'Radical overhaul' for Network Rail contracting

25 March 2011

26 March 2011 | Angeline Albert

NetworkRail hopes to involve major contractors at the planning stage of its infrastructure projects to reduce its total spending by 20 per cent.

As part of its efforts to achieve this savings target between April 2009 and March 2014, the UK’s rail infrastructure operator announced it will be “radically overhauling the way it works with suppliers”.

The company said it would reduce costs by generating better value from its major investment programme. The overhaul focuses on engaging with major firms at the “ideas” stage of a project to help shape views on how money can be saved.

Early involvement will see suppliers integrated into Network Rail’s delivery teams to develop ideas that will help the organisation deliver projects faster and more efficiently while getting better value during the development, design and delivery phases.

On 18 March, the company invited the leaders of 25 of Britain’s biggest construction and engineering firms to seek their views on how the new contracting strategy will work.

The company said it wants to adopt a more market-led approach to project delivery, helping the company identify where costs can be cut across its renewals and enhancement programmes.

Simon Kirby, Network Rail’s director, investment projects, said in a statement: “The rail industry must reduce costs and these radical reforms will revolutionise the way we deliver our projects, helping to slash red tape and restrictive bureaucracy while generating significant cost savings and efficiencies. By ‘joint-venturing’ with our suppliers in this way, we can create an environment that fully integrates our delivery partners into our projects “.

Seven projects are included in the first phase of the strategy. These are; the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme, work on London Bridge station, electrifying the track along the Great Western main line, enhancing national signaling infrastructure, the Birmingham Gateway project, the Hitchin flyover on the East Coast main line and the organisation’s civil engineering maintenance work.

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