26 January 2017 CH2M’s European MD Mark Thurston is named HS2’s new chief executive, weeks ahead of the decision on phase two’s development partner deal. HS2 tells Construction News that, to avoid any conflict of interest, Mr Thurston will cease contact with CH2M ahead of taking up his role.
9 February 2017 CH2M is confirmed as the preferred consultant for the £170m phase two development partner role, beating Bechtel and Mace / Turner & Townsend to the contract.
13 February 2017 Construction News reveals that CH2M imposed a ‘Chinese Wall’ policy throughout bidding for the £170m development partner contract, aimed at ensuring those CH2M employees already working for HS2 would have no contact with employees working on the company’s bid.
15 February 2017 Transport minister Andrew Jones reveals that CH2M was paid in excess of £100m for its phase one development partner contract, substantially more than the £50m-£70m figure given when the contract was signed in 2012.
16 February 2017 CN reports that Mace is “looking closely at its options” following HS2’s decision to award the £170m development partner contract to CH2M rather than its JV bid, with a spokeswoman adding that “as a British-owned company, we were naturally disappointed with HS2’s decision”.
17 February 2017 Rachel White, the woman who led CH2M’s phase two development partner bid, is chosen to replace the outgoing European MD Mark Thurston.
24 February 2017 HS2 delays officially awarding the development partner contract to CH2M and sets up a meeting with Mace to discuss the procurement process, as exclusively revealed by CN.
3 March 2017 The government confirms that CH2M has seconded 37 members of staff to HS2, with transport minister Andrew Jones also reporting that 84 CH2M members of staff were working in HS2’s offices.
10 March 2017 CN reveals that the prime minister’s office has weighed in following the media storm surrounding the development partner contract award, with a source suggesting Number 10 is keeping a close eye on the saga and had concerns over how it is being handled.
22 March 2017 CN reveals that HS2 is understood to be looking into the part potentially played by former HS2 chief of staff Christopher Reynolds, a former Army officer and founder of construction consultancy and management firm Genecoe, in the US engineering giant’s tender for the £170m phase 2b development partner deal. Mr Reynolds appears to have been appointed as a programme director at CH2M in March 2017.
29 March 2017 CH2M withdraws from the £170m phase two delivery partner contract, saying it has taken the decision ”to alleviate any further delays to this critical national infrastructure project which could ultimately lead to increasing costs to UK taxpayers, as well as to our firm”.
30 March 2017 CH2M’s withdrawal is debated in parliament, with transport secretary Chris Grayling coming under fire from MPs demanding a public enquiry. Third placed bidder Mace calls for the tender process to be rerun after CH2M exit.
7th April 2017 It is revealed that the procurement for another HS2 contract, this time the £9m commercial services management framework, will be re-run after potential conflicts of interest are found during procurement.
19th April 2017 HS2 Chair Sir David Higgins and transport secretary Chris Grayling face transport select committee. Sir David reveals the client was close to kicking CH2M off the deal, while name checking CN’s work. CN also publishes a story an hour before revealing Mace’s evidence to the committee, in which they accuse HS2 of wasting taxpayers’ money.
21 April 2017 Following the select committee grilling, HS2 tells CN that it will bring in new “ground-breaking measures” to combat potential conflict of interest in procurement, with the steps going over and above anything seen in government procurement.
29th April 2017 CN reveals that Mace has given up on any plans to legally challenge the development partner contract award.
4th May 2017 Procurement documents seen by CN reveal Bechtel need to mobilise a team of £170m people within six weeks of signing the deal.
25th May 2017 Bechtel officially signs £170m development partner contract, with CN revealing that former Crossrail manager Gus Scott has been chosen to lead programme team.
11 July 2017 CN exclusively reveals that CH2M have won their first high-profile government contract since the HS2 saga, landing the programme manager role on the £4bn parliament restoration job. The firm beats rivals Mace in the process.
5th September 2017 HS2 reveals the details of its new tougher rules on potential conflicts of interest as part of its procurement documents for the station construction packages, including requirements on firms to provide detailed information on any former HS2 staff helping on their bids.