London team finishes NGT project

Hammonds has comp-leted a £1.5bn contract for new construction, engineering and projects client National Grid Transco (NGT) after winning a competitive pitch.

The team, led by London construction head Rupert Cowen, spent 10 months designing four ‘alliance agreements’ for NGT. During those months Hammonds was appointed as one of NGT’s three general commercial advisers along with Eversheds and Pinsent Masons.

Alliance agreements allow a company to work in close collaboration with contractors. Through the Hammonds-designed contracts, NGT will work with Amec, Balfour Beatty, McNicholas, Morgan Est and Skanska on the replacement of gas mains across the country.

The projects are worth collectively £1.5bn for the eight years they are guaranteed to run. There is also the option for a five-year extension once the original contract is up.

Cowen explained that alliance agreements differ from normal tender agreements because the collaboratory nature of them means the company and the contractor share in the financial risk as well as skills and knowledge. He said that the benefits are particularly large in asset-hungry businesses such as water utilities.

Cowen added: “It was a good team effort between us and them – we were working as a proper team.”

The in-house lawyer managing the project at NGT was Maxine Symington. NGT’s project manager Peter Massey said the company is breaking new ground with its procurement strategy, and Hammonds’ proactive approach made the firm the best choice.