New opportunities for contractors in Highways England’s RIP

Industry reports reveal that as it reaches its budget limits (estimated to happen by December 2018) Highways England’s Collaborative Delivery Framework (CDF) will be scrapped. The programme which was launched in 2014 with the objective of managing contracts relating to road maintenance and enhancements on roads in the UK, will then be replaced with the new Regional Investment Programme (RIP).

New partners and 4 year contracts

The RIP may see as many as 12 new delivery partners appointed to carry out work on road infrastructure across six different regions. Contracts will last for a period of 4 years with the possibility of extending them for a further 4 years based on performance.

The tenders will be open for joint ventures and individual companies to take on one of two Delivery Integration Partner (DIP) roles in each of the six regions. Once procured, the DIP’s will be supported by two technical advisors in each region who will co-ordinate the development and design of each project.

This new development comes as part of Highways England’s alliance model for its smart motorways model. The objective is to build a national alliance of contractors who will be able to deliver on a variety of motorway enhancements. However, the RIP excludes major projects such as the upgrade of the Lower Thames Crossing and maintenance of the A303 Tunnel.

Projects attract major role players

This new procurement model is still in the early stages of development, however, Highways England spokesperson is positive that suppliers will be able to play an active role in helping to deliver efficient and effective work and optimize project savings.

Some of the major industry role players eying the new contracts are said to include McAlpine, an established British civils firm, as well as Spanish construction giant, Acciona. McAlpine has already completed Highways England’s Strategic Alignment Review Tool process. (A requirement for contractors wanting to work with Highways England’s road enhancement or maintenance projects.)

How the projects are to be financed is still up for debate, with Treasury possibly taking private funding models into consideration. While at this stage no firm decisions have been made on the final procurement and financing plans, Highway’s England has been hosting a number of webinars and engaging with industry role players. They are confident that their procurement solution is progressing well and are positive that it will provide beneficial future partnerships.