West Midlands businesses urged to be HS2-ready

Procurement picks up pace for high-speed project.

Businesses in the West Midlands are being urged to ensure they are ready and able to take advantage of the supply chain opportunities being created by HS2, the high-speed rail mega-project.

The scale of HS2, the largest infrastructure project in Europe, creates the requirement for an extensive and varied supply chain. This could provide opportunities for businesses in the West Midlands for the next 20 years, across a vast and diverse range of areas from design to construction, catering to cleaning, and manufacturing to maintenance.

Support is available for companies through local Growth Hubs, which are well placed to provide free advice across a number of related areas, including capital expenditure; application of innovative advanced technology; building information modelling; market development; and mentoring and coaching.

Three joint ventures have been contracted to deliver the enabling works for Phase 1 of the project, between London and Birmingham. Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Limited, two of the UK’s leading engineering and construction companies, are currently managing the enabling works in the West Midlands for Phase 1.

Working in joint venture, they are currently seeking over £250 million of supply chain contracts, across a wide variety of sectors including: accommodation; demolition works; installation of IT infrastructure; planting and seeding; landscaping; removal and disposal of asbestos; stonemasonry; structural works; and surveys.

Sean O’Brien, Procurement Leader for the LM joint venture, commented: “The HS2 project is starting to pick up pace as we move towards 2018. As we confirm the scope of our requirements, we will see a dramatic increase in the number of Tier Two, and then Tier Three and Four, contracts being made available. It is critical that businesses are aware, through our CompeteFor portal, of the types, and timings of contracts available, and the eligibility criteria they will be required to meet.”

Lisa Hamilton, HS2 Project Manager at West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “People automatically think of trains and tracks when they think about HS2, but the breadth and depth of the supply chain required highlights the range of opportunities that we would like to be fulfilled by local businesses.

“Working with the region’s Growth Hubs we are raising awareness and promoting HS2 Supply Chain opportunities. A wide range of business and funding support has been put in place to help local businesses and the Growth Hubs have already advised many West Midlands companies on how they can make the most of HS2, now we are urging others to access the support available.”

West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, added: “The HS2 Supply Chain Programme will deliver incredible economic benefits to the West Midlands, allowing local businesses to realise the value from the millions of pounds of infrastructure investment in the region. The works that will soon be starting across the region signal the start of the amazing value that HS2 will deliver to the region.

“What is so impressive about the HS2 Supply Chain Programme is that it will be local businesses and employees receiving the benefit, allowing the region to increase jobs, improve education and further highlight the bright future that HS2 has the potential to deliver.”

Businesses that want to find out more about the opportunities within the HS2 Supply Chain Programme, the eligibility criteria, how to apply, and the support and including funding available, should contact their local Growth Hub where they will receive free advice. To find the relevant contact details visit here. Full details of all HS2 Enabling Works opportunities are available via the CompeteFor portal. LM’s opportunities are available here.