Robert Gerrard, NEC Users’ group secretary, and Phil Bennett, Network Rail’s finance and commercial director for Infrastructure Projects (Southern), discuss their partnership’s NEC journey so far.
In 2014, Network Rail’s decision to award four five-year bespoke framework contracts based on the NEC3 form of contract
demonstrated a landmark moment in infrastructure project management. The contracts were awarded to four multifunctional framework contractors, representing a total throughput of £1.2bn and covering a portfolio of more than 500 projects across south-east England.
Part of a trial designed to explore the benefits of collaborative working, the four contracts will see the refurbishment, renewal and enhancement of Network Rail’s civil engineering and building assets, as well as multi-disciplinary pieces of activity which include tracks and signalling. Each framework is expected to turn over approximately £50-60m per year.
With the NEC suite of contracts established on the principle of inspiring and encouraging best practice in project management within a partnering environment, it seems this founding message has certainly resonated with Network Rail and many leading infrastructure organisations.
Such is the success of the collaboration in sending a clear message that Network Rail is changing the way it manages its supply community from a contractual perspective, and improving its transparent risk allocation, two people on either side of the collaboration sat down to discuss it.