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Delays expected on £200m Highways Agency asset support contract

A five-year Highways Agency deal for a new asset support contract worth up to £200 million is set to be delayed after bidders were told of changes to the procurement process.

CN has learned that bidders for the Asset Support Contract Area 6 deal – Amey LG, Atkins/Skanska, Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald and the Carillion/WSP JV – are believed to have been told there were problems with each of the tenders and that the procurement process will now continue under negotiated procedure.

The contract covering the East of England was due to start on 1 September but a Highways Agency spokesman has confirmed that the date is now unlikely to be achieved.

He said: “We are working as hard as we can to try and achieve that [date] but it now looks unlikely that we will.”

CN understands suppliers have all been informed about the changed process and were told that there was something either “unsuitable or irregular” about each of the bidders’ tenders.

Under the terms of public works contracts, clients can enter into negotiated procedures in certain circumstances, including following another procedure which revealed the presence of irregular tenders, “insofar as this new procedure does not substantially alter the original terms of the contract”.

An asset support deal worth up to £250m for Area 8 covering the Home Counties is also due to start in September and there are fears that deal will also be delayed. A Highways Agency spokesman insisted it was “at a different stage” and that no delays had been confirmed on Area 8.

The Area 3 ASC in the South of England worth up to £750m is due to start in November but it is understood that the Highways Agency has not told suppliers of any delays to that deal.

A Highways Agency spokesman insisted the Area 6 deal had not been suspended, but was going down “a different route”. He would not comment on why the deals were going through negotiated procedure as the HA is in the middle of a tender process.

He said: “It is important when considering any type of tender that we need to make sure it is sustainable. We are committed to moving forward as quickly as we can.”

He added that there were plans in place to provide maintenance in Area 6 should the deal be delayed, which could include using the existing contractor Atkins, whose highways operation and maintenance business will be owned by Skanska in September (CN 7 Mar, p8).

An Atkins/Skanska joint venture was named as the winner of the Highways Agency’s first Asset Support Contract worth up to £400m last year.

Balfour Beatty Mott Macdonald was awarded a £300 million ASC to maintain and improve over 500km of motorways and major roads in the North-west last June.

The agency issued a contract notice for its Midlands Asset Support Contract worth around £800 million in January.

Asset Support Contracts:

  • Area 6 Asset Support Contract (Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk):

Dates: September 2013 - August 2018.

Value: £30m - £40m annually

Work: Integrated network management, maintenance, improvement activities, incident management, event management and contingency planning.  Design and construction of works up to a value of £4m with the possibility of this being increased to a maximum of £8m.

Tenders invited from Amey LG Ltd, Atkins/Skanska JV, Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald and Carillion WSP JV.

  • Area 8 ASC (Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire):

Dates: September 2013 - Agust 2018

Value: £45m - £50m annually

Work: Integrated network management, maintenance, improvement activities, incident management, event management and contingency planning.  Design and construction of works up to a value of £4m with the possibility of this being increased to a maximum of £8m.

Tenders have been invited from Amey LG Ltd, Atkins/Skanska JV, Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald and Carillion

  • Area 3 ASC Berkshire, Dorset, East Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex, Wiltshire

Dates: 1 November 2013 - 30 November 2018

Value: £75m - £150m annually

Work: Integrated network management, maintenance, improvement activities, incident management, event management and contingency planning. Design and construction of works up to a value of £4m with the possibility of this being increased to a maximum of £8m. Management of HA’s technology maintenance contractor.

Tenders invited from A-ONE + (Colas/Halcrow/Costain JV), Mouchel Ltd (formerly Enterprise Mouchel Ltd), Amey Highways Ltd and Carillion.

 

 

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