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Crossrail to review design process

The construction industry's desire to avoid design and build for the procurement of the £16bn Crossrail project has prompted a review of the scheme design process, it was revealed this week.
The switch means that scheme promoter Cross London Rail Links must now rethink procurement of the detailed design, as this is outside the scope of current multi-disciplinary design consultancy (MDC) contracts.

Detailed design will now be the client's responsibility not that of contractors.

Cross London Rail Links executive chairman Doug Oakervee said that the decision followed consultation with major industry contractors.

"The industry has made it crystal clear to me that they have no desire to do design and build. They want an engineer's design," said Oakervee. "But the (MDC) contracts that exist right now don't cater for that."

The MDC contracts were let in Spring 2006 to Arup/Atkins, Mott MacDonald, Halcrow and Scott Wilson. It was intended that once design and build contractors were appointed, the MDCs would oversee the contractors' designs.

But the detailed design now looks set to be a much bigger job than the MDCs were originally contracted to do, so the whole design process is under review.

Transport for London this week also confirmed that it will take sole ownership of the Crossrail Bill once it obtains Royal Assent.

Transport secretary Ruth Kelly also announced that the Bill would be carried over to the next Parliamentary session. Kelly has proposed a "carry-over" motion, for the Crossrail Bill. This will suspend it in this parliamentary session, then leapfrog it to its third reading in the next session. The bill will then pass to the House of Lords and assuming no significant bottlenecks, will attain Royal Assent shortly afterwards.

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