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Crossrail awards design contracts to old favourites

Consultants previously appointed to Crossrail in 2006 were again big winners last week as the first design contracts for London’s mega-rail project were announced.

An Arup/Atkins joint venture (JV) won the £16M bored tunnels contract as well as the design work for Tottenham Court Road station, while Mott MacDonald won the sprayed concrete lining design job.

Capita Symonds had already been awarded the £3M design contract for the western portal at Royal Oak (News last week).

Both the Arup/Atkins JV and Mott MacDonald held two of the four multidisciplinary design consultancy (MDC) contracts awarded in Spring 2006 that were later scrapped.

“These first design packages give the Crossrail project further impetus.”

Graham Plant, Crossrail

These were replaced last December with a design framework to which 12 firms were appointed (NCE 11 December 2008). The new framework contracts require consultants to take designs to 70% completion before being handed over to contractors. This is a more detailed level of design than was required under the MDC contracts, requiring a far greater number of contracts to be awarded under the new framework.

“These first design packages give the Crossrail project further impetus following the commencement of construction at Canary Wharf last month,” said Crossrail programme director Graham Plant.

“The awards mark the start of the project’s detailed design stage and we look forward to working closely with all the successful companies in driving forward the design as we move towards the start of main construction works in 2010.”

More work for Atkins and Arup

Although many more contracts have to be awarded, it looks likely that the Atkins/Arup JV could end up with more work than under the old MDC regime.

Under its old MDC contract, it would have designed Crossrail’s Tottenham Court Road station, but it would have had to share the designs for 42km of 6m diameter parallel bored tunnels through central London with Mott MacDonald and Halcrow.

“We look forward to working closely with all the successful companies in driving forward the design.”

Graham Plant, Crossrail

Mott MacDonald now has the contract to design sprayed concrete tunnel linings while Halcrow is part of the Programme Partner team to manage the central London tunnelled sections and will be overseeing all these designs.

Arup has also picked-up the contract to design Canary Wharf station, to be built by Laing O’Rourke (NCE 14 May).

Five design contracts for the £15.9bn project are set to be awarded in the next couple of weeks. These are for Farringdon station, tunnel aerodynamics and ventilation, architectural design, portals and intermediate. A further three are out to tender while nine or 10 are pending.

Previous work packages v design work awarded so far


  • MDC 1 Surface west and north east − Scott Wilson [novated by Network Rail]
  • MDC 2 Central tunnels and stations west − Arup/Atkins JV
  • MDC 3 Central tunnels and stations east − Mott MacDonald
  • MDC 4 South east branch − Halcrow (part of Bechtel/Halcrow /Systra Programme Partner)

New so far

  • Package C150 Royal Oak Portal − Capita Symonds £3M
  • Package C121 Sprayed Concrete Lining − Mott MacDonald £9M
  • Package C122 Bored Tunnels − Atkins/Arup joint venture £17M
  • Package C134 Tottenham Court Road Station − Atkins/Arup JV £10M

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