HS2 Introducing Largest Project-Wide Digital Passport

HS2 is introducing the largest project-wide digital passport system for workers allowing it to keep tabs on skills and health and safety.

HS2 to implement UK's first ever project-wide health and safety passport

HS2 to implement UK’s first ever project-wide health and safety passport

It will be the first time in the UK that workforce data will be available to view across a major multi-site infrastructure project in one consolidated platform.

The new cloud-based central database will ensure only workers with the correct credentials and skills are permitted access to sites, as well as collect whole workforce data allowing HS2 to map competency and track health and safety assessments

Also where suppliers and operatives are working across multiple locations, the new system will be able to flag individual fatigue risks across the project.

HS2 chiefs hope the collection and synchronisation of data from local level to project-wide will help to ensure consistency of standards and performance.

The information collected can also be anonymised and provide a learning legacy for future major projects.

The workforce management software solution developed by Midlands-based Biosite will link biometric data directly to operative information and site access for real-time visibility and traceability.

Workers will be required to complete a central online pre-induction before undertaking a local site induction and provide biometric information to generate their global identification or digital ‘passport’.

The new digital health and safety passport system will be rolled out initially by all of HS2’s Main Works Civils Contractors to share vital health and safety information across contractors.

Emma Head, HS2’s Safety and Assurance Director said: “We aim to lead by innovation at HS2 and the new Health and Safety Passport System is a pioneering way for us to further our best practice approach to workforce health and safety management.

“We are pleased to be bringing workforce management for complex projects such as HS2 to the next level.”

The HS2 HSPS initiative is scheduled to go live in the spring.

Construction Sites to Stay Open in the latest Lockdown

Construction sites will continue to operate during the latest lockdown which will be in force until at least the middle of February.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed a third national lockdown on Monday night with people urged to work from home wherever possible.

But the government confirmed that “you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home, including but not limited to people who work within critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing that require in-person attendance.”

Guidance added that construction ” is essential to keeping the country operating.”

Tradespeople can also work in other people’s homes and builders merchants and building products suppliers will be able to keep stores open.

Former construction minister Nadhim Zahawi is now in charge of the vaccine rollout and has been set the target of vaccinating 13.9m people in the four highest risk groups by the middle of February.

Super Sewer’s Longest Tunnel Drive Crosses Finishing Line

A joint venture of Ferrovial and Laing O’Rourke has achieved the milestone of completing the longest single tunnel drive on the Thames Tideway project.

Tunnelling milestone as four-fifths of drive now complete

Tunnelling milestone as four-fifths of drive now complete

TBM Ursula’s breakthrough now means that more than 19km of the Super Sewer has been completed, with work on the remaining 5.5km section due to begin very soon with the launch of TBM Selina, which will create the final and easternmost section of the super sewer.

As part of its 7.6km journey from Battersea to Bermondsey,  Ursula excavated over a million tonnes of spoil, all of which was removed from site using barges on the Thames – preventing more than 250,000 HGV trips.

Tim Newman, Tideway’s Project Geologist, said: “Completing the longest single drive on the Tideway project is a wonderful milestone, and our teams have made great progress through a challenging year.

“TBM Ursula has tunnelled at incredible depths, encountering a real mix of geology – through clay, sand, gravel and chalk.

“The expertise required for such a task is immense and allowed us to quickly and safely adapt the tools on the cutterhead as needed.”

Viv Jones, Project Director for the central section, said: “Ferrovial and Laing O’Rourke, the contractors on the central section, have done a fantastic job, and I thank the teams involved for their efforts to clean up London’s iconic river.”

Bidding starts in New Year for £4bn levelling up fund

Councils will be able to bid for project funding early next year from the Government’s new levelling up fund announced in the spending review.

The Government has committed £4bn to a new cross-departmental Fund for England. This will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery.

It has committed to release £600m in 2021-22 and will publish a prospectus for the fund and launch the first round of competitions in the New Year

Funding will be available for a broad range of high-value local projects up to £20m, including bypasses and other local road schemes, bus lanes, railway station upgrades, regenerating eyesores, upgrading town centres and community infrastructure, and local arts and culture.

It will be open to all local areas in England and prioritise bids to drive growth and regeneration in places in need, those facing particular challenges, and areas that have received less government investment in recent years.

The new levelling up funding came as the Chancellor committed to £100bn of capital spending next year and announced plans to set up an Infrastructure Bank to catalyse private investment in infrastructure projects across the UK.

The civil engineering sector is now gearing up for a busy time next year as all key market sectors start to rev up.

Chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association Alasdair Reisner said: “The vision set out by the Chancellor today is one in which investment in infrastructure is a key priority for delivering growth and creating jobs across all parts of the country.

“The creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, to be based in the north of England, will enable the strategic investment businesses and communities require.

“We are particularly pleased to see the creation of a specific ‘Levelling Up’ fund, which will enable local communities to bid for projects based on their own expertise and needs.

“The Government’s planned £100bn of capital spending next year will ensure the UK’s economic recovery from the historic impact of COVID-19 will be as swift as possible, creating jobs and growth, to the benefit of businesses and communities in all parts of the UK.”

Steve Beechey, Public Sector Director, Wates Group, said:  “As a national business with a significant footprint in the north, we are also buoyed by the renewed focus on levelling up.

“The commitment to locate important new public bodies, like the new UK infrastructure bank, in the north, combined with the levelling up fund of £4bn should provide a much-needed boost for future investment, both public and private sector, in areas which have, at times, been overlooked in the past.”

Article Courtesy of ‘Construction Enquirer’

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

Former Clancy chief Commercial Officer to lead Government Infrastructure Delivery

Former Clancy chief commercial officer Jon Loveday has been appointed new Director of Infrastructure, Enterprise and Growth at the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA).
He will oversee project delivery on major projects like HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Loveday’s previous role was at Clancy where he led a tw0-year turnaround project to create a new strategy and operating model.

He will start his new government job next month leading the team that supports the delivery of government’s major projects by “helping to set them up for success and building delivery capability in departments”.

Nick Smallwood, IPA Chief Executive and Head of the Project Delivery Function, said: “We must consistently deliver our major projects successfully to help rebuild our economy and transform our infrastructure.

“I’m pleased to welcome Jon to the IPA, who brings with him a wealth of experience from the infrastructure sector. I’m sure Jon will play a major role as we move forward supporting the government’s ambitious agenda.”

Loveday said: “I am delighted to be joining the IPA at such an important time. Our ability to deliver world leading infrastructure is at the heart of the UK government’s planned infrastructure revolution and we have a lead role to play in kick starting the economy.”

£3bn green boost as construction leads Covid recovery

Chancellor Rishi Sunak continued to put construction at the heart of the coronavirus recovery with a £3bn green investment package to support around 140,000 jobs.

A £1 billion programme will improve the energy efficiency of public sector buildings while £2bn will go towards Green Homes Grants for homeowners and landlords to insulate properties.

Sunak also raised the Stamp Duty threshold on house sales to £500,000 from £125,000 until next March to boost the housing market.

He said: “One of the most important sectors for job creation is housing.

“The construction sector adds £39 billion a year to the UK economy.

“House building alone supports nearly three quarter of a million jobs, with millions more relying on the availability of housing to find work.

“But property transactions fell by 50% in May. House prices have fallen for the first time in eight years.

“And uncertainty abounds in the market – a market we need to be thriving.

“We need people feeling confident – confident to buy, sell, renovate, move and improve.

“That will drive growth. That will create jobs.

“So to catalyse the housing market and boost confidence, I have decided today to cut stamp duty.”

Construction Products Association’s Economics Director, Professor Noble Francis said: “The £2 billion funding towards energy-efficient retrofit of the existing housing stock is potentially very promising; but the devil is in the detail, as government has previously demonstrated on energy-efficient retrofit programmes, in particular given the very poor experience of the Green Deal policy.

“In addition, £1 billion for insulating public buildings sounds very good but given this is only for one year, it raises the key question of whether government departments and local authorities have the time or resource to spend this effectively.

“The main risks are that the majority of this money ends up not getting used or that it gets wasted in a rush to spend it. ”

Matthew Pratt, Chief Executive at Redrow, said: “We welcome today’s stamp duty holiday as a positive step to stimulate the housing market and wider economy.

“The measures will have a much-needed domino effect, also supporting suppliers, subcontractors and consultants to the house building industry.”