Delivering a safer, more efficient culture along the supply chain

The scale of HS2 as a mega-project involves multiple strands of a wide and varied supply chain. Brendan Anderson outlines an example of Clancy’s role as a supply chain partner. 

Brendan Anderson, pictured, is operations director, capital projects, at Clancy.

Mega-projects such as HS2, with 250 miles of high speed railway planned throughout England, inevitably require vast, intricate and diverse supply chains.  

Though it may not be what many first think of when picturing HS2, managing existing water and energy networks are a complex and essential aspect of the wider project delivery. 

This is particularly true in busy urban environments, where existing infrastructure and often historic foundations have to be carefully considered. 

One such example is around London’s Euston station where Clancy has been a major partner in helping HS2’s enabling works contractor, Costain Skanska joint venture (CSJV), manage the crucial utility diversions needed to keep the UK’s biggest infrastructure programme on track. 

Alongside CSJV, Clancy has been working on a critical wastewater diversion at Harrington Street in the London Borough of Camden which was part of works to allow the extension of the HS2 tracks.  

The job involved exposing the existing Victorian brick egg sewer and introducing 120 metres of new pipework four metres deep along the nearby street network. 

Keeping the pressure up

Delivering in a living, working neighbourhood brought an extra challenge as the live flow of the sewer needed to be maintained at all times during the job. Any disruption risked delay which in turn would impact the wider programme of works across the area.  

Close, collaborative working between Clancy and CSJV was essential to make sure that the sewer works kept tightly to schedule. It was by building and maintaining a culture that continually challenged the standard ways of working and constantly looked at how to reduce the time needed on a project that ensured success.  

The original design for the ground excavation, for example, was complicated and involved a significant and time-consuming concrete pour in stages. Clancy approached its design partners with proposals that would remove the need for the concrete pours, cutting our proposed schedule by fifteen days.

Stakeholder engagement was also a key factor in staying on track. The site location sat on an emergency service route, meaning that the default approach to construction would require ongoing demobilisation of works in sections that allowed continued vehicle access.  

By working with the local London Fire Brigade, Clancy was able to identify alternative emergency routes, allowing work phases to be undertaken concurrently and significantly cutting down the schedule for delivery. 

Clancy has been a major partner in helping HS2’s Costain Skanska joint venture (CSJV) manage the crucial utility diversions needed around London’s Euston station to keep the UK’s biggest infrastructure programme on track.

Safety first

While sticking to the programme timeline was a priority, safe working of course remains paramount and a number of tools were deployed in this project to promote a strong health and safety culture on site.   

Working with excavation brings inherent risks of trips and falls, so the team introduced the Sledge Safe edge to the project – a heavy barrier system which can’t be moved by hand.   

The tight, urban environment that the work took place in also needed to be considered and usual techniques and equipment reassessed. By investing in EAVE active hearing protection – ear defenders with a microphone on the outside and a speaker inside – workers were safeguarded from loud noise, while remaining able to hear at a healthy decibel and be aware of their surroundings.  

Following positive feedback from site workers, these will now be rolled out across other Clancy projects. 

Mapping the network; looking to the future

Intervening in existing networks brings challenges but also opportunities for the future.  Improving the safety of future works, the team also used photogrammetry technology to image the excavated areas, creating three-dimensional models of the utility connections.  

The result of this is that future workers will be able to know exactly what’s in the ground before digging, reducing the risk of service strikes while keeping teams safe and minimising potential disruption for the residents and businesses on Harrington Street.

The scale of HS2 as a mega-project involves multiple strands of a wide and varied supply chain, and each link in that chain has an important role in delivering a pioneering programme of transport infrastructure for the country.  

Through engaging local stakeholders, championing a culture that consistently seeks more efficient ways of working and embracing technology that puts worker’s safety at the forefront, Clancy is able to play its part not only in the new railway, but in the future of a safer, highly-skilled infrastructure sector.  

Brendan Anderson is operations director, capital projects, at Clancy.

If you would like to contact Rob O’Connor about this, or any other story, please email roconnor@infrastructure-intelligence.com.