Project supervision and controlling

The size of the NRLA and its considerable costs place a high demand on project and control management. A number of different authorities, bodies and agencies are included.

AlpTransit Gotthard AG (ATG) and BLS AlpTransit AG (BLS AT) were the principle contracting entities of the three base tunnels and managed the construction on behalf of the Confederation. Both are subsidiaries of SBB AG and BLS AG.

The NRLA Supervisory Delegation with 12 representatives from the Swiss National Council and the Council of States administered parliamentary oversight for the NRLA until the end of November 2019. This task passed to the Finance Delegation (FinDel) in December 2019.

The Federal Council is responsible for the strategic supervision of the project. Amongst other things it can release contingency credit and reserves.

The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) represents the basic interests of the Confederation as purchaser of NRLA. It not only issued the detailed NRLA controlling directive, but also concludes contracts with providers regarding services and deadlines (see below).

The Federal Office of Transport (FOT) performs the majority of the Confederation’s tasks with respect to the NRLA, providing operational supervision at the official level. Its responsibilities began with the actual construction plans (preliminary project and planning approval procedure, specification of project development and safety standards) and extends to issuing operating licences. It steers and coordinates the work of the constructors, and has developed the foundations for commissioning the base routes together with the operators (SBB, BLS). In addition, the FOT compiles essential documents and files for DETEC, the Federal Council and Parliament, and updates the parliamentary supervisory body on the status of the projects. The FOT also manages NRLA funds. This includes cost and finance management as well as administration of the Railway Infrastructure Fund. It works closely with the Swiss Federal Department of Finance, the Federal Finance Administration, and the Federal Audit Office.

Controlling instruments

NRLA controlling is based on the rules of modern project management.

The key elements are transparency and an early warning system. Controlling is based on agreements and the NRLA Controlling Directive (NCD).

Agreements between the Confederation and the constructor companies regulate the main requirements as well as cost targets and deadlines for the NRLA.

The NCD regulates cooperation between the FOT and the constructors at a formal level. It ensures uniform terminology and consistent data, guarantees the flow of information, and regulates the interfaces. The NCD has proven useful for NRLA controlling; the FOT has used it as a basis for developing controlling guidelines for further major projects.