TfL banking on new form of procurement
Transport for London has introduced a revolutionary new procurement process for its planned upgrade of the hugely complex Bank-Monument interchange. Under the old system, the winner would have taken all, but TfL has come up with a new method for retaining some of the money saving ideas from the losing bidders. If these are adopted, they will get a half share of the savings. David Waboso, London Underground’s capital programmes director, explained the process to John W E Helm.
The new scheme is called Innovative Contractor Engagement (ICE), and its implementation is likely to be closely followed by Government ministers as a possible future funding model for other major infrastructure projects.
Spanish construction company Dragados SA, defeated three rival groups to secure the £563m contract in July. “This represents value for money, not simply the cheapest option,” stresses David Waboso, London Underground’s Capital Programmes Director. “Instead of using the old model of competitive tendering based on lowest capital cost for a defined scheme, our project team issued a list of specific “value” requirements. These include reducing journey times and relieving congestion on Northern Line platforms and interchange routes; providing step free access between the Northern line, Docklands Light Railway and street level; as well as improving station fire evacuation times.
“The most successful bidder represented the best ratio of benefits to cost. Dragados combined a 19% improvement in passenger journey times with a 23% cost reduction. ICE is a completely new concept that has not been tried before. We hope to use it to fund other schemes as well in due course. Construction is expected to start in 2016 and scheduled for completion in 2021.
“While LU is now breaking even on the operating side for the first time in many years, capital renewal projects like these still require additional external funding, mainly through DfT grants although we plan to increase revenue from other sources such as commercial activities.”
The three losing groups (all joint ventures) were: BFK (BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial SA and Kier); CVC (Costain, Vinci Grand Projects & Vinci Construction); and MBA (Morgan Sindall, Balfour Beatty, Alpine Bemo Tunnelling). “We bought ideas from all three so their ideas were taken on board,” says Waboso, “but in this instance, not on the construction side.”
Dragados is part of part of ACS, the giant Spanish civil and engineering construction conglomerate, and is already involved with Sisk in the Crossrail project, having been awarded with a joint contract in December 2010.
Waboso outlines the scale of the problem: “Bank-Monument is the fourth busiest interchange on the London Underground. We’ve seen a 40% increase in journeys since 2003, and 96,000 passengers now use Bank in the morning peak between 7am and 10am, including 40,000 who change between lines. Numbers will continue to grow and we expect to reach maximum capacity of 100,000 by 2016, so something has to be done.
“Bank-Monument is one of the most complex subterranean railway systems anywhere to be found, and has grown piecemeal fashion over the last 120 years. It is served by five LU lines – the Central, District, Circle, Northern and Waterloo & City, plus the Docklands Light Railway. It has three ticket halls, six lifts, ten platforms, 15 escalators and two 300ft moving walkways. The worst crowding takes place on the Northern Line platforms, and the Central and DLR passageways and station exits are also badly affected.
“A new southbound tunnel for the Northern Line forms the biggest task for the new upgrade,” he continues. “But it will be a difficult job. We can’t interfere with buildings, and could face possible problems with water and seepage. Around 70 buildings could be affected, including six which are Grade One listed.
“We hope to minimise disruption during the construction process, though this section of the Northern line will be closed in both directions when the new section of railway is connected. Parts of the old tunnel will be utilised to create additional running passageways, and other parts for storing equipment.”
Up on the surface, TfL is also planning major changes. “We are putting in a new ticket hall and entrance to Bank station from Cannon Street,” he explains. “This will lie within the block bounded by King William Street, Nicholas Lane, Cannon Street and Abchurch Lane. This will entail acquiring six properties, which will be demolished, allowing the site to be used for construction access and then for the new entrance.
“The original plan had been to put in four large 40 person lifts, but this has now been changed. Instead, there will be 12 new additional escalators, two new lifts plus an upgraded one. There will be a set of triple escalators connecting the Central and Northern lines, and another triple set linking the Northern Line with the DLR. We are also putting in a new moving walkway to speed up the passenger flow.
“Once complete, there will be a new above-site commercial development to replace the demolished properties.”
Further refinements to the design process are still on-going. An application for a Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO) will be made 2014 and powers are expected to be granted in 2015.
Upgrade complements other Northern Line developments
The Northern Line carries 900,000 passengers a day and is London’s busiest tube line. It consists of two central sections and three branches, has 50 stations and covers 36 route miles. However, some of the signalling dates from the 1950s and is now undergoing modernisation.
“Our plans for Bank-Monument naturally complement the signalling upgrade which should be completed during next year,” he concludes. “We are increasing capacity and shall be able to carry 20% more passengers, or 11,000 more people per hour during the peak periods. New signalling on the central sections will increase the number of trains per hour (tph) from the current limit of 20 to 24. Ideally, we would like to separate the two main central sections (via Charing Cross and Bank), to notch up capacity on the branches to 28-32 tph. However, that’s dependent upon the re-signalling of Camden North, the most complex section on the line, and buying additional trains.
“Meanwhile, our plans for the Northern Line extension from Kennington to Battersea are progressing. An OJEU notice was issued in March, and four contractors have been shortlisted to design and build the 3.2km tunnel and the two stations at Battersea and Nine Elms. Funding has been guaranteed by the finance package in the 2012 autumn statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. A TWAO application was made earlier this year, and a contract could be awarded around mid 2014, though it will not cover signalling or the additional rolling stock (for at least five sets) that will be required. We anticipate an opening date of 2020.”
David Waboso has been with TfL for eight years, and spent the last three in his current position. He previously worked for the SRA and in the private sector on rail and infrastructure projects.