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Crossrail firms primed for new work as performance improves

Crossrail’s contractors have boosted their chances of winning major infrastructure deals, according to its chief executive, as new figures showed improved performance among firms on the scheme.

Andrew Wolstenholme said the lessons learned and improvements made by contractors on Crossrail were now benefiting the firms as they bid for new major infrastructure programmes.

Construction News understands High Speed 2 and the Thames Tideway Tunnel’s leaders are interested in using similar evaluation tools to the performance management framework being used on Crossrail.

The framework evaluates contractors on health and safety; quality (of process and product); commercial; community relations; social sustainability; and environment.

The latest contractor scores, shared with Construction News, show that performance is steadily improving, with scores in social sustainability (up 63 per cent), its Target Zero health and safety programme (56 per cent) and quality (49 per cent) all up sharply over three reporting periods.

*First full assessment round **Contract complete
Teams are given input and output scores, amalgamated for an overall score of between 0 and 3. A score of 1.3 is seen as ‘compliant’

Mr Wolstenholme said: “When you operate at an industry level, to share some of the data with follow-on programmes is a healthy thing to do.

“You can see from the numbers there is no supplier we are measuring that has gone back [in performance]… they have all consistently improved.”

Construction News revealed in December that the chief executives of Crossrail contractors had voluntarily agreed to performance monitoring that had not been included in the contracts.

The contract types vary, but show each contractor or JV has improved performance to varying degrees since the framework started gathering performance data in 2012.

“In part it’s the lessons they have learned and the improvements they have made on Crossrail that puts them in a healthier state”

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail

Mr Wolstenholme said: “We wanted to develop constructive competition between our teams for continuous improvement but also to demonstrate that we were healthily improving.

“There will be keen competition to win the [Thames] Tideway work and the Northern Line Extension is going to Ferrovial and Laing O’Rourke; in part it’s the lessons they have learned and part of the improvements they have made on Crossrail that puts them in a healthier state.”

A Ferrovial and Laing O’Rourke JV was shortlisted for the west and central Thames Tideway Tunnel contracts in October last year.

Under TTT rules, contractors cannot win more than one of the three main works packages, which also includes the east deal.

The JV also won the £600m Northern Line Extension in July.

Infrastructure leaders keen on using a similar framework are understood to include the former Crossrail programme director who helped design the framework Andy Mitchell, who is now Thames Tideway chief executive, as well as HS2 chief executive Simon Kirby.

“High Speed 2 chief executive Simon Kirby understands this is currency that cannot be bought”

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail

Mr Wolstenholme said: “Andy was part-architect of the system and sees the value of taking that forward to Thames Tideway.

“Simon Kirby understands, through things like the client working group from IUK, that this is currency that cannot be bought.

“I’m not saying everyone should adopt exactly the same criteria to measure performance. But to have a healthy comparison between how our suppliers are doing and encourage them to improve over a period of time, there must be a way that senior clients operate consistently.”

Over three rounds of reporting, Crossrail’s contractors have also improved their commercial and environmental performance by 25 per cent, the latest scores show.


Construction News first revealed the existence of the framework and the first two rounds of scores on the Crossrail performance management framework in 2013.

The framework was entered into voluntarily by the chief executives of the client’s first tier contractors.

Read more on the framework here.

Crossrail said it had identified 88 examples of world-class practice from which lessons learned had been shared with other projects on the £14.8bn programme.

Its overall health and safety performance has improved significantly, despite the death of 43-year-old Slovakian national Rene Tkacik in March. Several sites have had no reportable incidents over the past year.

Mr Wolstenholme said: “It was a sense of total loss back in March when we had that fatality.

“We still need to learn from that, the investigation is going on and the ambition from that is to make the industry healthier and safer.”

Contractors told Construction News they are now applying the framework to their work outside of Crossrail.

A HMJV (Hochtief Murphy JV) spokeswoman said: “For HMJV, the performance management framework has not only resulted in performance improvement on the Crossrail Thames Tunnel C310 contract (tunnel construction from Plumstead to North Woolwich), but has also led to wider positive outcomes for both Hochtief and Murphy individually.”

This includes Murphy Group’s launch of an online microsite sharing innovations developed and implemented jointly on Crossrail C310, while Hochtief wants to adapt the framework for use across some of its major international projects.

Peter Walsh, BBMV (Balfour Beatty, Alpine BeMo Tunnelling, Morgan Sindall and Vinci JV) project director on the Crossrail C512 project, said the framework helped to provide “continuous improvement and a vehicle for sharing best practice across the Crossrail contractor community”.

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