Subject: Re: Tram track installation costings
The cost of LRT Schemes is very subjective. The cost data available (limited because of the procurement and operating models of many LRT schemes ensures that much of the data is kept confidential) varies hugely. As an example, do publicly presented costs include utility diversions, how many structures are included along the given route, to what extent have the planners left the scheme as a pure tram scheme and not seized upon the golden egg opportunity to refurbish and update the shop front to shop front urban realm / streetscape and included these as project costs, etc etc.
Likewise, what is the engineering view of a given project, have the engineers been happy to allow a shallow construction depth and therefore provide a cheaper scheme, or have they had instructions from their board to minimise any risk to the company and therefore doubled the depth of foundations as mitigation.
In addition something that may not be considered is the procurement method, does an alliance type procurement discourage efficient utilisation rates, does the fact that the constructor does not have to worry about maintenance in 20 year’s time also have a bearing upon the quality of construction and subsequent project cost.
In short, when I wrote the Little Black Book for Light Rail costs when I worked at Motts, much of the data came from ‘bottom up’ estimating and some sanitised cost data that was available. I am working with UKTram at present to update this cost data and publication top aid the sector as a whole, but since 2012 costs have certainly increased and not just by inflation, and also data that can be trusted is much harder to come by.
I would be very reluctant to provide costs without knowing the following information as a minimum: –
- Where is the project?
- How much of the project is On street and Off street?
- How much single track and double track?
- How many structures are there on the route and how old are they?
- What is happening to utilities?
- How is the project financed?
- How is the project powered?
- What vehicles are envisaged and how many?
- Where are the vehicles stored and maintained?
- Who owns the land for the route and depot?
- Do TWAO powers exist?
The range for construction outputs in the UK at present would appear to be circa £20m to £30m per route kilometre.