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Network Rail opens £6bn work to early contractor involvement

Network Rail today said it would work with designers and contractors earlier in the development of £6 billion-worth of projects, in what the track operator describes as a radical overhaul of the way it works with suppliers.

The move, dubbed internally as “Project Open Book”, will see Network Rail open up its biggest projects to construction and engineering companies at an early stage, integrating suppliers into its delivery teams in a bid to reduce costs.

“The rail industry must reduce costs and these radical reforms will revolutionise the way we deliver our projects, helping to slash red tape and restrictive bureaucracy while generating significant cost savings and efficiencies,” said Network Rail investment projects director Simon Kirby.

“By ‘joint-venturing’ with our suppliers in this way, we can create an environment that fully integrates our delivery partners into our projects to achieve a common goal, helping Network Rail deliver a bigger, better value railway.”

The reforms will create ‘joint-venturing’ delivery teams aimed at enabling Network Rail to capitalise on expertise and innovation from the private sector to reduce project delivery costs.

The seven projects and work programmes included in the first phase of the roll out are:

  • Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP)
  • London Bridge (part of Thameslink programme)
  • High-output delivery of the Great Western electrification scheme
  • National major resignalling projects
  • Birmingham Gateway
  • Hitchin flyover on the East Coast main line
  • Civils renewals programme

Network Rail bosses last week met with leaders of 25 of Britain’s largest construction and engineering firms to seek support in refining how the new contracting strategy will work.

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