The start date for High Speed 2 civils works has been delayed until June 2019, the Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed.
The notice to proceed (NTP) has been pushed back a further three months, as first revealed by New Civil Engineer last month.
Parliamentary under secretary of state for transport Baroness Sugg confirmed the delay in a response to a question from Lord Berkley.
She said: “Following consideration of supplier feedback, the HS2 Ltd Board has recently decided to move the date of Notice to Proceed from 1 March 2019 to 1 June 2019 in order to provide suppliers with additional time to optimise their designs.
“HS2 Ltd’s latest advice to government is that Phase One remains on track to deliver HS2 services by 2026 and within the agreed funding envelope, in accordance with the Sponsors’ Requirements as set out in the Development Agreement.”
The announcement comes after New Civil Engineer revealed that initial costs for HS2 main civil works are coming in around £1bn over budget.
Multiple sources close to the project have confirmed that interim costs submitted by contractors are currently above HS2’s target cost of £6.6bn.
The main civils works contracts are divided into two stages, with HS2 giving the NTP at the end of stage one which focusses on concept/ scheme design. The NTP would then allow contractors to start detailed design and construction, which is scheduled to begin “in early 2019”.
Stage one has been divided into six “checkpoints”. At the end of the sixth checkpoint, which was originally scheduled for the end of November, contractors must produce a design to a “defendable target price”.
This expected contractors to produce “scheme design maturity for whole life cost model”, 50% to 60% of the high risk design and 100% of the elements design.
HS2 bosses had originally postponed the NTP until March 2019. However contractors were contacted last month about the increased deadline.
Contractors were appointed in July last year to come up with a cost to build phase one of the line which runs from Euston Station in London to Birmingham Curzon Street.
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