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CN Briefing: HS2, Simon Kirby, National Audit Office

“I hate to use that phrase ‘on track’,” the man in charge of the UK’s biggest rail project told me.

But as we were sitting in HS2’s offices, just outside Euston station, it was hard to think the project was not going well.

Over the last four months HS2 boss Simon Kirby has been whizzing through his to-do list:

Choosing an engineering delivery partner; shortlisting civils contractors; and seeing the Hybrid Bill make its way through parliament.

Now his focus is on the future, which will involve the construction community.

It seems his message to firms is clear: what he wants to see is innovation and collaboration.

Both of these are key to driving down cost on what is currently the most expensive high-speed rail project in the world.

Safety and skills are also, as you would expect, on the agenda.

But while these are long term themes, a few other things could be occupying Mr Kirby in the short term.

HS2’s move to Birmingham and a National Audit Office review are just two potential threats to the project.

And local opposition will continue to be a thorn in the side for the project until it gets Royal Assent.

Despite this, Mr Kirby seemed pretty confident that it will be a success, as well as having major benefits for the future of the construction industry.

Find out why - read the full interview with HS2 CEO Simon Kirby here.

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Mark Perkins, Wates’ M&E business MD and former Shepherd Group Built Environment chief executive, will leave in May, following the merger of the two companies. Deputy news editor Robyn Wilson has the exclusive.

Bam, Ferrovial and Kier have agreed to pay a £350k settlement to the widow of Crossrail worker Rene Tkacik who died while concreting a tunnel in 2014.

What do Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards mean for contractors? WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff’s environmental technical director Simon Clouston explains.

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