Thames Water Announce £4bn AMP7 Partners

Thames Water has agreed the final and biggest framework for design and build construction partners on its AMP7 programme.

The clean and wastewater projects will include schemes across London and the Thames Valley.

The frameworks are extendable into AMP8 and could see Thames award up to £4bn of investment to undertake work on all types of above and below ground assets.

Following the awards of frameworks in two lots earlier this year, five further lots of successful contractors have been announced.

Successful AMP7 partners


Lot 3 – Non-Infrastructure – London (£600m-£700m)

  • Galliford Try and MWH Treatment

Lot 4 – Non-Infrastructure – Thames Valley (£350m-£450m)

  • Interserve and Mott Macdonald Bentley

Lot 5 – Infrastructure – London – North (£350m-£400m)

  • J Murphy and Barhale

Lot 6 – Infrastructure –  London – South (£325m-£375m)

  • Morrison Utility Service and Galliford Try

Lot 7 – Infrastructure –  Thames Valley (£175m-£225m)

  • Morrison Utility Service and Mott Macdonald Bentley

John Bentley, Thames Water’s capital delivery director, said: “We have now appointed our partners to plug the final piece of the jigsaw for our AMP7 delivery.

“We have ambitious plans and are looking forward to working together to outperform expectations.”

The latest geographical frameworks follow on from lots announced in May and will run parallel to the Thames-wide frameworks.

Last year, Thames Water announced its decision to move away from an alliancing approach and implement an “intelligent client” operating model across its capital delivery function during AMP7.

This model will see the company bring more activities in-house in the key areas of asset management, programme management, project management, technical assurance and commercial management.

Work will be delivered through a series of delivery “runways” covering all of the capital programme and these latest frameworks will operate on Runway 2, the main delivery route.

To help deliver this ambition Atkins has been named Strategic Delivery Partner.

It will deliver asset management, project management and technical assurance services to support the utility’s transition, while Mace has secured a role as the Programme Management Office delivery partner.

This will see Mace assist Thames Water with programme management, quality assurance, business systems and processes and governance and risk.

Phil Cull, Southern Region Director at winner Barhale said: “We are immensely proud of our longstanding association and the confidence Thames Water continues to show in Barhale.

“We have worked with Thames since 1989 and have supported each AMP period. That depth of experience gives us real understanding of the challenges facing a network which serves the most densely populated part of the country.”

AMP7 Thames-wide Capital Programmes

(Previously announced in May)


Lot 1 – Non-infrastructure: worth £180m

  • Costain, MWH Treatment, Mott MacDonald Bentley, Kier Infrastructure, Glan Agua, Galliford Try, Barhale and Bridges Electrical

All works above ground such as the refurbishment, replacement and new potable water and wastewater treatment assets, including reservoirs.

Lot 2 – Infrastructure: worth £170m

  • Kier Infrastructure, Morrison Utility Service, Galliford Try, J Browne Cons, Barhale and Clancy Docwra

All underground works from rehabilitation, replacement and new sewers and pumping assets to potable water pipelines, aqueducts and tunnels.

London Super Sewer western tunnel drive completes

The main tunnel drive for the first major section of the Thames Tideway sewer has been completed.

TBM Rachel will now be recovered from the Acton storm tank site

TBM Rachel will now be recovered from the Acton storm tank site

Giant tunnel boring machine Rachel has completed its gentle uphill 7km drive breaking into the shaft at Tideway’s site in Acton.

Three-way joint venture contractors, BAM Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and Balfour Beatty, lowered TBM Rachel 35m into the ground to begin tunnelling in May 2019 from Carnwarth Road in Fulham.

Working a total of nearly 1,100 shifts, around 200 staff have worked on the western section of the tunnel, with Tideway’s use of the river to remove 725,000 tonnes of spoil and bring in concrete segments keeping around 25,000 lorries off the road.

Neil Binns, Senior Project Manager, said: “Having broken through at Acton Storm Tanks, it’s easy to forget the time and effort that goes into making all this possible.

“From designing and manufacturing the TBM, to providing logistics support for its delivery by river, to the above-ground operation, as well as the skill of the tunnelling team – this is a fantastic achievement and a wonderful example of the teamwork required to clean up the River Thames.”

TBM Rachel was named after Rachel Parsons, who was the founding president of the Women’s Engineering Society and a former Fulham resident.

Article Courtesy of ‘Construction Enquirer’

Construction output continues to rebound

Latest official construction output figures for July point to a continuing construction rebound.

July output figures show industry continues on recovery path despite some concerns about orders

July output figures show industry continues on recovery path despite some concerns about orders

Monthly construction output increased by nearly 18% in July keeping the recovery on track, despite buyers raising concerns about an orders wobble in August in the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply sentiment survey.

The rise in July output is the third consecutive month of growth since the record 40% plunge in April.

Infrastructure work made big gains and returned to higher than pre-pandemic levels.

It ranked as the only sector to see growth, increasing by 6% in the three months to July, compared with the previous three months.

Over the same trend period, all new work is still down by around 10%, the largest single contributor to which was private new housing, which fell 17%.

Clive Docwra, managing director of construction consultant McBains, said: “Construction is still a long way from being out of the woods and the upturn is extremely fragile.

“The big concern for the industry is if there’s a second spike and a further lockdown. The government needs to do all it can to ensure the sector maintains its recovery.

“On top of this, of course, a potential no deal at the end of the Brexit transition period is making investors nervous about committing to new projects.

“The Prime Minister may want the industry to ‘build, build, build’ but that’s difficult when many investors are saying ‘wait, wait, wait’ and holding off embarking on new developments until there’s greater clarity.”

Fraser Johns, finance director at Beard, said: “In a sense there was really only one way these figures could go starting from such a low base back at the start of Q2.

“But continued growth at this rate for the third consecutive month has to be a good thing.

“However it is interesting to note that across the sectors, and therefore the economy as a whole, the rate of recovery is not as strong as it was in June with construction growing at 17.6% compared to 23.6% previously.

“This is likely to be down to a number of factors but would reflect what we’re seeing on the ground.

“We face a challenging 12 months ahead based on continued uncertainty in the economy, and the affect this is having on getting project decisions over the line.

“So while it’s welcome to see overall GDP grow by 6.6%, a return back to pre-pandemic levels simply cannot come quickly enough.”

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building, part of the Cruden Group said: “Encouragingly, at Cruden, we are seeing a surge in demand for new homes and have secured a robust forward order book to help address the country’s chronic under supply of housing across all tenures.”

Article Courtesy of ‘Construction Enquirer’

Highways England publishes £14bn road building plan

Highways England has set out its plans for the next five years, including starting 12 new major roadbuilding projects.

As part of his budget statement, the chancellor announced a £27.4bn budget for investment in England’s strategic road network between 2020 and 2025. The publication of the government’s second road investment strategy (RIS2) set out more detail.

Highways England has now published its own strategic business plan for RIS2, setting out how it plans to spend that £27.4bn.

The marquee construction elements are the £2bn Stonehenge tunnel to upgrade the A303 (Amesbury to Berwick Down) and the £7bn Lower Thames Crossing. Work on the Stonehenge tunnel is earmarked to start in summer 2022; construction of the Lower Thames Crossing is down to start in early 2023.

Over the next five years, £14.2bn is planned to be spent building improvements to the network (enhancement schemes); £10.8bn will be spent on running the existing network (operations, maintenance and renewal); £1.1bn will go on Highways England’s own internal running costs; and a further £936m has been allocated for ‘designated funds’ (‘delivering projects… beyond the traditional focus of road investment).

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “Having the certainty of long-term investment, and a schedule of committed schemes and targets, has helped us move away from managing the SRN as individual pieces of asset, such as tarmac, concrete, bridges and signs. We’ve reached a place where government considers our roads as a fully integrated system, and a part of the broader UK transport network. As a result, we can work better with our stakeholders and with our supply chain as partners. We offer much improved customer service, and we are starting to clear the back log of decades of under investment in the country’s most important transport network.”

As previously announced, Highways England commits to fixing many of the hazards that it previously built into its ‘smart’ motorways. It promises to end the use of dynamic hard shoulder motorways by March 2025, upgrading them to all lane running by converting the hard shoulder into a permanent traffic lane.

The stopped vehicle detection technology that was meant to be a key feature of ‘smart’ motorways but quietly forgotten about will now be introduced to existing all lane running sections by the end of March 2023, the business plan says.

And ‘smart’ motorways are getting more refuge areas for stranded motorists – an additional 10 are to be installed on the M25 before the end of 2020. Highways England will then consider the impact of these for a couple of years and consider adding more elsewhere.

Existing refuge areas that are narrower than the current 15 foot standard will be widened ‘if feasible and appropriate’.

Click on image to enlarge table

Article courtesy of ‘Construction Index’ August 2020

More sites to restart as 73% of big jobs back

Major contractors are now working on 73% of sites as the government renewed its call for construction to restart across the country.

An update from trade body Build UK yesterday revealed the number of operational sites for its contractor members – up from 69% last week.

Build UK’s membership includes most of the industry’s biggest names like Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke, Kier, McAlpine, Skanska, Bouygues, Bam, Vinci, Wates, Mace and Morgan Sindall.

Over 80% of member’s infrastructure and construction sites are now running with 55% of housing jobs working.

The latest numbers came as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick restated the government’s position on construction as one of the sectors leading the economy out of lockdown.

He said: “We want infrastructure and construction work to begin again wherever it is safe to do so.

“We cannot, and will not, let this pandemic halt our work to improve connectivity, to provide vital social and cultural infrastructure and to boost economic growth across the regions.

“That’s is how we will begin to rebuild and recover from this national emergency.”

Build UK also reported that productivity is improving on reopened sites.

Productivity on infrastructure and construction sites is averaging 71%, up from 67% last week.

But sites in London remain a challenge although output has improved from 56% to 63% in the last week.

Article courtesy of ‘Construction Enquirer’

Nuttall and Ferrovial to replace Carillion on HS2 work

BAM Nuttall and Ferrovial Agroman have been drafted in to strengthen the Kier and Eiffage joint venture preparing to start work on two civils packages worth nearly £2.5bn in the first phase of HS2.

C2 and C3 contracts will cover an 80km stretch of the central HS2 section
C2 and C3 contracts will cover an 80km stretch of the central HS2 section

The two firms will replace Carillion, which was the third partner in the original consortium to secure C2 and C3 contracts in the central section of the project.

Lot C2 will see the construction of the north portal Chiltern tunnels to Brackley, while Lot C3 is for the Brackley to Long Itchington Wood Green tunnel south portal.

Since the two contracts were let the combined value has soared from £1.34bn to £2.48bn.

The new team of contractors will deliver an 80km stretch of HS2 through the countryside, from Wendover in the Chilterns to Leamington Spa.

The route includes 42 km of cuttings up to 30m deep and 27 km of embankments up to 13m high. The firms will also build 70 over-bridges, 15 viaducts, 15 under-bridges and three Green Tunnels with a total length of about 6.5km.

Bam Nuttall and Ferrovial were previously part of the Fusion consortium with Morgan Sindall, which unsuccessfully bid for the northern and southern sections of HS2 phase one.

HS2 avoided going out to public tender again, because EU procurement rules allow for replacement to be appointed in the event of insolvency.

Chiefs at HS2 also argued that re-procurement would also be unfair to surviving partners Kier and Eiffage.

Skanska rail and highways maintenance for sale

Skanska is pulling out of the rail, highways and lighting maintenance markets to concentrate on core building and infrastructure construction.

It has now begun the process of marketing its infrastructure services operations to potential buyers.

Skanska said it would only consider bids that protect contract delivery and teams.

Gregor Craig, president and CEO of Skanska UK, said: “We have a strong platform for the future as a result of our financial resilience, selective work winning and disciplined management.

“We have decided to streamline our UK operations to focus more on our core infrastructure and building markets and create greater alignment between Skanska’s UK activities and its approach in global markets.”

Skanska said it would remain fully committed to the delivery of all current contracts throughout the sale process, and would do all it could to minimise any impact and ensure a seamless transition once a buyer is identified.

 

It is the second time the UK arm of the Swedish construction giant has sought to sell part of its business.

Nearly two years ago piling arm Skanska Cementation was marketed with a price tag north of £50m. But after failing to agree on a price with prospective buyer concrete contractor Morrisroe, the foundation firm was retained.

HS2 review ‘could axe part of northern route’

HS2-High-Speed-2-train-track-design-CGI-_660-620x330.jpg

The northern leg of HS2 could be scaled back, it has been reported.

The Financial Times said that the Oakervee review is examining the possibility of axing phase 2b of the route from the East Midlands to Leeds and Sheffield.

The review is assessing factors including whether the project should continue, what its cost will be and the route it should take.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “There will be grave long-term consequences for the economy of the north and east of the UK if the eastern leg of HS2 isn’t delivered in full.”

The FT also reported that the panel is also looking at cutting the speed of the trains by 40mph in an attempt to save £10bn, and looking at starting the line at Old Oak Common rather than Euston.

Labour peer and former head of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Andrew Adonis said he would try to ask about the reported change in the House of Lords this afternoon.

He said: “I’m hoping to ask in the House of Lords today about the front page suggesting that the eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham & Derby might be cancelled. This is a really terrible idea even by Johnson’s standards.”

A report by Midlands Connect last month said that 73 stations, including 54 with no direct HS2 service, are set to benefit from the project if it is completed in full.

At the time, Sir John Peace said: “It is the capacity released by the line, not just its speed, that will give the whole network a desperately needed overhaul.”

HS2 confirmed last week that it has halted the felling of 11 ancient woodland sites until the Oakervee-led review has concluded.

The panel is expected to conclude its report later this month.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “We are not going to pre-empt or prejudice this work with a running commentary on the review’s progress.”

HS2 has been contacted for comment.

Counter Offers: To Stay or Not to Stay?

For those unfamiliar with the basic definition; the counter offer is a last-minute bid by a company to retain an employee who has handed in a notice of resignation.

Over the years we have seen many a counter offer put on the table from frantic employers and in this article, we are going to cover both the positives and negatives of accepting; whilst shining some light on the subject.

And In the famous words of The Clash, “Should I stay or should I go now?”

What is a Counter Offer?

A counter offer is an attempt to entice an employee to stay with their employer after they have received an offer for another job position. The counter offer can consist of a raise to salary, an increased benefits package (company car, bonus, etc.), a promotion or new role within the company or just a few words of reassurance and promises of a brighter future. This is done in the hope that this increased ‘deal’ will change the employee’s mind and get them to stay.

Pros of Accepting a Counter Offer

  • The straightest forward counter offer is financial and this tends to benefit employees who are generally happy with their job but feel they are being financially undervalued. This can be resolved by their employer increasing the employee’s annual salary or some of the other financial benefits.
  • If the dissatisfaction runs deeper and is widely felt then a benefit of a long-term, highly regarded employee resigning their post is that it can give a wakeup call to their employer which can lead to change that, not only benefits the individual, but also the overall team. Whilst no one person is bigger than a company, losing key staff can be very disruptive and costly so making a few changes to improve the general feeling can be a benefit to both employer and the team.
  • Where the issue goes beyond finance and self-worth then the employee may be looking for more responsibility and a new challenge. When recruiting, the natural tendency for many employers is to look outside whilst overlooking existing staff who may have transferable skills. A resignation could, therefore, start talks regarding a step up or it could open doors to new responsibilities whilst putting plans in place for further career progression. This can leave the employee in a better position, knowing that their aspirations are being considered and that there is potential to progress within the company.

Cons of Accepting a Counter Offer

  • Financial gain tends to be short-lived once the shine of an increased salary wears off and the extra money has been absorbed into our daily living. Once this happens the other reasons for our dissatisfaction starts to resurface and it’s only a matter of time before we are scrolling through the job advertisements again. Statistically, over 70% of people who accept a financial counter offer start looking for a new job within six months either because of their renewed unease or (in recessionary times) an unexpected redundancy notice.
  • However well regarded an employee is, they are rarely viewed the same by an employer after a counter offer, who may now feel let-down at having been put in that position; and who may forever question the employee’s loyalty. This often shows up when salary reviews, bonus payments and promotions come up; or when cut backs in the company occur.
  • Beware the promise of a brighter future that comes in the form of a promotion or new role ‘in six months’ time’ or ‘once your current project completes’. Talk is cheap and often the promise of change simply buys the employer time to plan for the employee’s departure and line up a replacement.
  • Even if a pay increase or promotion IS forthcoming then consider why it has only been offered in a last-minute bid to stop you from leaving rather than in authentic and planned recognition of your value to them. If your employer knew about your concerns or wanted to improve your circumstances then why did they leave it to such a late stage, and will it take another resignation to get that next increase? Similarly, how will your colleagues feel towards you knowing that you strong-armed your position?
  • For me, the biggest downside is often overlooked. To get to the resignation stage, it’s likely that you invested time in finding and interviewing for a position that you wanted, with a company that you liked; and to whom you suggested (at least verbally) that you would be accepting their offer. Companies rarely enjoy feeling as though their offers have been used and often disregard future applications from those that have ‘let them down’.

There are always pros and cons to decisions and sometimes a counter offer can occasionally be a great opportunity for change while often it’s a quick fix for 6 months before the original feelings return even stronger and it’s back to square one.

If you’re considering new opportunities then head over to our jobs page where you will find an extensive list of current available vacancies, alternatively call either our London or Midlands offices, we’d be pleased to hear from you.

 

Amey to pay £215m to exit Birmingham highways PFI

Amey is close to striking a deal that could see it stump up £215m to walk away from its troubled Birmingham highways maintenance PFI contract.

Birmingham City Council chiefs are understood to have agreed a proposal with the highways maintenance contractor, which will be formally ratified next month.

It is understood that Amey could pay £130m in cash up front, with a further £85m in staged payments over five years.

Also Birmingham City Council would hold £85m of deductions and penalties imposed on Amey, which have been subject to legal disputes between the two.

Together this would amount to a £300m divorce settlement for the council from Amey’s Spanish parent Ferrovial.

Amey has been locked in a five-year legal battle with the council over performance on its £2.7bn PFI deal. This has already seen Amey Highways suffer serious losses.

The Spanish infrastructure group is aiming to sell-off its UK support services business Amey but the 25-year PFI contract has proved a major obstacle.

A council spokesman would not confirm leaks to Sky News of the proposed deal but said:  “It is now generally accepted by all parties to the contract that in order to move forward Amey must be replaced with a new subcontractor.

“This will require a managed release and handover to a new provider along with an appropriate settlement to rectify the liabilities Amey proposes to leave behind.

“While the terms of this settlement are yet to be agreed and would be subject to further agreement by the Council’s Cabinet, talks in recent days have established how an acceptable settlement could be reached and we will continue to work with all those involved to achieve an acceptable solution.”

An Amey spokesman said: “We are encouraged by recent progress and appear to be arriving at a deliverable solution guaranteed by Amey.

“The next few days are critical to finally concluding this issue.”