closing date on Monday.

The new framework list, which will be shorter than the first, comes into effect in June.

Robert Davis, Railtrack's procurement manager, is assessing the candidates. He said there was no target number for the final list.

We’ll have reviews that leave us with the QSs we want to get closer to

Robert Davis, Railtrack Procurement Manager

He said: "There may well be quite a few to start with, then we'll have annual performance reviews that chip away at the total number and leave us with the ones that we want to get closer to." The move comes as Railtrack continues its reorganisation of professional services and infrastructure contracts after last year's Hatfield derailment.

Last week it announced new five-year track maintenance contracts for England and Wales to replace the appointments made after privatisation.

Balfour Beatty, which learned this week that its directors could be charged with corporate manslaughter over Hatfield, has lost the East Coast Main Line contact to Jarvis Facilities. But Balfour did secure contracts to maintain lines in the Kent and Great Eastern regions.

The new QS frameworks and the maintenance contracts are both designed by Les Mosco, Railtrack's supply-chain director. They are intended to squeeze better value and performance out of contractors. For the QSs, there is likely to be a continuation of the move away from the secondment of staff to Railtrack on hourly or daily rates, in favour of project-by-project lump-sum fee bidding.