Another 6 months has passed since our last major projects update, and the UK projects pipeline is as busy as ever. Despite seeing 3 different Prime Ministers since our last update, many projects have seen a significant amount of progress in that time.
Civils works on the project are progressing, at the end of last month, the fifth Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), ‘Caroline’ was launched constructing tunnels through London. The 2,000 tonnes machine joins ‘Sushila’, that was switched on earlier this month on the same West London site.
Sushila has already travelled over 70m in the three weeks since launch. Earlier in the summer, HS2 celebrated the first TBM breakthrough at Long Itchington in Warwickshire.
Over 29,000 people are now working on the project across 350 sites.
The Rail Systems bids are currently in evaluation, due to be announced Q1-2 2023, however there is speculation that these timescales may be pushed back by a few months.
The Phase 2a Advanced Civils Works and the Phase 2a Design & Delivery Partner (DDP) contracts are due to be announced later this year.
In July, Laing O’Rourke were awarded the Birmingham (Solihull) Interchange Station contract worth £370m.
Preliminary work, including the removal of footbridges in preparation for electrification, is now underway on the core section of the TRU programme, Project W3 that covers the 13km between Huddersfield and Westtown, just south of Dewsbury station in West Yorkshire.
On June 27, the secretary of state for transport approved a Transport and Works Act Order for the Huddersfield – Westtown section (W3), granting NR legal powers to acquire the property needed to widen the railway from two to four tracks. Despite this being, according to NR, one of the largest TWA Order applications it has ever made, the order was granted six months earlier than expected.
Station and track work will take place during a nine-day blockade, closing the route at Dewsbury in February 2023, followed by a second nine-day blockade in June and weekend work at Huddersfield from July to October. The first crucial milestone for TRU, known as Key Output 1, is to complete the upgrade of three diversionary routes by May 2023 to enable trains to avoid these work sites.
The Elizabeth line opened on Tuesday 24 May 2022 with Bond Street station opening Monday 24 October 2022.
On 6 November 2022, the next phase of opening the Elizabeth line will integrate services from the east and west into the new central tunnels and stations.
The final timetable across the entire railway will be in place no later than May 2023.
In July, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority said in a report that the second stage to connect Oxford and Bedford, and stage three, connecting Bedford and Cambridge, had “major issues” over “project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable”.
“The project may need re-scoping and/or its overall viability reassessed,” the report said.
North West & Central –
Network Rail has published three procurement notices for frameworks in its North West & Central Region worth a combined £1.28bn. The framework categories are:
The contract awarding is anticipated for October 2023 and a separate procurement project for Phase 2, category A – large projects, in the North West & Central Region will be started in due course.
Wales and Western Region –
Network Rail have announced a package of c£2bn contract opportunities for construction contractors. The framework will cover the majority of the buildings and civils work, including structures, geotechnical off-track & drainage and stations & buildings. It is divided into five lots:
Eastern Region –
The Renewals and Minor Enhancements contract notice was published in April. The frameworks include civil engineering and construction work on railway structures, geotechnics and buildings; signalling and telecoms; and electrification and power and is worth £4bn in total. The frameworks are divided into:
Tenders for the Southern Integrated Delivery frameworks have been submitted and the evaluation process continues across the various SID lots, with preferred bidder decisions expected in the next few months.
United Utilities has issued a periodic indicative notice as it looks to start the tender process for the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme, under a brand-new contract model, after receiving formal consent from water regulator Ofwat.
It is the first time that the Direct Procurement for Customers model has been used in the UK water sector, following three years of planning and commercial development by United Utilities including extensive engagement with the market and regulator to formalise the new approach.
HARP will be the largest infrastructure project undertaken by United Utilities since privatisation.
Thames Tideway has been granted a six-month extension to deliver the finished project after Ofwat amended its licence in recognition of a five-month delay caused by Covid-19.
The final, easternmost section of London’s new super sewer is now having its secondary lining installed, following the completion of the primary lining in April.
National Highways has resubmitted an application for a development consent order (DCO) for the up to £8.2bn Lower Thames Crossing project two years after it withdrew the previous one.
Should consent for the scheme be granted, it will give National Highways permission to build and operate the new crossing. The application was received by the Planning Inspectorate on 31 October 2022, and it will now take 28 days to review it; if successful, National Highways could start construction in 2024.
Last month it was announced that the MORE consortium of Webuild, FCC Construcción and BeMo Tunnelling UK had been awarded the Main Works Contract, it covers the construction of the proposed tunnel’s civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and technology components, including the tunnel-boring machine, along with the approach roadworks and structures and the environmental components.
Meanwhile, National Highways has pushed back against recommendations made by Unesco that the road operator make “substantial” amendments to its A303 Stonehenge tunnel plans, arguing that building alternative options for the Stonehenge Tunnel route would not be worth the additional cost and would not “deliver meaningful additional benefits” over the original scheme.
The project is now more than 50% complete. However, EDF announced that the start date for the Unit 1 reactor will be pushed back a year to June 2027, with the project also facing a £3bn cost increase. This is due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, time needed to adapt the reactor design for UK regulations and excess costs for marine works.
The cost now sits at £25bn to £26bn, an increase on the previous £23bn figure.
EDF’s board has “unanimously approved” plans to take a 20% stake in the nuclear project. It is expected to officially sign off on the funding following the unveiling of the UK government’s revised Budget on 17 November. The UK government has already committed to taking another 20% stake, with the remaining 60% of funding to be made up from private investors. There has been some speculation that the scheme might be subject to a review by UK government, so interested parties will be eagerly awaiting the Autumn Statement on November 17th to see if Sizewell C is mentioned.
Little has been announced on the Welsh nuclear reactor since our last update, but The Welsh Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry looking at nuclear energy in Wales.
Six fixed offshore wind projects, with the potential to generate renewable electricity for more than 7 million homes, have been given the green light by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to enter into an Agreement for Lease with The Crown Estate.
The six offshore wind projects can be found here:
Six groups have submitted their bids and reviews of the tenders are now underway. Following the reviews it is anticipated a preferred tenderer will be selected for the mechanical and electrical scope and two tenderers will be selected for the civil engineering scope.
A programme of extensive ground investigation works to autumn 2023, which will allow bid teams to refine their proposed project designs.
20 innovative projects have been shortlisted for the next stage of the CCUS clusters process, representing an important step towards a net zero economy.
The shortlisted projects will now also be considered for government funding support to join one of these clusters, to use carbon capture technology to help decarbonise their businesses.
The 20 projects announced represent a range of innovative CCUS technologies that will capture carbon emissions, preventing them being released into the atmosphere. Carbon capture technologies offer enormous economic potential for these regions, helping to attract new private investment and support new job opportunities. Read the full list of shortlisted projects here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cluster-sequencing-phase-2-eligible-projects-power-ccus-hydrogen-and-icc
A joint venture between Kier and BAM has been appointed to transform Devonport Dockyard into a maintenance centre for new nuclear submarines. The Kier BAM JV will refurbish Devonport’s 10 Dock, the first part of a £2bn overhaul of facilities at the UK’s largest dockyard.
Over the next 10 years new facilities will be developed at the site to meet the evolving requirements of the Royal Navy.
Plans for a significant new development at AWE Aldermaston have been approved by West Berkshire Council.
Dubbed ‘the hub’, the complex proposal, which contains research laboratories, office space, engineering workshops, and a learning centre, will be spread over a vast 9.3 hectare area.
Sarah Johnson, who was named Chief Executive of the sponsor body for Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal in 2019 has stepped down from the role.
This comes as it announced that the R&R Sponsor body will be brought back into the House of Commons Strategic Estates team.
In September contractors were invited to a flagship event in Birmingham to hear about opportunities to work on the government’s £3.7bn New Hospital Programme (NHP).