MMC-Gamuda takes Kuala Lumpur MRT tunnels Mar 2012
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
The Swiss Challenge advantage was available to MMC-Gamuda but it was not required after all. The JV of Malaysia's two top construction companies has won construction of the underground section of Kuala Lumpur's new metro line on the strength of its competitive tender submitted in January along with four others.
The JV proposal scored highest in both its technical and commercial evaluation and award of contract for the 9.5km section of tunnelling and underground works on the 51km long starter line of the My Rapid Transit (MRT) metro system was announced yesterday (Tuesday 20 March, 2012).
Rival proposals were submitted from the Hyundai (Korea)-Gadang-Chengal Jaya JV; Taisei Corp (Japan); Sinohydro Group (China); and the China Railway Group. Two failed to score sufficiently on the technical evaluation, leaving their commercial proposal closed. Of the three commercial bids considered, MMC-Gamuda's tender price of MYR8.2 billion (about US$2.65 billion) was some 3.4% lower than the nearest of competing bids from Taisei and China Railway Group.
MRT Corp, the project's client organisation, announced the award of contract following the outcome of a One Stop Procurement Committee meeting chaired by Malaysia's Prime Minister, YAB Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak, in Parliament on Monday this week (19 March 2012).

Kuala Lumpur's MRT will run under the CBD from before the Mahameru Highway to beyond the Maluri Station

In a statement, MRT Corp. confirmed that the MMC-Gamuda JV was selected "based on the consortium's strengths in design, construction plant and tunnelling equipment, and tunnelling and station construction methodology, especially in the challenging karstic limestone formation. It is also selected on the basis of its construction plan and the resources it committed."
The statement added that MMC-Gamuda JV also stood out because of its past experience in handling underground works in the same ground conditions and for putting together the same team that handled its construction of the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) project in the mid-2000s. The consortium also "offered the most competitive price" to design and build the 9.5km of twin tube running tunnel alignment and its seven underground stations."

Full underground and elevated MRT alignment

In announcing award of the contract, the CEO of MRT, Dato' Azhar Abdul Hamid said: "the tunnelling contract is the single largest package of the MRT and accounts for up to 40% of the project's estimated total cost of approximately MR50 billion (about US$16 billion)". MMC-Gamuda held preferred contractor status for the underground works construction contract from the start. The Malaysian JV has the necessary experience for the tunnelling works involved and also retains financial investment and job creation possibilities within the country, which is something the national Government is keen to promote. The advantage was further endorsed when the so-called Swiss Challenge method of contract procurement was adopted. It gave the national consortium the opportunity to meet or better any more competitive bid received. In the event the JV won the central tunnelline contract outright, and did not need to exercise the Swiss Challenge right.
As original promoter of the new metro line, MMC-Gamuda JV is also appointed by Government as the Project Delivery Partner and chanrged with supervising all sections of the line and its M&E and rolling stock procurement, installation and commissioning, except for civil construction of the underground works. MMC-Gamuda, as underground works contractor and as PDP supervisor, will come into direct contact during installation of the M&E works through the underground sections. Works for the underground package will be supervised directly by MRT Corp.

Kuala Lumpur's MRT: Facts and figures

Ian Thoms, recently of the Gautrain project in Johannesburg, South Africa, is head of the PDP organisation for MMC-Gamuda and MRT Corp, under the technical leadership of Marcus Karakashian, recently of Singapore MRT, will supervise the MMC-Gamuda underground design-build construction contract. Gus Klados, who managed construction of the SMART tunnel for MMC-Gamuda, is Head of Underground Works for the new MRT project.
Within the design-build team, Mott MacDonald (which also worked as project designer on the SMART tunnel) is the JV's tunnel and underground stations engineer for half of the 9.5km alignment that includes the section through Kuala Lumpur's karstic limestone. AECOM is designer of the second half of the underground alignment, through clays and soft ground of the Kenny Hill Formation. As many as eight or 10 TBMs will be needed to complete the 9.5km of twin running tunnels within the construction programme of the project. Both EPBMs and slurry shields are being considered for operation through the different geological conditions.
Other parties involved in the project include the Government's Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), as the supervising agency, and RapidKL, a subsidiary of Prasarana which will operate the MRT system after its projected completion in 2016.
Also involved with the project is SNC-Lavalin (Malaysia), appointed as the Independent Checking Engineer (ICE) and led by Jeff Hewitt, recently of the Vancouver LRT Canada Line project, as well as Rab Brown and Gordon Crighton, who each have extensive experience in metro and rail engineering projects, including the Channel Tunnel.
As news of the underground contract award is released, confirmation of contract awards for the northern section of elevated guideways and stations is also anticipated. This follows the award in early January of the RM974 million Package V5 (running from the Maluri Portal to Plaza Phoenix Station) to IJM Construction, and of the RM764 million Package V6 for the viaduct guideway from Plaza Phoenix to Bandar Tun Hussein Onn Station, to Ahmad Zaki Sdn Bhd.

In December last year former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (top centre right) and Datuk Lin Yun Ling (top centre left), Managing Director of Gamuda, toured a new training facility

In total, as many as 130,000 jobs are expected to be generated by the project. To prepare a workforce for the specialised tunnelling and underground construction works contract, MMC-Gamuda established a training facility at the main Gamuda works compound in Kuala Lumpur, from where an expected 2,000 tunnel workers are to be trained over the coming two years.
Five in Kuala Lumpur MRT's Swiss Challenge - TunnelTalk, November 2011
Kuala Lumpur opens tunnel training academy - TunnelTalk, December 2011

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