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Consultants cash in on £160M Crossrail bonanza

Crossrail has paid eight consultants over £160M for key civil engineering design contracts in the past two years, NCE can exclusively reveal.

Arup biggest winner

Arup, Mott MacDonald and URS Scott Wilson earned the most, accruing £40.1M, £34.71M and £32.57M respectively for detailed design work, according to figures obtained by NCE via a Freedom of Information request.

The figures are fees paid in the two years to 31 March. They are for the key civils design contracts on the £14.5bn mega rail scheme that have been let by Crossrail since summer 2009.

Arup claimed the scheme’s highest single civils design fees so far. Its work on the central bored tunnels alignment and track contract awarded in May 2009 was worth £28.45M.

This 21km long section of the 118km line requires twin running tunnels. In addition, Arup’s work on Tottenham Court Road station over the same period has brought in £11.65M.

Mott’s £11.5M for concrete lining design

Mott MacDonald was the second highest earner. Its Liverpool Street station contract has earned it £16.15M since August 2009. The firm earned another £11.35M for sprayed concrete lining design for platform tunnels, escalator shafts and cross passages at five stations since May 2009.

It has earned another £7.21M for tunnel and shaft aerodynamics and ventilation work since June 2009. Mott MacDonald is also working on the Paddington Integrated Programme for which the figures have not yet been revealed.

Since 2009, URS Scott Wilson has amassed fees of £32.57M from its complicated station contracts at Paddington (£11.93M) and Farringdon (£11.63M) as well as £7.78M for the Pudding Mill Lane tunnel portal and £1.23M for work on bulk power distribution.

Hyder was the fourth biggest Crossrail fee earner.

It has been paid a total of £19.3M for Whitechapel station and the Victoria Dock portal since August 2009.

Capita Symonds has earned £12.3M from Crossrail since summer 2009.

Its projects are the portals at Royal Oak, North Woolwich and Plumstead as well as the design for the scheme’s Tunnelling Academy.

Crossrail has paid WSP Group £10.93M for its single contract on Bond Street station awarded in August 2009, Jacobs earned fees of £9.1M for intermediate shafts work awarded in July 2009 and Atkins earned £4.4M for its architectural component design work awarded in June 2009.


Key Crossrail design contract consultant fees

Consultant/ContractsContract valueAward date
Contract C122 bored tunnels alignment and track£28,450,11029 May 2009
Contract C134 Tottenham Court Road station£11,648,74529 May 2009
Mott MacDonald  
Contract C138 Liverpool Street station£16,150,35610 August 2009
Contract C121 sprayed concrete lining £11,352,46529 May 2009
Contract C124 tunnels and shafts aerodynamics and ventilation£7,206,95312 June 2009
URS Scott Wilson  
Contract C130 Paddington station£11,924,45310 August 2009
Contract C164 bulk power distribution & HV power£1,230,80016 July 2009
Contract C152 Pudding Mill Lane portal£7,782,50012 June 2009
Contract C136 Farringdon station£11,628,41012 June 2009
Hyder Consulting  
Contract C154 Victoria Dock portal£3,859,73010 August 2009
Contract C140 Whitechapel station £15,436,01010 August 2009
Capita Symonds  
Contract C156 North Woolwich and Plumstead portals £6,345,35510 August 2009
Contract C175 Tunnelling Academy design£540,13616 July 2009
Contract C150 Royal Oak portal£5,416,45029 May 2009
WSP Group  
Contract C132 Bond Street station £10,930,61810 August 2009
Contract C123 intermediate shafts£9,103,03616 July 2009
Contract C100 architectural component design£4,399,24112 June 2009

Crossrail ‘vital’ to industry health

The figures show how vital Crossrail has been to many major consultants over the past two years, as the industry has struggled with the effects of the UK’s economic crisis.

Figures published in NCE’s Consultants File 2011 give an indication of the importance of Crossrail work to the rail businesses of major consultants.

Arup earned £110M from rail last year and £40.1M from Crossrail since summer 2009. Mott MacDonald’s rail business earned £143.1M last year compared with Crossrail fees of £34.71M since summer 2009.

“Capita earned £18M from its rail business last year, according to NCE’s Consultants File 2011, which shows how important its £12.3M Crossrail fees will have been”

Similarly last year URS Scott Wilson and Hyder earned £66.1M and £40.5M from rail respectively and £32.56M and £19.3M in Crossrail work between summer 2009 and 31 March 2011.

WSP earned £42M last year and £10.93M from 19 months of Crossrail work at Bond Street station.
Capita earned £18M from its rail business last year, according to NCE’s Consultants File 2011, which shows how important its £12.3M Crossrail fees will have been.

Figures published last month in the NCE Consultants File 2011 detail global fees earned by each firm’s UK business.

The Crossrail design contracts were let under design framework agreements announced in December 2008. Twelve firms won places on the frameworks which will run until the completion of the scheme.

Fees rendered last year in rail (source: NCE Consultants File 2011)
Arup £110,000,000
Mott MacDonald£143,100,000
URS - Scott Wilson£66,100,000
Hyder Consulting£40,500,000
Capita Symonds£18,000,000
WSP Group£42,000,000
Jacobs £48,000,000

2019 opening

Crossrail was originally scheduled to open in 2017 but cost savings unveiled as a result of the award of the major tunnelling contracts last December pushed the date back a year, with the full opening of the line now expected in 2019.

As work continues on design for much of the contracts Crossrail will soon award the station construction contracts for Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel stations worth a combined £1bn.

Shortlisted contractors announced this week include major contractors Balfour Beatty, Costain an Skanska, which are still vying for key contracts after missing out on tunnelling contracts.

Latest Crossrail station contracts shortlists

C412 Bond Street station

  • Costain/Skanska
  • Laing O’Rourke
  • Bam Nuttall/Ferrovial/Kier
  • Lend Lease Construction (EMEA)

C422 Tottenham Court Road station

  • Bam Nuttall/Ferrovia/Kier
  • Dragados/Sisk
  • Lend Lease Construction (EMEA)
  • Laing O’Rourke Construction

C502 Liverpool Street station

  • Balfour Beatty / Morgan Sindall / Vinci
  • Costain / Skanska
  • Laing O’Rourke Construction
  • Dragados / Sisk

C512 Whitechapel station

  • Balfour Beatty/Morgan Sindall/Vinci
  • Costain/Skanska
  • Bam Nuttall/Ferrovial/Kier
  • Dragados/Sisk


Readers' comments (2)

  • Barry Walton

    "Consultants cash in on £160M Crossrail bonanza". Where does NCE get these bizarre headlines, exclusively brought to our computer screens? Unless I have the noughts in the wrong place £160M out of £14.5B makes the design fees 1.1% of the projected overall CAPEX - some cashing in, some bonanza.

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  • In countries where civil engineers are really protected, the project "Engineer" (i.e. the person/ organisation who endorse the designs) fees are 7% of the construction value. This endorsement is required by law otherwise the client will not get the planning permission.

    It is no surprise that engineers have the same social and economical status as doctors and lawyers in these countries.

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