Projects will be delivered more quickly as successful suppliers will be on standby – ready to go – rather than having to enter another bid process to win work. The main features of the new approach are:
Stronger, regionally focused partnerships
- The time it takes to deliver ‘Multi Asset Framework Agreement’ (MAFA) projects – which combine signalling, track and civils – will be cut from months to weeks. In the past some of these have taken up to eleven months to get up and running, causing frustration for Network Rail’s clients and putting off potential investors
- The cost of delivery on these projects will be cut by up to 20 per cent
- Six suppliers have been selected with the first work already under way in the Manchester area. In total, £750 million of work will be delivered under the plans.
The plans see Network Rail creating stronger relations with six suppliers (under MAFA). This will provide them with greater certainty on work volumes, addressing a concern with current MAFA arrangements where work is shared across the country between 14 different suppliers.The six MAFA suppliers
Balfour Beatty Rail Scotland
Colas – Morgan Sindall West
C Spencer South East (shared portfolio)
Volker Fitzpatrick South East (shared portfolio)
The successful suppliers will work with Network Rail far earlier in the design phase, enabling the industry to better build in safety and innovation. Being responsible for a particular region will align suppliers with Network Rail’s new route-based structure.First benefits delivered this year
Across the country, small and medium-sized projects will be delivered in this way. The first areas to benefit are around Manchester, where Buckingham Group has already begun work on a package that will see them design and construct twenty-two platform extensions at 14 stations by the end of the year.Part of wider changes to project delivery
This is the latest part of Network Rail’s plans to change the landscape of project delivery on the railway:
- In April 2011 Network Rail announced plans to work more closely with suppliers from an earlier stage on some of its most significant major programmes. In July Invensys Rail Ltd was selected to undertake the design and delivery of one of Britain’s biggest ever resignalling schemes in the London Bridge station area.
- In June 2011, Network Rail unveiled plans to overhaul its project management capability. The plans are in their formative stage, with the current view being to create a new business unit within the Network Rail group and a new client function capable of bidding, contracting and managing the future capital projects work bank from within the routes or nationally.