Project supervision and controlling


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

AlpTransit Gotthard AG (ATG) and BLS AlpTransit AG (BLS AT) are or rather were the principle constructors of the three base tunnels. They manage and managed the construction on behalf of the Confederation. Both are entirely subsidiaries of SBB AG and BLS AG.

The NRLA supervisory delegation with 12 representatives from the Swiss National Council and the Council of States administers parliamentary oversight for implementation of the NRLA.

The Federal Council has the task of administering 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. For one thing, it issued the detailed NRLA controlling directive. DETEC also concludes contracts with the providers regarding all services ordered (see below).

The Federal Office of Transport (FOT) administers the major part of the Confederation’s duties with regard to realising the NRLA. It is the authority providing operational supervision. Its jurisdiction begins with the actual construction plans (preliminary project and planning approval procedure, specification of project development and safety standards) and ends with the issue of 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 is compiling essential documents and files for DETEC, the Federal Council and Parliament, and continues to keep the NRLA supervisory delegation informed as to the current status of the projects. One important tool is the annual NRLA progress report (see below). The FOT also manages NRLA funds. This includes cost and finance management as well as administration of the Fund for Large-scale Railway Projects. It remains in close contact 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).

In the agreements, the Confederation and the constructor companies settle the main requirements as well as cost targets and deadlines.

The NCD coordinates the combined work of 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 completely proved its worth in controlling for the NRLA; the FOT has used it as a basis for developing controlling guidelines for further large-scale projects.