HS2 unlocks contract opportunities as it moves towards construction

In April this year, the Government gave approval for the next stage of the HS2 project, which means HS2 contractors now have the go ahead to start building the new low carbon, high speed railway. HS2 talk to Construction Worx Lite about contract opportunities within the organisation…

HS2’s Main Works Civils Contractors (MWCCs) are now leading the transition from scheme design and preparatory work, to full detailed design and construction, and this progress has unlocked a huge amount of new contract opportunities for the construction sector.

An estimated 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities are being created for UK businesses which will support thousands of jobs on site and many more around the country. Contracts will be across many sectors, including plant and machinery, providing work over a number of years for suppliers of all types and sizes.

HS2 Ltd’s Commercial and Supply Chain Director, David Poole, looks at the opportunities and how companies can get involved:

“HS2 will play a key role in the UK’s economic recovery following the pandemic, and the opportunities for businesses will help create and sustain jobs around the country. Not only can HS2 support SMEs and regional economies, but it is also playing a pivotal role in the Government’s wider ‘levelling up’ agenda.

“To date, over 2,000 UK registered companies have won work on HS2, and over 9,000 jobs have been supported. It is estimated that around 95% of contract opportunities on the project will be won by UK based businesses and around two thirds of those will be small and medium sized businesses.

“There will be substantial procurement opportunities for the plant and machinery sector, and there are lots of ways to find out how to get involved with the project. We work very closely with industry bodies, local enterprise partnerships and chambers of commerce right across the country to highlight opportunities. Businesses interested in contracts with HS2 should keep their eye out for events and webinars run in their local area. I’d also advise them to register on the CompeteFor (www.competefor.com/hs2/) portal which is where forthcoming supply chain opportunities are advertised.

“We regularly hold national Meet the Contractor events, where people from potential supply chain companies can meet Tier One contractors to find out what they are procuring. The next event is being planned for November, and we’ll be promoting it across the industry soon, so keep an eye out for that as well.”

For the plant hire sector and OEMs, HS2 is keen to emphasise the importance of its green agenda. In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global climate change by 2050. As one of the most sustainable railways in the world, HS2 is supporting the UK in making the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.
Andrea Davidson, HS2 Ltd’s Air Quality Lead explains more:

“We aim to dramatically cut carbon on our construction sites, and constantly challenge our supply chain to introduce innovations by using the latest green technology. By putting the environment at the heart of everything we do at HS2, the project is well placed to encourage innovations and set new standards in the industry to help improve air quality on construction sites.

“We were extremely pleased to work with the Construction Equipment Association (CEA) over the last year and a half to develop the Emissions Compliance Verification (ECV), and to be the first infrastructure project to adopt the new advanced emissions identification scheme. We’re now recommending the scheme to our contractors and supply chain across the project, and a number of contractors are already in discussions with the CEA about adopting it across their fleet.

“With over 250 active work sites between London and Birmingham, we have a huge opportunity to roll out innovative products and methodologies that will dramatically reduce the project’s carbon footprint, bringing environmental benefits to both the workers and surrounding local communities as we build the railway and across the construction industry.”

For example, HS2 is pioneering the UK’s first electric telehandler on one of its major construction sites in London. With zero pollution, the Eco Telehandler vehicle has been trialled on HS2’s site at West Ruislip by main works civils contractor Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture. It’s estimated that over a week, it saved over 400 litres of fuel compared to a traditional combustion telehandler.

By cutting pollution from emissions completely, it creates greener construction sites, improving air quality for workers and the local community. It also represents a significant fuel, carbon and cost saving, with fewer refuelling vehicles required resulting in a reduction of plant movement, an improvement in safety for everyone on site.

Manufactured by Faresin and supplied by plant hire company Flannery, the environmentally friendly electric drive unit provides the same performance as an equivalent conventional model but without the noise of a combustion engine. It delivers a range of further benefits including reduced charging times and notable savings in maintenance when compared to a combustion engine telehandler.

HS2 has also set strict emission requirements for both on- and off-road vehicles and plant. This includes compliance with strict emission requirements for all on-road vehicles including lorries, vans and cars, as well as all Non-Road Mobile Machinery including excavators, dumpers, diggers, etc. These requirements are currently set above the Greater London Authority (GLA) requirements and are extended across the full extent of the project. HS2 is the first project to assign these strict emission requirements for NRMM outside of London.

David Poole concludes:

“The HS2 railway is a significant investment in the UK’s economic recovery. At this crucial time, as work ramps up, the project will be a boost to the sector and create thousands of jobs, helping the country get back on its feet. I encourage businesses to get on board.”

Find out more about contract opportunities: www.competefor.com/hs2/