Framework appointments put back until the end of the year after client asks for more detailed bids

The appointment of architects and engineers to design seven stations on the £16bn Crossrail project is to be delayed by at least three months.

The firms, many of which have already been attached to the project for several years, responded in April to a notice in the Official Journal calling for expressions of interest.

They then expected to be told whether they had been appointed to the scheme’s design framework by September.

But in the first sign of delays to the programme, which is seen as crucial to the industry’s well being over the next eight years, Crossrail has said it could be the end of the year before appointments are officially made.

The delay has been caused by the client’s decision to ask firms shortlisted after the expressions of interest to submit another round of bids.

With Crossrail, everything takes six months longer than it is supposed to architect bidding for work

One architect bidding for a place on the framework said: “I’m not surprised. Why am I not surprised? We’ve been working on Crossrail since the early nineties, and everything seems to take six months longer than it’s supposed to.”  

Designers who have already worked on the scheme include consulting engineers Mott MacDonald, Scott Wilson and Arup, and architects Wilkinson Eyre, HawkinsBrown, John McAslan + Partners and Weston Williamson.

Bechtel, the giant US engineer and project manager, is understood to be in pole position to win the role of delivery partner. Other firms competing for the £300m contract include two other US firms, CH2M Hill and Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Britain’s Balfour Beatty.

Crossrail said: “The process to appoint a delivery partner, design consultants and other partners is progressing well. Invitations to tender will be sent in August. We are on track to select our partners by the end of this year.”

When it is complete, Crossrail will run between Shenfield in Essex and Maidenhead in Berkshire.