13 April 2011 | Angeline Albert
Buyers at Crossrail have managed to award the final two tunnel contracts for Europe’s largest
infrastructure project ahead of schedule.
This month, joint venture Hochtief Construction and J Murphy
& Sons won the £190 million deal for work on the Thames tunnel which runs
from Plumstead to North Woolwich. A £35 million contract to enlarge the
Connaught tunnel, which runs between Royal Victoria Dock and Royal Albert Dock,
has been awarded to Vinci Construction UK.
The efforts of Crossrail’s team of 50 buyers resulted in the
organisation awarding the contracts earlier than expected. “We've delivered
tunnel contracts ahead of schedule,” said Martin Rowark, Crossrail’s head of
It follows the arranging of four further tunnel deals in
December, as previously reported by SM. Tunnelling activity starts later this year.
The massive construction project involves building a rail
line through London linking Heathrow Airport and Maidenhead in Berkshire to
Shenfield in Essex. In total, almost 30 major contracts are being let during
the next 15 months.
Rowark said: “Many of my team made use of their experience
gained by working on procurement for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.”
He said they had also learned from Transport for London’s
(TfL) experience of buying big capital works. Among other things this included
ensuring the market knew what procurement wanted and communicating by sending
engagement questionnaires to suppliers.
Crossrail’s purchasing team is particularly involved in buying
large logistics capability. As well as tendering for a deal to transport
excavated materials to Wallasea Island in Essex to create a wildlife wetlands
reserve, buyers are involved in letting signalling systems contracts worth £50-100
In a bid to maintain best value, Rowark added: “We’re looking
very closely at inflation drivers. Our contracts will take account of
At the end of March, Crossrail said it had a contract
shortlist for the supply of 60 trains and depot facilities for the rail route.
It is expected that this deal will be let in late 2013.