Home
Invite
RSS
Search:
Advanced Search
Government invite for Chinese High Speed 2 bids 'bemusing' says construction industry

from:http://www.cnplus.co.uk/clients/hs2/industry-questions-chinese-hs2-invitation/8689622.article#.Vgvh1RFdHIW

Government invite for Chinese High Speed 2 bids 'bemusing' says construction industry

 

UK contractors have questioned the government’s apparent invitation for Chinese firms to bid for High Speed 2 civils work, labelling it a “political” move.

 

UK contractors have questioned the government’s apparent invitation for Chinese firms to bid for High Speed 2 civils work, labelling it a “political” move.

Chinese firms are thought to be unlikely to bid for the £11.8bn- worth of packages due to tight timescales, but may get involved with HS2 work at a later stage.

Chancellor George Osborne launched the procurement for HS2 civils contracts during his trade mission to China last week.

His comments were widely interpreted as suggesting Chinese contractors could be involved in the project.

He said: “We are truly entering a golden era of co-operation and it’s crucial that businesses and communities across the UK feel the full benefit of forging closer economic links with China.”

The suggestion that Chinese firms might bid for packages was greeted with surprise in the UK.

“Bemusement would be the right word,” said Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner.

“It would be difficult to enter the race at this point without a UK-based partner. We haven’t heard anything [about that] so I would say a bid would be unlikely.”

The deadline for the return of pre-qualification questionnaires is 18 November, leaving Chinese firms only 54 days from when the announcement was made to put forward a bid.

A source from one of the JVs bidding for HS2 work told Construction News: “This decision has to be political.

“It would not surprise me if a Chinese firm did want to bid but the question is: wouldn’t they need a UK partner?

“All the leading UK firms are already in the running, so I will let you make your mind up on that.”

However, an established JV could still add Chinese expertise, and the investment that comes with it, to its team as the procurement process goes on.

Mr Reisner added: “I would not rule out the possibility of some engagement between the leading HS2 consortia and their counterparts in China.”

Alongside the civils work announcement last week, HS2 told Construction News that procurement would begin for the station work in 2016 and rail systems in 2017.

It is here that Chinese firms are more likely to become involved. “I think further down the line Chinese firms could play a part [on] rolling stock, railway systems; it is a possibility,” he said.

Links between UK and Chinese firms could be fostered at the planned HS2 Partnering Day – a supplier event hosted by the government to encourage collaboration.

Association for Consultancy and Engineering chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin agreed that Chinese expertise could be used for rail systems work but would not rule out their involvement in civils work.

“I still think it is possible,” he said. “If you are keen, you don’t have to move staff from China; you can acquire a British company and that could definitely be your angle in.”

One contractor warned the government against going too far to attract overseas investment.

He told Construction News he hoped the government did not “move the goalposts” when it came to the procurement process.

He said that HS2 and the government had put a strict procurement process in place and he would be disappointed if the rules changed “to accommodate newcomers”.

An HS2 spokesman said: “Across the world there are countries that have had high-speed rail for decades. Europe has over 8,000 km and China has 10,000 km.

“We have about 100 km, so it is vital we give ourselves the chance to benefit from this experience and expertise.

“We have hosted a number of open events in the UK looking to engage positively with the supply chain here.

“These large contractors and consortia will energise the supply chain here and abroad, creating tens of thousands of UK jobs and knowledge transfer.”

Delicious Digg Facebook Fark MySpace
Views: 1022 views    Report Inappropriate Content
All Articles