Contract notice published for £1.15bn Birmingham PFI deal

A £1.15bn PFI contract notice for highways services in Birmingham has been published, launching one of the largest procurement races in local government roads. 

Interested bidders have until 22 March to hand in tenders or requests to participate.

The deal covers the 'rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of the highways network infrastructure' in Birmingham and runs until June 2035.

Contractors including Balfour Beatty Carnell, Colas, Kier and Tarmac and consultants Arup and Arcadis are understood to be interested in bidding for the work.

The restructuring of the city's PFI deal follows the collapse of the previous 25-year, £2.7bn highways management and maintenance contract with Amey, which was signed in 2010 and ended in a legal dispute.

The former contract was terminated in March 2020 with Amey paying £215m to terminate its involvement and Kier stepping in as an interim contractor

Since then, Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Highways Limited (BHL) – the special purpose vehicle owned by Equitix and PIP Infrastructure Investments – have been working to restructure the contract.

BHL is the procurement body arranging the new PFI deal, which covers a wide range of work, including:

  • Surveys and inspections to ascertain the extent, inventory and condition of the relevant assets
  • Programmed maintenance, predominantly to surfacing (carriageway, footway, verges, kerbs and cycle tracks) and also some street lighting, traffic signal replacements and work upon highway structures.
  • Reactive maintenance to respond to urgent requirements to make the highway safe
  • Winter maintenance to ensure that the highway is safe when winter conditions are anticipated or arise (e.g. gritting designated routes).
  • Routine maintenance to periodically and pre-emptively maintain assets in an acceptable condition
  • Network management - managing activity on the highway network (e.g. issue of permits and licences under the Highways Act 1980 and New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, and managing and inspecting utility works).
  • Urban Traffic Control (UTC) management and operation.

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