The announcement that the High Speed Two project will go ahead is really good news for the construction industry.
The project won’t immediately improve the outlook for contractors. The benefits are more about improving the functioning of the economy as a whole. But, as the infrastructure connections improve, the opportunities for wider construction work in the north of England should grow too.
And there will be plenty of work for civils contractors over a long period on a high-profile project that will allow them to showcase their skills all over the world. Many of the UK’s major contractors will be well placed to win work, but there will be opportunities too throughout the supply chain, especially for local contractors working close to the route.
What really matters is getting this project right. With a tight budget and a long timetable, there are certainly risks. And HS2
is likely to have a bumpy ride politically too, even with broad cross-party consensus.
This is a project for the industry to get behind and help make happen - right from the start. Now is the time to put the government’s procurement reforms into play. HS2 will need early contractor involvement and supply chain collaboration. It will need to use building information modelling and should be an exemplar of project bank accounts too.
The preparation done now will lay the ground for the next 20-odd years, but the effect of any mistakes made will be felt for even longer.