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Crossrail delays drive £73m overspend for 2017

Crossrail works are running £73m over budget for 2017 due to delays at Whitechapel and Woolwich stations as well as changes to the wider project’s scope, Transport for London figures have revealed.

According to notes compiled in advance of TfL’s board meeting on 9 November, the client has seen a 12 per cent rise in the costs from Crossrail compared with its budget for the year, driven by a number of factors including works at Whitechapel coming in later than planned.

TfL’s spending on Crossrail amounted to £674m for the year to date, up from the £601m allocated to the £14.8bn project.

Crossrail spending for 2017 so far would have been higher, the report noted, if it had not been “partially offset by savings at Tottenham Court Road station due to planned oversite development works no longer being undertaken by the project”.

According to the notes, the overspend was due to “access delays and changes in scope and design on system-wide main works, Whitechapel station works being completed later than budgeted, and works at Woolwich station having been delayed”.

The figures are £14m higher than those quoted in a TfL finance committee report on 18 October, which stated that construction costs for Crossrail were £59m higher than budgeted.

The extra costs were offset in TfL’s figures by lower-than-expected capital expenditure in other areas.

Spending on capital renewals for the year came in at £239m – 24 per cent under budget – while new capital investment totalled £565m, 13 per cent under budget.

The delays at Whitechapel station come after Crossrail released figures for cost overruns at a number of projects added £1bn to tier one contracts. 

In the figures released in August, the cost of the contract for pilling and dwall at Whitechapel, undertaken by a Bam Nuttall and Kier joint venture, cost 63 per cent higher than originally planned at £33.5m.

Spending on the station’s Civils 2 (Rail, Civils & Utilities) package, carried out by Carillion, came in at more than three times the original costing of £1.94m at £6.65m.

The Whitechapel civils, demolition and utilities around Swanlea school, undertaken by J Murphy & Sons, cost 22 per cent more than planned at £1.31m.

The TfL board report noted that a number of project delays had led to underspending during the year, including slippage in the timescale of works at Custom House station, which may result in a delay to the station re-opening next month. 

A spokesperson for Crossrail said: “The Elizabeth line is being delivered within its available funding.

“The TfL finance report refers to Crossrail’s actual expenditure compared to forecast expenditure as estimated in the Business Plan, which is set annually at the start of each financial year.

“Variances are expected, as the Business Plan naturally contains a number of assumptions, such as the timing and scope of work, which result in both over- and underspend throughout the year.

“Crossrail has integrated the designs for 12 major property developments over and around the new Elizabeth line stations in central London and other key locations as part of the project.

“Development plans cover over 3m sq ft of high-quality office, retail and residential space between Paddington and Woolwich.

“The City of Westminster has given outline planning consent for a 117,000 sq ft development above and around the western ticket hall of Tottenham Court Road station on Dean Street, comprising residential and retail units.

“Transport for London will be seeking a development partner for this site in 2018. Derwent London has been selected as the development partner for the Tottenham Court Road east site.” 

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