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Network Rail aims to cut costs with new contract conditions

Network Rail hopes to cut time and costs on future track work after introducing a new form of contract documentation.

The rail infrastructure operator said that contractors “should find their ability to evaluate the contract documentation vastly simplified”.

The new conditions of contract follow work between Network Rail, the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), and the Civil Engineering Contractors  Association (CECA).

Network Rail’s current bespoke amendments for track (NR8) have been incorporated into the infrastructure conditions of contract to produce a standard form of contract for such work. The amendments also reflect current client requirements and working practices.

“This amalgamation to produce a single document which contains all the terms and conditions will enable both contractors and client representatives to gain a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities which will assist in both saving time and costs as well as facilitating good working relationships as the work progresses,” a statement from Network Rail said.

Dr Nelson Ogunshakin, chief executive of ACE, said: “I am confident that this is the first step in a long line of engagement with other partners seeking simplified and integrated contract strategies in the future.  ACE recognised that the industry wanted to make efficiencies in its contractual arrangements.  With a budget of approximately £5.7bn to spend, it is evident that Network Rail has recognised the value of adopting a standard form to deliver these efficiencies, and on the way we have found a solution and way forward that can be adopted by others.”

Network Rail is introducing the new conditions to its commercial teams supporting the new plain line track contracts. The ICC measurement version incorporating NR8 track amendments is due to be published in mid-October.

Eoin O’Neill, commercial director (track) at Network Rail, said: “This collaboration and the resulting impact will only have positive connotations for both the Network Rail and Contractor teams working on our new Plain Line contracts. As part of the overall contract strategy for Track we set ourselves a challenge to introduce a more effective and simpler process for all our teams to follow. Its introduction made sense in an environment where everyone is looking for more efficiencies in resource and expenditure.”

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