CPK: design, buy-ups, and construction. In the background, the purchasing machine

Dozens of large tenders and smaller procedures. Hundreds of bidders and contractors. Numerous contracts and framework agreements. Centralny Port Komunikacyjny performs contracts allowing the necessary studies and boreholes to be carried out while the design plans, specifications and feasibility studies are still being prepared, while the fieldwork is already underway.


The programme to buy up property for CPK, for which more than 1,250 owners have already signed up involving a total area of 3,500 hectares, is progressing so quickly that large-scale demolitions are already underway in the airport and railway junction. The company has brought in a contractor for a further dozen properties, and if we add the work completed, in progress and planned for the future for which there is already a contractor, this adds up to around 250 buildings on almost 70 properties.
Drilling geological boreholes have been carried out since last year and are going to include several hundred locations. There have already been over 30 removals financed by CPK for owners who have sold their properties for the needs of CPK, and more are being organised. At the same time, work on feasibility studies, designs and field surveys is well underway. Each of these tasks results from signed contracts and purchasing procedures.

“The scale of these tasks is possible thanks to the effective purchasing procedures and professional team. We are carrying out a huge investment task while maintaining a competitive environment under the requirements of public procurement law and following the guidelines of the European Commission,” says Marcin Jędrasik, PhD, Procurement Department Director at CPK. “Public procurement is the vehicle through which this strategic investment is implemented.”


Via Hong Kong and Doha to Warsaw

The most spectacular design task concerns the passenger terminal and the railway station integrated with it. CPK is in the process of receiving and agreeing on the conceptual plans. This is all the result of works under the contract signed in November 2022 with Foster+Partners and Buro Happold, a British consortium with experience in designing airports in Hong Kong and Doha. This entity is the master architect.

At the same time and in close coordination with the work of the master architect, the design is underway for the runways and taxiways, aprons, railway tunnels, airport systems, networks and connections, together with engineering facilities. This is the task of the master civil engineer, a role that was assigned to Dar Al-Handasah, a Lebanese-American company, in the tender.
This is by no means the end of the design puzzle. The Spanish company, IDOM, won a tender at the end of last year for the airport systems integration designer. This entity is responsible for implementing and integrating the airport’s communication systems and specialised networks, which is the airport’s nervous system in simple and figurative terms.

CPK has also signed two framework agreements with a total of 28 companies – including many Polish ones – for the design of the support facilities, such as the airport’s operations centre, buildings for rescue and firefighting services, as well as car parks, offices and hotels in the immediate vicinity of the airport. As part of this contract, a tender is underway for the design of an air traffic control tower which could be up to 105 metres tall. In comparison, the tallest tower in Poland today is located at Katowice airport, at 46 metres.



Now for the railway. A record-breaking contract

Consistently, CPK has also been step-by-step preparing the construction of the new High-Speed Railway lines. The routes have already been consulted and mapped already for a total of more than 600 km. The investment priority and most advanced investment is the 140 km section between Warsaw and Łódź, which should be available at the same time as the completion of the first stage of the airport (the other lines are planned in schedules in subsequent years).

It is for this priority section that the procedure for obtaining an environmental decision is well advanced. All the relevant design work is also underway. For implementation purposes, the Warsaw – Łódź section is divided into two parts. For the first of these (from Warsaw to the area behind the planned CPK junction), the documentation is being prepared by Biuro Projektów “Metroprojekt” and SUD Architekt Polska, while for the second (up to Łódź) is being prepared by the consortium of Egis Poland, Egis Rail and Jaf-Geotechnika. At the same time, an extension of this route is being designed for the section between Łódź and Wrocław. In this case, there are five contractors and work started a few months later.

There are so many CPK railway project tasks that the company commissions them under an eight-year framework agreement with 11 companies and consortia. This is currently the largest design work contract of its kind in Europe: its maximum total value is approximately PLN 7 billion net. The final amount depends on the number of bids submitted, so it may be lower.
When CPK selects the companies with which it signs framework agreements, the experience and qualifications of the experts are key criteria. Each task’s contractor is selected from among the qualified companies based on price.

Where did the idea for a framework agreement come from in the first place? This model of working with designers demands the contracting authority in the initial phase, but then benefits both parties. For the investor, the framework agreement greatly speeds up the process of selecting contractors by reducing the formal obstacles. In turn, for contractors qualified as proven companies with experience, facilities and capacity it represents a likely portfolio for orders in the long term. The interest of contractors in this type of tender is enormous.

“We are looking for flexibility in public procurement. The PPL Act indicates that framework agreements can be concluded for up to eight years, using objective principles and criteria specified in the contract documents. We have already signed 16 framework agreements, 6 more are in progress and even more are in the pipeline. A wide range of contractors are invited to contract: 8, 15, 20 and even 30. It is also important that the use of this mechanism does not limit the rights of contractors to legal remedies, i.e., possible appeals,” says Marcin Jędrasik.

Under the same formula, tenders are also underway for contractors to carry out preparatory construction work for the Warsaw-Łódź and Łódź-Wrocław railway sections: demolition and felling as well as geological and archaeological work. For these tasks, CPK is going to sign framework agreements with a total of 75 contractors. Similarly, contractors for construction preparation works are already selected for the airport area. The schedule assumes that the first stage of this investment is going to be operational in 2028.

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