HS2 Ltd: Using standards to manage costs

Project: Using Standards to manage costs

Customer: HS2


With the aim to identify cost saving opportunities in infrastructure projects, HS2 ltd – which is developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network – launched its Efficiency Challenge Programme in 2013. The programme included a stream about the efficient application of standards, and HS2 commissioned BSI to research the standards landscape with industry input, addressing the efficiency of their application, and to make recommendations that would lead to significant cost savings.

To deliver this project, BSI engaged technical experts and ran exploratory workshops to identify areas where the greatest efficiency gains could be made. The expert groups also carried out a review of the portfolio of standards in the sector and located gaps in key areas, which lead to the review of three existing standards (BS 8002:1994, BS 8004:1986 and BS 8081:1989), and to the development of four new BSI PAS documents (PAS 8810:2016, PAS 8811:2017, PAS 8812:2016 and PAS 8820:2016).

Our project has given HS2 the potential for project capital cost savings, in four key areas:

  • The identification of standards gaps and the lack of clarity which leads to inconsistent interpretation
  • Improving the consistency in application and interpretation of standards along the supply chain.
  • The resulting streamlining of third-party compliance and approval processes
  • Addressing the conservative design culture which aims for ‘worst case plus’ solutions, and results in over specification

 The work with HS2 has demonstrated the potential value that can be gained by consultation with BSI at an early stage of any major project. We have the knowledge and means to identify the right standards, revise older standards that are still of value and create new ones. Moreover, the project led us to develop a methodology for interrogating the role and application of standards in large infrastructure schemes. This approach can now be reapplied to future projects that are in pursuit of cost and time savings, and Construction 2025 targets.