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TfL withdraws £300m framework

Transport for London has been forced to delay yet more Underground work with the withdrawal and rescoping of a £300 million maintenance framework.

Barely two weeks since it announced major delays to its station upgrade programme, including the £695m revamp of Victoria station, TfL is considering alterations to its BCV and SSL civil maintenance framework, which is already in procurement.

It is thought that about 15 firms submitted pre-qualification questionnaires last week for the 10-operator framework, covering maintenance on the Bakerloo, Victoria, Central, Waterloo and City, District, Metropolitan, and Hammersmith and City Lines.

A TfL spokeswoman told Construction News: “Pressures on TfL’s finances and the financial impact of Metronet’s collapse have made it imperative that London Underground contracts provide and demonstrate value for money.

“We’ve had recent success with delivering efficiencies through service contracts, so with that in mind the civil maintenance framework contract will be withdrawn and our intention is to issue a revised contract within the next six months.”

She confirmed: “Any expressions of interest or pre-qualification documents will not be processed or evaluated.”

TfL is understood to be looking at widening the scope of the framework, which presently has three lots covering drainage; earth structures and bridges; and structures and deep tube tunnels.

One contractor source said: “There is a rumour that it might get widened to make it more encompassing but it’s not clear how it would work. They’ll have to start [procurement] all over again.”

The source added that the framework was unlikely to be shelved completely given the nature of the work to be carried out. He said: “It is bread and butter work that has to be done. All the previous frameworks have expired.”

Skanska, Kier, Costain and McNicholas Rail are thought to be among the firms that submitted PQQs.

Murphy, Clancy Docwra, YJL Infrastructure and Barhale Rail are also understood to have expressed their interest in bidding for the agreement.

Two weeks ago, TfL said the Victoria station upgrade would not be completed until 2018. It had initially been expected to announce a winner in August, but deferred its decision.

The transport authority said its focus was now on congestion relief at major stations such as King’s Cross and Tottenham Court Road.

Any other station refurbishment work where contractors are not already on site has been deferred until 2012/13 and beyond.

Despite this, contractors are still confident that TfL’s planned upgrades at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street Underground stations will go ahead given their importance to the Crossrail project.