HS2 Contracts Awarded, What Now?

After months of speculation HS2 has this week announced the winners of the building contracts related to the project. UK firms Carillion, Costain and Balfour Beatty are among those responsible for tunnels, bridges and embankments on the first stretch of the new high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham. The Leeds and Manchester branches of the routes are expected to be announced later this week. The HS2 project is expected to create 1600 jobs.

HS2 has not been without controversy and issues during the initial process. It is a hugely complicated project fraught with potential difficulties. We decided to look at some of the possible problems Carillion, Costain and Balfour Beatty could encounter, and how a highly functional, construction focussed ERP solution can help avoid them!

Cost Management

One of the most oft repeated criticisms of HS2 is the somewhat flexible cost figure attached to it. In 2015 the total bill was announced as 55.7bn, however some MPs have suggested this could reach £200bn, almost four times higher than initially suggested.

The final cost will, one way or the other, be a reflection on the power and accuracy of the estimating software used. Construction ERP solutions such as 4PS offer highly accurate estimating functionality that allows businesses to lay a firm foundation for preparing budgets. Once the budget is set, costs need to be controlled carefully. As HS2 is obviously an extremely complicated long-term project that must factor in things such as inflation, project budget control software becomes even more crucial.

TSI Compliance

First and foremost, the biggest challenge facing HS2 is ensuring it remains TSI (Technical Specifications for Interoperability) compliant. There is also a huge number of unique infrastructure challenges facing this modern railway, including low noise tunnels, modern control systems and optimised track materials. With a tailored construction ERP all compliance, from government financial regulations to subcontractor management, can be recorded and managed inside the system to ensure regulations or deadlines aren’t missed.


While BIM is now a requirement for all government projects its most common usage remains in commercial construction rather than infrastructure. HS2 comes with its own set on unique challenges, for one thing there are far less repeatable components than in vertical building. The project has already found BIM to be a useful asset however, in particular when addressing concerns on specific geographical impact, as well as illustrating savings and benefits.
4PS Construct is one of the only ERP software product that has full BIM integration (in the form of the BIM Bridge) which offers huge efficiency on large scale projects.

4PS Construct is already used successfully by rail infrastructure contractors, such as Strukton Rail. Please get in touch, if you’d like to discuss the benefits further.


Who are the firms involved?

Carillion is a leading international integrated support services business. They employ around 48,500 people and operate in the UK, Canada and Middle East. Carillion has annual revenues of more than £5bn.

Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty are a leading infrastructure group operating internationally – engineers, builders, project and facilities managers, analysts, consultants and more


Costain began in 1865 when the company was founded by Richard Costain. They provide innovative engineering and technology led solutions across the full life-cycle of an asset.


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