Highways England chooses NEC4 for £7bn smart motorway projects

05/07/2019
Chris Ames

Highways England has announced it will use the NEC4 Alliance Contract (ALC) to procure £7bn worth of smart motorways projects over the next decade and support its planned six-partner delivery alliance.

The government-owned company’s Smart Motorways Programme aims to increase lane capacity on motorways, using technology and converting hard shoulders to all-lane running.

To develop, design and construct the smart motorway network, it will create a hybrid alliance with six partners, known as the Smart Motorways Programme Alliance.

A spokesperson for Highways England, said: ‘The majority of our contracts are based on NEC and, as a major user, the evolution of NEC3 to NEC4 made the transition straightforward – a model contract document that can be customised to reflect our needs.

'As such the Smart Motorways Programme Alliance will be based on the NEC4 Alliance Contract but with a bespoke work allocation process.’

Peter Higgins, NEC4 board chair, said: ‘Our contracts have already been used to great success on transport projects across the UK, and we’re confident that our Alliance contract can provide the framework Highways England needs to deliver this ambitious scheme of works.

‘The Smart Motorways Programme Alliance will be responsible for a vast amount of investment and jobs, and it is essential that all partners are committed to delivering best practice. Enabling all members and the client to have an equal voice and responsibility for the alliance’s performance will be a key factor in achieving a successful programme of work.’

While all NEC contracts are intended to promote collaboration, the Alliance Contract is seen as the next step in achieving a true alliance arrangement. A key component of the contract is that the client and all partners are engaged under a single agreement, sharing equal risk and reward.

The alliance’s production management and designs roles are valued at £350m each, while the total budget for the on-site assembly ‘lot’ is up to £5.95bn. Initial tenders were submitted in March 2019 and the winning bidders will be announced early next year.

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