Costain is in pole position to win Highways Agency work after top scoring in the Agency’s new supplier assessment process.
The contractor just pipped its recent acquisition target Mouchel to the top spot in the StART supplier selection process that marked the services offered by 21 companies.
Costain scored 139.7 out of a theoretical maximum of 180. The Enterprise Mouchel joint venture was second with 138. Carillion was third with 137.4.
Galliford Try was bottom with just 69.3. Second from bottom was Interserve with 70.7.
The START assessment − which stands for Strategic Alignment Review Toolkit − was developed to judge how suppliers matched the Agency’s strategic direction in its role as network operator on motorways and major trunk roads in England.
The Agency said that the scores will be used alongside past performance in shortlisting applicants for Asset Support Contracts (ASC) and major projects.
The first three of these ASC contracts are expected to be let this year − for the north west of England (Area 10, Cumbria and north Lancashire (Area 13) and much of south west England (Area 2). These will replace Managing Agent Contractor contracts (MACs).
Highways Agency head of supply chain management David O’Neil said that the toolkit had been developed in partnership with representatives of the construction and maintenance industry.
The examination of suppliers had shifted from a broader assessment of supplier capability, as the previous Capability Assessment Toolkit (CAT) had been, to a focused assessment of strategic alignment in a few critical areas.
START scored companies on 14 “Highways Agency drivers”, from financial stability to sustainability.
Costain highways director Tim Bowen told NCE he was “delighted” to come top. He said that the company was pleased to get recognition that it aligned with the Agency’s priorities ahead of forthcoming contracts.
Galliford Try declined to comment on its rating.
However, a spokesman for Interserve, told NCE it was “very disappointed” by the rating. He said: “We want to keep on working with them [the Agency] and we will carry on and get a higher score.”
He said that “it’s not something we would have gone in for if we thought we were falling down”, adding that there was feedback provided by the Agency outlining “what areas we could have been better in” that the company would examine.