New guidelines to curb waste on infrastructure

A new approach to procuring and managing large infrastructure projects based on work by University of Leeds academics promises to cut wasteful spending.

The Infrastructure Procurement Routemap: a guide to improving delivery capability, published for consultation by the Treasury, is aimed at ensuring major infrastructure projects like the HS2 high speed rail network and Crossrail are delivered on time, within budget and to specification.

The Routemap provides a framework for assessing projects using tools developed in collaboration with industry and government by a team in the University of Leeds’ School of Civil Engineering.

It is designed to allow organisations with responsibilities for procuring and delivering infrastructure projects, including government departments and bodies like Network Rail and BAA, to assess whether they are capable of managing a complex infrastructure project and, if not, develop a robust enhancement plan to build it.

Lord Deighton, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “I welcome the publication of the Infrastructure Procurement Routemap. This important work provides the private and public sector with the tools to assess capability at delivering complex infrastructure projects. Our goal is to ensure that programmes are delivered efficiently and represent best value for money. This will also be reflected in my upcoming infrastructure delivery reviews.”

The launch of the Routemap forms part of the Government’s Cost Review programme, led by Infrastructure UK, which aims to improve delivery and make efficiency savings of at least 15 per cent by 2015.

The Engineering Project Academy at the University, led by Professor Denise Bower, initially worked with the Office of Government Commerce and the Cabinet Office and have been working closely with Infrastructure UK, a division of the Treasury responsible for infrastructure planning and support, on the Routemap since 2011.

Professor Bower said: “There is a history of wasted money on infrastructure procurement and delivery. People haven’t always had the right level of capability for the decisions that they are being asked to make and this has resulted in infrastructure projects that are late, over budget and not delivered to the required specification.

“The idea behind the Routemap is to improve the likelihood that the organisation handling the project has the right level of capability and that it can ensure the supply chain delivers what is needed on time and to budget. It encapsulates common sense approaches in a simple set of assessment tools that leads to an objective assessment of capability and complexity.

“This should mean that you improve value for money and can reinvest savings in more projects to stimulate more jobs and more growth. It also means that you have got certainty and confidence of outcomes so there is more likelihood that investors will spend on infrastructure in the UK.”

Professor Bower and Infrastructure UK have already applied the Routemap to Crossrail, the £14.8 billion new railway under construction in South East England. They found that Crossrail saved in excess of £1.1 billion, approximately seven per cent of the original budget using principles that are reflected in the Routemap. That figure did not include substantial savings that might have been made in aspects where Routemap principles were not followed.

The Leeds team is now directly engaged in applying the Routemap’s principles to some of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects. Professor Bower is currently advising, with Infrastructure UK, on the planned £35 billion HS2 high speed rail network and the Environment Agency’s Thames Estuary project.

The closing date for consultation on the draft guidelines is April 22, 2013.

Further information

Contact: Chris Bunting, Press Officer, University of Leeds; phone:+44 113 343 2049 or

Further details of the Infrastructure Procurement Routemap can be accessed on the Infrastructure UK Cost Review page.

For details of the Infrastructure Procurement Routemap consultation contact the Treasury. Non-media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Correspondence and Enquiry Unit on 0207 270 5000 or by email Media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Press Office on 0207 270 5238.