Crossrail chief: ‘We will move the industry forward’

This article was taken from the Construction News Plus website and can be accessed in fully by visiting their website

Almost four years after he challenged the industry to improve through his Never Waste a Good Crisis report, Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme is showing he is not afraid to lay down the law to suppliers.

At the helm of Europe’s largest construction project, Mr Wolstenholme has an enormous challenge trying to keep the project on time, on budget and, in many respects, out of the headlines.

He said back in 2009 that the current economic crisis was “the perfect opportunity for us to restart the process and create a built environment sector this country deserves”, and it is clear he is determined to leave the industry in a better place through Crossrail.

The project has suffered setbacks in the past year, be it from tunnelling being halted unexpectedly, problems transporting spoil at Westbourne Park or allegations of blacklisting. But it has kept moving.

A total of £5.5 billion in work has now been procured and five tunnel boring machines are worming their way through the ground beneath the feet of one of the world’s largest cities.

Image conscious

But rather than simply trying to avoid cracks appearing in the £14.8bn programme, Crossrail and its chief executive are hoping to make this project radically alter perceptions of an industry often viewed as being decades behind the best in the world.

“Crossrail is a size and scale that is getting everybody to look,” he says. “We have enquiries coming in from the Middle East, from north America and Europe. They all want something different.

“Some say ‘how do you procure your programme partner, how do you set up the governance to spend £10bn or £15bn on a programme like Crossrail?’.

“This is a good news story for London, it’s a good news story for UK plc and it doesn’t matter where you sit in Britain. If you want a footprint that doesn’t just look after London and the South-east, that doesn’t just look after first-tier suppliers, then look at what we are doing.”

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