Government confirms Notice to Proceed on HS2
Announcement delivers major boost for the construction sector and its supply chain
THE Department for Transport (DfT) has today (15 April) given approval for HS2 Ltd to issue ‘Notice to Proceed’ to the four Main Works Civils Contractors (MWCCs) working on the project.
The move, which follows on from the publication of the Oakervee Review and the Government’s decision in February to continue with the HS2 project, will allow the four MWCCs (SCS Railways, Align JV, EKFB JV, and BBV JV) to commence full detailed design and construction of Phase One of the HS2 railway – the route from London to the West Midlands.
At a time when the construction sector faces uncertainties during the coronavirus outbreak, the DfT says issuing ‘Notice to Proceed’ marks the formal approval for the project to begin the construction phase and provides a vote of confidence in construction companies and the wider supply chain supporting HS2.
HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said: ‘While the Government’s top priority is rightly to combat the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives, we cannot delay work on our long-term plan to level up the country.
‘Following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, this next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it, and means that work can truly begin on delivering this transformational project.
‘The joint ventures that are responsible for each package of work will be able to commence work in line with Public Health England’s guidance around construction work continuing during the coronavirus outbreak, in a way both safe to their workers and the public.’
To date, the contracts between HS2 Ltd and the MWCCs for Phase One have focused on undertaking scheme design and site preparation (including pricing and scoping) for the civils work.
The issuing of Notice to Proceed marks the point in the MWCC contracts where the work transitions from scheme design and preparatory work, to full detailed design and construction.
Mark Thurston, chief executive officer of HS2 Ltd, commented: ‘In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents an immediate boost to the construction industry – and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports.
‘HS2 has been more than 10 years in development and design. While the country’s focus is rightly on defeating COVID-19, the issuing of Notice to Proceed today ensures that our contractors and their supply chains have the confidence that they can commit to building HS2, generating thousands of skilled jobs across the country as we recover from the pandemic.’