HS2 Contract Opportunities – Everything you need to know

13th February 2020

HS2 – What is it?

Last updated: Dec 17, 2021 @ 10:02 am

HS2, or High Speed 2 is a landmark project proposed by the Government, which began in 2009. The project involves the design and construction of brand-new high-speed railway tracks and stations. They will connect Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and London. Influenced by high speeds of the Japanese Shinkansen railway, trains will reach speeds of 360 km/h, linking existing railway networks. HS2 is intended to transport more than 300,000 passengers every day. HS2 is the biggest project of its type in Europe, pre-Brexit.

The core ideas behind HS2 are:

  • To help transition to a net-zero carbon UK economy.
  • To reduce overcrowding and congestion on other lines.
  • Improving access between cities, benefiting our economy.

What are the benefits of HS2?

  • HS2 trains are low carbon, meaning fewer emissions.
  • The trains will connect new areas of the country.
  • It will facilitate more opportunities for people to access work.
  • It will provide thousands of jobs across the country.
  • High-speed trains will reduce travel time between areas.

Once completed, HS2 train lines and services are anticipated to link almost 50% of the UK population. It will broadly change how we commute, work and engage with neighbouring cities. The scope of this project is vast geographically, socially and financially. So how will this be achieved?

HS2 timeline

HS2 will be constructed in three phases:

  • Phase 1, with services to run by 2026. London will be connected to the West Midlands upon completion.
  • Phase 2a, with services to run by 2027. London will be connected to Crewe and further afield upon completion.
  • Phase 2b, with services to run by 2033. HS2 will connect to Manchester, Leeds and further afield.

Bends in the road

 Significant criticism surrounds the costs involved and time required to complete HS2. Criticism has been made by parties ranging from Conservative and Labour peers and Greenpeace to the general public. Largely, planning and budgeting decisions have created a financial snowball effect. The total cost of the HS2 budget has ballooned from £56bn in 2015 to over £100bn to date. Factors which have contributed to this increase include:

  1. Design and numbers

HS2 is designed to run 18 trains every hour. This translates into high costs for associated systems and resources which are needed to run these trains.

  1. Underestimating costs

To complete HS2 routes, lots of land (and properties) need to be bought by HS2 Ltd. Original calculations of these costs were not valued accurately, and many were estimated at too low a cost.

  1. Changing existing infrastructure

Bridges, rivers and roads will need to be moved or demolished to make room for new lines. Considering HS2’s proposed length, this will be extremely costly.

  1. Delays and lack of planning

Train services running at the end of Phase 1 are delayed by 2-5 years. They are now anticipated to begin running between 2028-2031. Similarly, Phase 2a and 2b are now due to begin running services between 2035-40.

Why should HS2 matter to me?

Despite the issues and rather significant financial stumbles surrounding HS2, the project will be running long-term. As of 11 February, prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the full project will be followed through. Getting on board could very well be profitable for your business. Here’s why:

  • HS2 contract opportunities are in full supply for large businesses and SMEs alike. HS2 place particular focus on making project work more accessible for small or medium-sized enterprises. This is a unique opportunity to build contract experience on a national framework. This can typically be challenging and inaccessible for SMEs.
  • The tier system HS2 ltd uses for procurement means a fairer opportunity to tender for projects. Bidders can apply as a Tier 1 direct supplier for high-value opportunities. Contractors who gain work as a Tier 1 contractor are required to advertise relevant supply chain opportunities, which benefits SMEs. This amounts to thousands of contract supply chain opportunities.
  • To date, thousands of businesses have provided contracting services for HS2, with a significant proportion of those being SMEs.
  • Direct Tier 1 suppliers must be transparent in the opportunities that they will provide.
  • As a business, you can bid for HS2 contract opportunities through direct procurement and supply chain opportunities. Criticisms surrounding HS2’s inflated costs have created additional contracting opportunities as an aside. Anxieties surrounding the funds dedicated to HS2 have prompted the government to dedicate £5bn to improve bus and cycle resources. This money will be utilised within the next five years, so stay informed with upcoming contract opportunities.
  • Winning an HS2 contract will demonstrate to future clients a commitment to UK infrastructure.
  • HS2 contract experience will be invaluable for demonstrating experience in future tenders.

What HS2 contract opportunities are available?

There is a huge variety of opportunities available to tender for. These are in the form of frameworks and individual projects. These include, but are not limited to:

HS2 contract opportunities will be available wherever there are works being serviced, in addition to services which can be provided remotely. Therefore, areas for opportunity are geographically broad from London, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester.

Demonstrating sustainability

It is important to reflect sooner, rather than later on how your organisation can align with HS2 ‘s carbon reduction goals. This project in itself will produce carbon emissions, so as responsible businesses we must play our part to minimise the impact. In tendering and procurement, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to demonstrate sustainability through business practices and social responsibility.

HS2 is the perfect opportunity to align national framework experience with long-term sustainable approaches. Indeed, sustainability is a core value of the project, as it aims to support net-zero carbon within the UK economy. To support your tendering efforts with HS2, consider the following points:

  • How can you be environmentally innovative? This must be evidenced and measurable.
  • Can you reduce the use of materials within the supply chain? This, in turn, will reduce costs.
  • Think about offsetting your CO2. There are many ways to approach this, from tree planting with local charities, to larger carbon projects.
  • Review your environmental policies. Are they relevant to the work you want to undertake?
  • Appoint an environmental champion – a named individual who will manage your organisation’s environmental management processes.
  • Review your businesses processes, and review them again. Aim to produce an environmental Action Plan. This will demonstrate to HS2 what you do now and what you will do in the future. You can focus on your sector-specific goals, actions you have taken and will take in the future. Consider how you will monitor and deliver this plan.

HS2 culture

 On a broader scale, working with HS2 requires you as a supplier to align with their culture. HS2 place particular focus upon:

  • Sustainability – social, environmental and economic sustainability.
  • Innovation – improving best practice.
  • Collaboration – working together with aligned goals.

HS2 will look to work with businesses who can both holistically and measurably apply the above into their working practices. It is important that you not only align with these values but demonstrate how you do this. Do you have policies and procedures in place? Do you have any relevant accreditations? What is your approach to staff training? It is essential to reflect and make a plan of action.

Attending Meet the Contractor events will provide invaluable networking opportunities. It will also provide you with the opportunity to have meaningful face-to-face discussions with Tier 1 suppliers. Here, they can provide you with greater insights into how you can finely tune your tender applications. At these events, you can also attend specialist workshops, further supporting your HS2 tendering efforts.

How can my business get involved?

The scope of HS2 contract opportunities is huge, however, this can also be overwhelming. When you tender for a contract opportunity, we will ensure that your business capabilities are reflected in the best possible way.

If you choose to pursue a contract or framework opportunity with HS2, at Hudson Succeed, we can assist you in any stage of tendering to ensure you have the right policies, procedures and approach in place to make your mark on UK infrastructure.

Through Tender Ready, we will do just that. In 2019, our success rate was an amazing 87%. Our dedicated Bid Writers will assess your paperwork, such as ITT, SQ and all specification documents.

Demonstrating your experience can be crucial when tendering for HS2 contract opportunities. We can help you pull together key information in an engaging, informative and persuasive case study format. You can use these case studies again in future tendering efforts, throughout the life of HS2 tendering. We are here to help you succeed.

We will work with you to identify how you can bring out the very best in your content. If you have little existing content, we will develop this for you. You can find HS2 contract opportunities on our portals and through ‘Meet the Contractor’ events and roadshows. Get in touch to find out more information on how we can help with the tender process and win you work.

Find more helpful tips and advice in our blogs. We cover topics including:

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