The experience of Australia and New Zealand, which involves many European contractors, such as SUEZ, Acciona or Tecnicas Reunidas, rail alliances in the United Kingdom and other experiments in Northern Europe, shows that this method can be used at low cost in Europe . This too in other areas such as Latin America or Asia. The alliance model is based on a single agreement whereby all parties share the benefits and risks. This is at odds with traditional contractual models in which each party acts within its own contract with distinct objectives. The NEC4 alliance contract calls itself a “true alliance contract” since all parties sign the same individual contract.16 If a subcontractor is a member of the Alliance, it becomes a partner with the same status as the other members. If they are not members, the guidelines make it clear that they must be traditionally assigned to a member of the Alliance. However, the alliance manager (see below) should first approve the subcontractor. Since both parties act and work as a team, this attitude disappears because every problem or bad decision has been made by the team. In any event, alliances include effective dispute resolution forums by mutual agreement and on a cost-effective basis, in order to promote active project management to avoid escalating problems. Flexibility reinforces the alliance model that allows the contract and parties to easily adapt to the changes required in large multidisciplinary projects that allow parties to address complex design, construction and environmental issues that may not be obvious at the beginning of the project. This may be the main advantage of the alliance model.
On the other hand, the change in the traditional contract is not easy to manage. A bespoke alliance contract can also be used for high-quality construction projects. The 2012 Framework Effectiveness Report found that the lack of an appropriate standard form hinders progress in the use of the alliance, etc.10 In Europe, it is in the United Kingdom with the Nordic countries where such agreements are more numerous. The latest is the one announced on 13 July 2016 between Network Rail and Northern Rail Operator to improve the northern England rail network, which serves 15 million people and operates around 2500 trains a day. The railway began to operate alliances with the various rail operators in 2012 and currently relies on seven alliances with different rail operators. David Higgins, Managing Director of NR: “Closer cooperation with rail operators will provide better service to passengers and freight users and a lower total cost to the taxpayer.” After pre-qualification, owners should put in place appropriate procedures to ensure that any bidder providing intellectual property or innovation remains a matter of “commercial trust” between the bidder and the owner and that it is protected by confidentiality agreements during the tendering process.