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HS2 Ltd is carrying out a review of its Phase 2b commercial case and delivery strategy as a result of ongoing construction material shortages and cost increases.
The materials crisis has been well documented with the cost of fabricated steel up 38% year-on-year. Other materials such as concrete rebar, timber and imported plywood have also seen big cost increases since the turn of the year.
Transport minister Andrew Stephenson has repeatedly said that materials shortages are having no impact on major projects including High Speed 2 (HS2).
He has also said that the construction of HS2 itself is having no impact on local prices and local building site productivity.
Earlier this week, in response to a written question from fellow MP Steve Baker, Stephenson said that “HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport, and colleagues at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy are monitoring [the materials situation] closely, but do not have any information to suggest that HS2 is having a material impact on material availability or pricing at this time”.
However, board minutes from the beginning of June – and just made public – reveal that an internal review of the northern leg will be carried out to factor in any potential impact of the ongoing materials crisis.
The minutes add: “An Executive session was to be held to review the Commercial Case and Delivery Strategy for Phase 2b, including the impact on construction materials markets.”
The board minutes also reveal that a stand-alone business case is being drawn up for the western leg of HS2 Phase 2b to Manchester.
It will be the first time that a value-for-money assessment has been carried out of the western leg.
The minutes add: “It was explained that the Outline Business Case would be the first time a value-for-money assessment of Phase 2b Western Leg would be undertaken as a standalone investment. […]
“It was noted that the Economic Analysis would be finalised for submission to the Department for Transport in June 2021 and, following assurance, in July 2021, with assured analysis of the transformational impacts delivered in September 2021, ahead of the publication of the Outline Business Case alongside the deposit of the Phase 2b Western Leg Hybrid Bill, expected in December 2021.”
This article first appeared on www.newcivilengineer.com
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