“Jon provided impartial & constructive contractual and commercial advice for the benefit of the project, as opposed just the RPA, and helped us implement the contract more effectively and efficiently.”

Aidan Foley
NEC3 Project Manager

The Luas Cross City Project in Dublin

The Challenge

Impartial NEC3 contract and partnering adviser for the advanced utility works on the 5.6km Luas Cross City line extension to help deliver it on time and without dispute. 

Luas Cross City is the next phase of Dublin’s integrated light rail network. The proposed scheme will serve a 5.6km long corridor from the Luas Green Line at its current terminus (St. Stephen’s Green West) to the Iarnr√≥d √Čireann Broombridge Station on the Maynooth railway line. The route for the proposed scheme will serve a number of key destinations within Dublin city centre and beyond.

Running alongside this development is the construction of new utility infrastructure along the Luas Cross City alignment. These essential works were necessary to allow the diversion of existing utility services out of the path of the proposed Luas Cross City track - thus avoiding what happened in Edinburgh where the cost of their tramway multiplied by four times!

Since numerous utility companies cables and pipes were poorly mapped out and intermingled, the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) wanted to employ one contractor who was allowed by all these utilities to move their services. As a result, RPA implemented the Utility Works contract in the second half of 2013 and awarded the work to GMC Utilities Group. The form of contract was the NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract, Option C: target prices with activity schedule.

Towards the end of the 2013, Jon was appointed by the RPA to provide impartial commercial and contractual advice to the Project Team to avoid small issues becoming large disputes.

The Solution

Since the project was already awarded, Jon’s brief was to be an impartial adviser acting as a sounding board for both parties, the Contractor and Client, as and when contractual or commercial issues arose. This he did throughout the project.

In addition, to help foster a more productive and unified approach, Jon initially did some training. Following on from this, he held individual interviews to pro-actively identify and address underlying issues in operating the contract. Not all of the issues identified were to do with NEC, some were to-do with team dynamics and some effective project management. These were later explored in a workshop with the project team. Improvement actions were generated - predominantly by the team with Jon’s input - and subsequently implemented. 

The Result

Works began in late 2013 and were completed by the end of November 2015. Due to the nature of the works combined with the city centre environment nearly 3,000 compensation events were recorded. Despite this high number, the project progressed well both physically and in reaching commercial agreement. Relations between the parties were driven by a continued commitment to the cooperative and pro-active approach inherent in the NEC3 form of Contract with no differences becoming disputes and being escalated to adjusdication. The final account was agreed in early 2016 to both parties satisfaction.