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One of the main aspects of being a successful engineering contractor is finding the right projects on which to work. Maximising your income relies partly on you taking on jobs that require someone with your specific skills, enabling you to potentially charge more due to being a better fit than other options.

There are a range of large engineering projects set to be worked on in 2018, many of which will need to take on more and more contractors throughout their runtime as they approach different stages. Here are our picks for the top schemes that engineering contractors should pay attention to in 2018:


It might seem like an obvious one to start with, but HS2 is one of the most ambitious and extensive engineering projects the UK has undertaken for some time. After taking a series of important leaps forward in 2017, construction of the high-speed railway is set to really ramp up this year.

For example, the £3 billion contracts for HS2’s London stations have already shortlisted bidders, and this element alone is expected to require 4,000 contractors, either temporary or permanent. Freelancers based in the capital, or those willing to travel, should pay close attention, especially in the autumn when these contracts are awarded.

The TransPennine route upgrade

Serious work is being undertaken on the railways between Manchester Victoria and York/Selby, which is a great opportunity for engineers in the north of England. The route is already a busy one, and it’s estimated that its use will double within 20 years, hence the ambitious project.

Upgrading the railways will involve working on 76 miles of track, which includes eight tunnels, 13 viaducts and 25 stations. Leeds Station will undergo significant improvements to increase its capacity, while the lines around Garforth and Mickleford are to be enhanced to allow for faster rail travel. This project will require a number of key skills from its workforce including rail engineers, technicians, civil engineers, planning engineers, estimators and project managers.

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

Contractors in Wales will likely already be aware of this major project, even though work has not yet started. Consisting of a 9.5km breakwater wall fitted with 16 hydro turbines, the power plant will be the first of its kind in the world. The force of the tides going in and out will be able to generate enough electricity to power 155,000 homes for the next 120 years.

It’s thought that more than 2,200 jobs will be supported by this project, with on-site construction beginning this year. The majority of its £1.3 billion budget is to be spent on material and personnel from the UK, so there will be plenty of opportunities for contractors throughout its four-year running period.

M4 relief road

One of the biggest road infrastructure projects the UK has to offer in 2018 is the relief road being constructed around Newport. The project was first proposed around 25 years ago, but it has finally been kicked off due to increased urgency being given to the issue of congestion around the Brynglas tunnels by the Welsh Government, which does not consider the current M4 around Newport fit for purpose.

The project will involve the construction of 15 miles of roads, including a 146m-high, six-lane bridge over the River Usk. Expected to cost £1.3 billion, it will also involve several upgrades to Newport’s docks, including the building of several new structures.

Hinkley Point C

As controversial as it is, the construction of the first new nuclear power station in the UK for 20 years is a great opportunity for engineering contractors. Construction started in 2016, but the project is anticipated to create an additional 2,000 jobs this year, out of a total of 25,000 across its lifespan. Including construction engineers, quantity surveyors, environmental engineers, welders, electrical engineers and project managers.

It’s expected that construction will be ongoing until 2026, so it is a good idea to get in during this relatively early stage in order to receive regular work. It is one of the most ambitious projects the UK has seen for some time, so it’s a good one to get involved in.

If you have the skills for any pf the above projects but haven’t considered contracting contact Brookson and find out how we can help.

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