The Department of Transport (DfT) has confirmed to GE’s sister publication Construction News that there will be a further three-month delay to the start of the civils work for (High Speed 2) HS2.
Speaking to Construction News, the DfT confirmed that the notice to proceed for the £6.6bn civils deals had been moved from the start of March 2019 to June 2019 to give contractors more time to finalise their designs. Work was originally scheduled to begin in November 2018.
In a response from transport minister Baroness Sugg to a question from Lord Berkeley, Sugg said: “Following consideration of supplier feedback, the HS2 Ltd board has recently decided to move the date of notice to proceed from 1 March 2019 to 1 June 2019 in order to provide suppliers with additional time to optimise their designs.”
A spokesman for HS2 told Construction News that phase one programme “remained on track and on budget” despite the delay.
“Our main construction contracts are designed as a two-stage process to ensure that HS2 is built in the most cost-effective way and deliver maximum value for the taxpayer.
“Having carried out the biggest ground investigation exercise this country has ever seen, involving some 8,000 boreholes, we are now using the knowledge gained, along with the European expertise in each joint venture, to complete the initial design phase.
“This process will drive out risk and increase cost certainties prior to starting construction.”
Last month, sources close to HS2 confirmed that the main civils work were around £1bn over budget, This followed a warning by leading geotechnical engineers that the cost of delivering HS2 could rise sharply as a result of the use of target cost contracts without geotechnical baseline reports (GBRs).