Midland Metro Alliance

Set to deliver £1.2billion of investment in several new tramlines for the Greater Birmingham area, Pell Frischmann has instigated the replacement of a conventional client/supplier model.

In July 2016, what was formerly the client - West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and formerly the supplier (Pell Frischmann and our partners), became the Midland Metro Alliance.

Working from shared offices in Birmingham, we all share the overall management, risk, and rewards, of this major expansion of a regional metro system.  The teams deployed to the project by each company have combined security, IT, and reporting systems within the MMA, as one would expect.

Why this matters

Thanks to each partner managing the programme as a collaborative board, a remarkable level of transparency and cross-company interaction has emerged very quickly, facilitating rapid deployment of technical specialists at even early stages of each new phase of development.

Similarly, by having staff working together within a combined organisation, we have seen personal relationships establish themselves quickly, opening each alliance member up to the technical experiences and innovations of others.

This has allowed a sharing of ideas that are already seeing new designs and routes plotted in a fashion that enhances the value of the final outcome by reducing cost, mitigating complications, increasing likely long-term use of the service, and improving development times.

Stuart Cox, Regional Director, explained: “It has taken real innovation in how we approach this project, and genuine honesty from all partners about what will and won’t work. It is remarkable to see how quickly it has delivered.”

Honesty in partnership

Alongside this, there is the more functional removal of formal relationships seen between clients, tier one suppliers, and supply chains. This reduces the risk that conflicting agendas, suspicion, or simple miscommunication – prevent the identification and deployment of the best technical people and solutions.

Alliance Partners include: WMCA, Pell Frischmann and our design partners Tony Gee and Egis, contractor Colas Rail, and a number of sub alliance partners. We are very excited about this model and are encouraging clients to replicate on infrastructure delivery projects more widely. 


  • icon-arrow6 - number of extensions and improvements already planned
  • icon-arrow£1.2bn - to be invested over ten years
  • icon-arrow9 - members of the Alliance
  • icon-arrow17 - =new stops planned between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill

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