Development of plans for HS2 will call for £50M of ground investigation work over the next four years, according to documents published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in November.
The volume of work and time period over which it is to be delivered has raised concerns in the UK sector with regards to the capacity to meet the demand.
One specialist from the ground investigation market, who asked not to be named, suggested that the work on HS2 could attract overseas contractors into the UK site investigation market for the first time. “While they may have a vital part to play in meeting the demand, there are issues with standards and differing practices that would need to be addressed and could impact on the quality of the investigations,” he said. “Tenders have to be submitted by 9 December so there is not enough time for the sector to look to form joint ventures, either with other UK companies or international organisations.”
Under the contract notice, HS2 has confirmed that it is looking for 14 partners to work under a framework agreement to deliver the exploratory ground investigation in the vicinity of the phase one route. HS2 has also said that it hopes to use the expertise procured under the framework to help it answer ground related queries during the passage of the Hybrid Bill through parliament.
According to the document published in OJEU, the work will be split into two lots – the first calls for six partners to deliver up to £40M of work on schemes valued at over £500,000, while the second lot calls for eight partners to deliver £10M of work on schemes valued at under £500,000. HS2 has invited bidders to tender for both lots but to express a preference for lot one or two.
The initial framework is for four years but may be extended for up to two years.