As Europe's largest construction project, Crossrail is one of the most complex programmes ever undertaken in the UK. When complete it will increase London's rail capacity by ten percent with ten new stations and 42km of track. We have worked with Crossrail since 2009 as part of the part of the Transcend joint venture (JV), appointed by Crossrail Limited as Programme Partner to provide integrated Programme Management Services. Find out below about how we have supported it through each stage of development and how the programme will leave a lasting positive legacy on the industry.

  • £14.8bn funding with a peak monthly spend of £140m
  • 118.5km railway system
  • 1.5 million people brought within a 45 minute commute of central London

1. Set up

Crossrail Act given Royal Assent - project set up

The Crossrail Bill was deposited in February 2005 and given Royal Assent in July 2008.  The Act gives deemed planning permission and the powers for the railway to be built, operated and maintained. Promoting the Crossrail Bill through Parliament involved work to develop the scheme to an appropriate level; consultation with all those with an interest in the project and its impacts; production of a wide range of Bill documents; and work with petitioners to address their concerns.

How we helped:

  • In response to the government’s 2010 Comprehensive Spending review we led an integrated value management process that has resulted in the identification of programme savings totalling £1bn
  • Developed Crossrail’s programme procurement strategy including the demonstration of how capacity will be secured, risk transfer and methods of partnering will be utilised
  • Supported the tender evaluation team in successfully awarding all of the main tunnelling contracts and the first of the major station contracts
  • Created a robust programme wide estimating methodology and processes
  • Played a key role in helping to demonstrate to Sponsors (DfT and TfL) that Crossrail is an affordable programme resulting in the issue of a Positive Project Review Notice (PPRN) for Review Point 4 (RP4) meaning that the Crossrail Board had full delegated authority to deliver the programme in accordance with the Delivery Strategy
  • Developed the initial control baseline, aligning scope, cost, schedule and risk; a crucial element in achieving full funding approval
  • Played a key role in developing the organisational design and governance arrangements
  • Developed the work breakdown structure

2. Control

Setting up programme controls

Turner & Townsend working as part of the Programme Partner played a key role in establishing Crossrail’s Programme Controls set-up. At the outset, the aim was to develop a world-class controls function which, through robust reporting and sound programme management protocols, would support the Crossrail programme to deliver the works safely and to time, specification and cost. The Controls function was built on four key principles. These were to:

  1. Set the standards: Provide the definition of processes and procedures to be adhered to throughout the programme;
  2. Provide integrated information: Provide decision makers and members of the Executive, the Board and the Sponsors with reliable and timely information on the current and projected status of the programme;
  3. Bring foresight and advice: Provide programme level analysis and insight based on interpreting project level data; and
  4. Provide assurance: Support the management and control of the delivery costs, schedule and performance objectives for the whole programme to minimise risk of failure.

How we helped:

  • Established and cascaded programme wide cost control procedures to all Industry Partners, enabling cost control, predictability and remedial action planning
  • Assessed whole life costs and developed an asset replacement/enhancement model, facilitating effective decision making
  • Specified and procured the programme controls toolkit, which included the implementation of PRISM G2 cost management software
  • Worked with partners to develop and implement the data warehouse to provide the ‘single source of truth’
  • Supported the development of the Programme wide change control process and reporting, resulting in quality reporting and control
  • Led Programme-wide value management, engendering a behavioural mind-set focussed on continuous improvement
  • Developed Contract Administration systems, tools and procedures, including contract administration manuals
  • Designed and implemented standardised reporting dashboard formats
  • Established and implemented commercial assurance and cost audit processes.

“Turner & Townsend have provided services to me off and on for over 20 years, mostly in previous roles with major client organisations.  They have provided programme controls services and expertise on Crossrail since April 2009.  The services provided include cost management, estimating, value management, programme controls including reporting functions and NEC contract management.

At the beginning of 2011 they were fundamental to our business transformation programme, reviewing how we could more effectively control the programme and integrate our partner organisations to develop a truly integrated team approach to delivery.

Turner & Townsend provided a sound knowledge base and brought in expertise from other sectors and best practice clients to optimise how we would do things in the future. Their role was pivotal to providing our current procedures and approach to programme controls on Crossrail.  They have provided quality, experienced players to my team and, together with their leadership team, display a can-do, proactive and supportive attitude."

Steve Elliott, Programme Controls Director, Crossrail

3. Delivery

Building a cost-led culture

As Programme Partner, Transcend provides strategic programme management to Crossrail. This enables the safe delivery of the overall programme and will ensure that the project is completed to time, to the desired standard and within budget. Working through Transcend Turner & Townsend has been instrumental in developing a cost-led culture in order to improve cost predictability and cost certainty.

How we helped:

  • Maintained the cost management system and provided assurance on cost data integrity
  • Pro-actively identified commercial risk through our commercial assurance process, leading to a risk-based
  • Developed a performance assurance function to measure and drive improvement of the Tier 1 suppliers’ performance in areas including health and safety, commercial, quality, community relations, social sustainability and environmental, which resulted in a 48% increase in supply chain performance
  • Provided targeted resources in key project delivery roles to drive performance improvements, including project cost and commercial leads, cost engineers, contract administrators, project managers and area cost managers.
  • Provided senior resources into key programme leadership roles, including the Head of Cost Management, Head of Commercial Assurance, Head of Performance Assurance and the Head of Contract Administration

“Turner & Townsend have provided important leadership in establishing the cost management, commercial and procurement processes and procedures that will enable us to monitor and control Crossrail. The high quality Turner & Townsend resources that have been deployed and integrated across our team have been invaluable during Crossrail's evolution to become an effective, delivery-focused organisation.   Turner & Townsend's staff have consistently demonstrated high standards of team play and their leadership team has gone out of its way to offer practical, insightful advice on the basis of experience in other industries and with other clients."

David Allen, Finance Director, Crossrail

4. Completion and legacy

Crossrail goes live

When all services are running in 2019 Crossrail will increase London's rail capacity by ten percent and improve journey times for 57,000 households across the capital. But the programme's impact will also have a huge positive impact on the infrastructure sector for years to come. We have been actively involved in sharing the lessons learned from the Programme with the wider industry through knowledge shares with other clients, and through supporting Crossrail’s Learning Legacy Programme.

How we helped:

  • Set-up a commercial close-out performance management regime
  • Supported Crossrail’s senior leadership team in agreeing supplemental agreements and final accountsThe Crossrail Bill was deposited in February 2005 and given Royal Assent in July 2008.  The Act gives deemed planning permission and the powers for the railway to be built, operated and maintained. Promoting the Crossrail Bill through Parliament involved work to develop the scheme to an appropriate level; consultation with all those with an interest in the project and its impacts; production of a wide range of Bill documents; and work with petitioners to address their concerns. 
  • Joined Crossrail’s Learning Legacy Steering Group, assisting in the set-up and implementation of Crossrail’s Learning Legacy website
  • Project managed the completion of learning legacy content associated with Programme Controls
  • Developed specific content for the Learning Legacy website, including estimating, gaining full funding approval, earned value, cost management, commercial assurance and performance assurance
  • Presented a series of webinars in conjunction with industry partners to aid the dissemination of lessons learned
  • Several of our staff are Crossrail Learning Legacy Ambassadors.

Find out more on the Crossrail Learning Legacies website.

Learning Legacy

Learning Legacy is the collation and dissemination of good practice, lessons learned and innovation from the Crossrail construction programme aimed at raising the bar in industry and showcasing UK PLC. Find out more on the Crossrail Learning Legacy website.

Across every sector and service we work in Turner & Townsend strive to deliver best practice. Our aim is extending the positive legacy of our clients by advancing the standards of the assets they create, supporting safe and efficient construction, and protecting resources for future generations. We continue to support the Learning Legacy programme to ensure Europe's largest ongoing construction programme leaves a positive lasting legacy on the industry in the UK and beyond.


We contributed to a series of Learning Legacy events in conjunction with Crossrail’s Learning Legacy partners. The first of these events, including webinars, conferences and seminars, commenced in March 2016, and they are available to watch below. For more information or to find out other events that are running please visit the Crossrail Learning Legacy website.

For further information contact:

Julian Bartlett

t: +44 (0)207 544 4000