We are encouraging contractors, suppliers and stakeholders to propose changes to our standards.
Standards are the detailed requirements that underpin how the railway and the delivery of improvement projects are run. The changes are to encourage greater innovation, cost efficiency and third party funding into the rail network, whilst maintaining safety.
We have already updated and streamlined 400 of these standards to reduce both complexity and cost, and to encourage innovation. Suppliers and other stakeholders can proactively suggest better ways of maintaining and enhancing the railway via our new standards challenge process.
Standards exist to ensure Britain has a safe, high performing and cost efficient railway, but they are often seen as overly complex and adding unnecessary cost. Our response to the Hansford Review identified a number of opportunities to address this by encouraging suppliers and other stakeholders to proactively challenge standards to increase innovation and creativity, and propose more cost effective solutions.
We've adopted a collaborative and iterative approach in developing the new standards challenge process in partnership with the Railway Industry Association (RIA) and a number of key suppliers and stakeholders.
As part of the process, suppliers and other stakeholders can now submit a standards challenge application when they consider the standard to be incorrect, not enable the application of best practice, or drive increased cost without comparable benefit. We will review all challenges received, and conduct a rigorous impact assessment across a broad range of output capabilities such as safety, performance, environment and compatibility to make sure the capabilities are not compromised.
Following the launch of the process, we are progressively introducing a series of incentives to encourage challenges. These include:
- Providing our corporate recognition of successful applications through jointly authored and promoted case studies
- Introducing a future category for standards challenge and innovation in industry awards
- Seeking suppliers to identify potential standards that could be challenged within tender returns
- Assessing ongoing contract performance in relation to standards challenge and innovation
- Enabling suppliers and other parties to introduce innovative approaches/products to the industry following a successful application
- In certain scenarios sharing a proportion of the identified savings realised arising from a successful standards challenge in design and construction projects
As the scope covers Network Rail’s whole portfolio of policies, standards, processes and specifications, including initiating dialogue with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) in relation to Railway Group and Industry Standards, there’s excitement to see what limitations can unanimously be removed and the opportunities that will be enabled through successful challenges.
We’ve recently updated our 400 most critical standards but to ensure they always represent current best practice and constantly strive to safely reduce the cost of the railway, we need the help of our wider industry partners as well as experts from other industries and universities. The launch of the standards challenge process is the lever for this, providing genuine recognition and incentives to propose more efficient ways of both enhancing and maintaining our railway.Jon Shaw, chief engineer at Network Rail
Challenges received so far
As of July 2019, we’ve received 63 challenges where contractors, suppliers and other stakeholders tell us they can improve current best practice, and safely reduce the cost of running the railway. In addition to the 400 most critical standards we’ve updated already, we’ve opened ourselves up for other standards to be challenged if better ways of maintaining and enhancing the railway can be suggested. So far, the challenges received relate to buildings & civils (22), track (13), electrical power (13), quality, safety, health & environment (4), projects (4), Network Rail assurance panel (2), signalling electrical power (2), signalling (1), plant (1) and information management (1). You can download a more technical and detailed list of the standards challenged to date from our downloads for third parties page.
We are reviewing all challenges received, and will conduct a rigorous impact assessment to make sure safety, performance, compatibility and the environment are not compromised. Of the challenges received to date, 19 have resulted in agreement be reached with the standard owner to modify the standard, and a number of the other challenges are currently being evaluated.
An example challenge: British Steel
British Steel has challenged some designs of our overhead line masts. They believe our current design standards mean some masts are fabrication intensive, use higher cost products and require structural steel not currently produced or stocked in the UK.
We’re evaluating and progressing their challenge through a series of collaborative workshops. The potential benefits their challenge proposes include:
- UK economic boost, helping increase our UK-sourced steel to over 97 per cent
- Locally sourced materials, reduced lead time, reduced carbon footprint
- Lower manufacturing cost
- Lower material cost
- Lower transportation cost
- Potential for up to 50 per cent cost saving for certain designs
Our rail and construction teams have formed a close working relationship with Network Rail, who’ve an excellent record of supporting UK manufacturing. By working in partnership, and accepting challenges like this, we hope to make it easier for Network Rail to source more high quality, cost effective products manufactured in the UK.John Austin, account manager, British Steel
List of challenges to standards received
|Applicant||Date Received||Subject||Area||Summary of challenge|
|TSP Projects||07 December 2017||Modular Steel Platforms||Buildings & Civils||Clarification concerning the current prescribed design life of platforms and minimum steel galvanising levels.
|British Steel||13 November 2017||OLE Mast Design||Electrical Power||Potential for simplification of fabricated overhead line masts.
|Network Rail||10 April 2018||Planning & Managing Construction Work||Quality, Safety, Health & Environment||Potential for contractor's Construction Phase Plans to be referenced to the Network Rail template sections.|
|SNC-Lavalin||17 April 2018||Track Design Handbook Module 07 Gauging||Track||Several sections of the Track Design Handbook reference requirements for other disciplines. Potential for simplification.|
|SNC-Lavalin||17 April 2018||Track Design Handbook System Interfaces – Electrical Clearances||Track||Several sections of the Track Design Handbook reference requirements for other disciplines. Potential for simplification.|
|SNC-Lavalin||12 April 2018||Track Design Handbook System Interfaces – Conductor Rail||Track||Several sections of the Track Design Handbook reference requirements for other disciplines. Potential for simplification.|
|SNC-Lavalin||12 April 2018||Track Design Handbook System Interfaces – Platforms||Track|
|SNC-Lavalin||12 April 2018||Track Design Handbook System Interfaces – Level Crossings||Track|
|Kwik-Step Ltd||13 April 2018||Lineside Access Steps||Buildings & Civils||Design requirements for lineside access steps.|
|Network Rail||13 April 2018||NR/L2/RSE/100/Guide||Network Rail Assurance Panel||Request for document to be withdrawn as it is out of date.|
|Network Rail||17 April 2018||Requirements Framework||Projects||Clarification concerning who is accountable for the RRD.|
|Kwik-Step Ltd||16 April 2018||Electrical Clearances||Electrical Power||Providing improved clarity in relation to electrical clearance distances.
|Kwik-Step Ltd||13 April 2018||Positions of Safety||Quality, Safety, Health & Environment||Providing improved clarity in relation to positions of safety.
|Network Rail||08 June 2018||Train borne monitoring of traction power contact systems.||Electrical Power||Clarification in relation to a number of requirements in relation to train borne monitoring of traction power contact systems.|
|Grand Central||19 June 2018||Wheel Impact Load Detection||Track||Controls applied to trains following measurement of forces at Wheel Impact Load Detection (WILD) sites.
|Amey||22 June 2018||DNO test points||Quality, Safety, Health & Environment||Providing test points for DNO supply cubicles.|
|Amey||26 June 2018||Points Heating Equipment||Electrical Power||Using lower power points heating strips nearer the switch toe.|
|J Murphy & Sons||04 July 2018||Line Speed following drainage works||Track||Proposal for a more cost-effective regime for track stabilisation following installation of drainage.
|Amey||04 July 2018||Track Affected Zone||Track||Proposal to change the influence angle for the track affected zone.|
|Atkins||05 July 2018||Buffer Locking||Track||Update to calculations to include vehicles without buffers, autocoupler limits and lateral movement of through-corridor trains.|
|Rail Asset Development Ltd||06 July 2018||Monitoring track during building works||Buildings & Civils||Improving clarity of requirements for monitoring of track in various situations.|
|Amey Sersa||11 July 2018||Stretcher Bar settings||Track||Improving clarity of installation and maintenance instructions for new stretcher bars at switches and crossings.
|Amey||13 July 2018||Earth electrode/mat connections||Signalling|
|Clarification of requirements for connecting earth electrode/mats.|
|Network Rail||26 July 2018||Bridge Strengthening||Buildings & Civils||Minimum train live loading values applied to bridge strengthening schemes.
|Siemens Rail||07 August 2018||Non-application of Design for Reliability standard to signalling fibre interface||Network Rail Assurance Panel||Potential for non-application of requirements for certain commercial off-the-shelf components|
|Network Rail||09 August 2018||Clarity around Authority to Work roles.||Projects||Clarification concerning authority of certain roles.|
|Network Rail||06 September 2018||Engineering Assurance Requirements||Electrical Power||NR/L2/INI/CP0069 listed in the references but document has been withdrawn. Change PRS to RRD/DRRD.|
|Mott MacDonald||09 October 2018||Wind Loading on OLE structures||Buildings & Civils||Alignment of wind loading equations to BS EN 50119.|
|Amey||09 October 2018||Points Heating Equipment||Electrical Power||Proposed changes to the arrangement drawings for electric points heating equipment.|
|Amey||31 October 2018||Points Heating Equipment||Electrical Power||Transformer terminal arrangements for supplying point strip heaters.|
|TSP Projects||12 November 2018||Platform Crossfall||Buildings & Civils||Ability to construct platforms that achieve the specified crossfall gradient limits.|
|Amey||21 January 2019||Document Revision Strategy||Projects||Difference between the revision strategy specifiied in the standard and the way ProjectWise is configured.|
|Power Supply Projects||30 January 2019||Cable Testing Voltages||Electrical Power||Clarifiction regarding specified testing voltages for single core cable used on 25 kV a.c. systems.|
|VolkerRail||15 February 2019||Document Format||Signalling||Readability of text in subject index.|
|J Murphy & Sons||21 February 2019||Boreholes||Buildings & Civils||Use of a single borehole to confirm ground conditions for under-track crossing (UTX).|
|Hochtief||29 March 2019||Operational Property Drainage||Buildings & Civils||Standard currently does not include operational property drainage systems.|
|Hochtief||01 April 2019||Undertrack Crossings||Buildings & Civils||Minimum depths could use a risk-based approach and rational could be provided as to the reason for the requirement for minimum depths.|
|Hochtief||01 April 2019||Monitoring track during building works||Buildings & Civils||Duration of monitoring baseline and adopting a risk-based approach.|
|Hochtief||02 April 2019||Platform Copings||Buildings & Civils||Safe manual handling / lifting of coping stones, and loading requirements.|
|VolkerRail||16 April 2019||Task Briefing Sheets||Quality, Safety, Health & Environment||Format of Task Briefing Sheet.|
|BAM Nuttall||25 April 2019||Handback linespeed following track replacement||Track||Handing back the track at line speed following infrastructure works to replace the track.|
|25 April 2019||Bridge Filler Beams||Buildings & Civils||Allowance for longitudinal shear resistance offered by metal components protruding into concrete.|
|J Murphy & Sons||25 April 2019||Batterry Specification Requirements||Electrical Power||Alternative approach to performance calculation of battery life with photovoltaic system.|
|J Murphy & Sons||25 April 2019||Undertrack Crossings||Buildings & Civils||Proposed performance specification instead of minimum depth of cover.|
|Osborne||25 April 2019||Alternative Back-up Power Supplies||Electrical Power||Include Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) & Battery back-up supplies to signalling Principal Supply Points and Relocatable Equipment Buildings.|
|Skanska UK||25 April 2019||Functionality in Design||Buildings & Civils||Integrated design approach using Functionality in Design.|
|Skanska UK||25 April 2019||Design Methodology of Geotechnical Structures||Buildings & Civils||Alternative design and calculation methods for geotechnical structures.|
|Arup||10 April 2019||Recess beneath Platform Edge||Buildings & Civils||Standard design dimensions do provide a TSI compliant recess.|
|Amey||29 April 2019||Working on or near Signalling Power Distribution equipment||Signalling|
|Type of equipment covered by the ‘test before touch' procedure.|
|Amey||29 April 2019||Points Heating Equipment||Electrical Power||Securing of Point Heating Strips|
|Kier Professional Services||22 May 2019||Requirements for Footbridges||Buildings & Civils||Inconsistencies between NR/L3/CIV/020, the standard footbridge design described in NR/CIV/TUM/400 and associated drawings, and DfT standard ‘Design Standards for Accessible Railway Stations'.|
|Hochtief||03 June 2019||Requirements for Clay Bricks||Buildings & Civils||BS 3921 has been withdrawn hence brick is no longer certified to this standard|
|Hochtief||04 June 2019||Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations||Buildings & Civils||Duties required by the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999.|
|Hochtief||04 June 2019||Engineering Assurance Requirements||Track||Engineering Assurance Arrangements for Track Engineering Projects outputs|
|Balfour Beatty||07 June 2019||Warning sign dimensions for substations||Electrical Power||Warning sign dimensions for substations|
|AECOM||11-Jun-19||DC circuit breaker protection settings||Electrical Power||Improved guidance for calculation of protection settings for DC circuit breakers|
|Hochtief||13 May 2019||H&S File Memorandum of Agreement and Deliverable Document Matrix||Information Management||Combine two forms into one.|
|Hochtief||13 May 2019||CRE Competence Requirements||Projects||CRE competence requirements for off-site fabrication / quality assurance.|
|Hochtief||13 May 2019||Requirements for doweling platform coping stones||Buildings & Civils||Clarity on the requirements for doweling coping stones and provison of method for protecting worker from falls from height / moving trains whist working on platforms.|
|Hochtief||01 May 2019||Design check categories for platform piling||Buildings & Civils|
|Clarification on category of design checks for plaform piling.|
|Arcadis UK||17 June 2019||Use of centralisers when soil nailing||Buildings & Civils||Proposal to not use centralisers when using self-drilling soil nails.|
How to submit a challenge
We are encouraging contractors, suppliers and other stakeholders to proactively suggest better ways of maintaining and enhancing the railway via our standards challenge process. You can submit a challenge to any of our standards by reading the guidance for completing the standards challenge application and completing a standards challenge form found on our downloads for third parties page. If after reading the catalogue of Network Rail standards you'd like to make a challenge, you can request a copy of the standard by emailing the standards management team: email@example.com