Highways England hails concrete repair project for boosting diversity in construction
A team carrying out Britain’s largest concrete repair project is targeting local schools to drive up the number of girls choosing a construction career.
At the same time as refurbishing the M5 Oldbury viaduct, the team is working to improve both the capacity and capability of the construction industry and make life better for 320,000 residents and thousands of businesses in the local community.
Now the combined efforts of BAM Nuttal, Morgan Sindall and Volkerfitzpatrick joint venture have scooped a top accolade at Highways England’s annual supplier recognition awards.
Winners building capacity and capability
The nomination was among 122 entries in this year’s awards which also recognised companies for achievements in various fields including; Building capacity and capability, communities, customer experience, delivering sustainable value and solutions, efficiencies and continuous improvement, inclusion, innovations and Supply chain management.
Jim O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Highways England said: “Highways England needs the expertise, innovation and passion of our supply chain to help us achieve our goal of delivering our operations and projects across the Strategic Road Network.
“Our challenges are extremely demanding and our awards recognise and celebrate their achievements and contribution to our imperatives of safety, customer service, and delivery.”
The £100 million Oldbury Viaduct scheme is the largest by value in Britain. Judges said the team’s work to attract girls to construction had paid dividends and increased the diversity of the workforce. The award also recognised their efforts to employ local apprentices, source people from a diverse talent pool, and employ disabled and long term unemployed people.
The team has also worked with residents to transform a former derelict site into a community garden.
Highways England is taking part of the Year of Engineering campaign. These awards show what can be achieved across the roads industry and could help inspire young people to consider engineering as a rewarding career.
The following winners and highly commended awards, with judges’ comments, were made:
1. Building capacity and capability
Awarded to suppliers that have developed their employees’ skills and capabilities through delivery of Highways England contracts.
Winner: BAM Nuttall, Morgan Sindall & Volkerfitzpatrick joint venture for supporting the future of the industry by building capacity and capability (M5 Oldbury). This is an excellent example of a project living the criteria surrounding this category. The scheme runs through a mixed industrial and residential conurbation with up to 320,000 residents. The scheme provides an excellent opportunity to improve the capacity and capability of the construction industry. Working with local organisations the supplier has striven to attract girls to consider construction as a career, employ local apprentices and source people from a diverse pool of talent.
Highly commended: A Blackwell (Contracts) Ltd for the A14 Plant Operative Training Programme. This submission was a great example of how the matter of capacity and capability in a specialist area is taken seriously. This organisation is working on one of the larger schemes on the strategic road network and has taken a direct line by establishing both an operative training programme and training facility on-site. By targeting a diverse working population they have already recruited and trained 16 people.
Awarded to suppliers that have engaged with community groups from the outset, understood what really matters to them and identified ways in which they can work differently.
Winner: John Sisk Lagan joint venture for the A19 – A1058 Coast Road. This supplier has continually gone the extra mile to ensure local residents are engaged as well as trying to engage members of the wider community who would otherwise have been missed by traditional community and media methods. They have provided numerous examples of the positive impacts they have had on the community, including open days at retail parks, libraries, universities and visiting every school in the area.
Highly commended: A14 Integrated Delivery Team (Costain, Skanska, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Atkins, and CH2M Designs) for delivering world class community engagement. This scheme has gone to considerable lengths to make a real difference to the communities in the area of the scheme before and during construction. They have built lasting relationships through engaging via multiple methods in two way dialogue to inform and listen to the community. They have invested in a mobile visitor centre to go into the community to talk about the scheme and have raised the profile of Highways England, used social media to engage with a wider audience, and created a ring fenced sum of money that the community has access to ensure the legacy of the new road is much more than just a road but also supports other local schemes.
Also highly commended is Costain for delivering a lasting legacy.
This project team has taken steps to understand community expectations and has built effective relationships with the community over a three year period, attending Parish Council meetings and holding specific public exhibitions for those communities most affected by the works.
3. Customer experience
Awarded to suppliers who have demonstrated industry leading commitment to customer service.
Winner: Carnell Support Services Ltd for a collaboration journey.
This winning submission clearly demonstrated how customer experience has been embedded into its culture and day-to-day practices. Among a variety of examples, the company has introduced customer induction shared on the supplier portal, leadership and workforce training guides on how to deal with customers, has minimised the impact of customer disruption by carrying out noisy operations during the day and erecting noise barriers around works to reduce noise levels if working overnight, A663 operatives temporarily reinstated the pavement to enable a member of the public and her disabled son to gain access, on the M52 Nottingham Junction scheme, approached their local RSPCA animal shelter to offer construction work and on the M58 cycle scheme helped a distraught customer to safety.
This stretch of road attracts an estimated 100,000 users a day; this scheme raised the bar in delivering customer service and provided a positive experience for those affected by the works. The scheme has a full time community relations team, and placed recovery depots at strategic locations along the length of the scheme so that broken down vehicles can be reached in 30 minutes, ANPR cameras positioned at various points throughout the scheme to capture live journey time information and the de-cluttering of the site of signs and cones made the roadworks appear neater and clearer.
4. Delivering sustainable value and solutions
Awarded to suppliers who have integrated environmental, social, economic and management aspects of sustainable development into the delivery of Highways England contracts.
Winner: Tarmac, Costain and Jacobs for engaging early to embed sustainability – A160 scheme, Port of Immingham.
Upgrading the A160 between the A180 Brockelsby Interchange junction and Immingham Harbour was seen as a priority project for Highways England to improve the important strategic route to the Port of Immingham. The supply chain worked collaboratively over a two-year period prior to work commencing on site to value engineer the pavement design to ensure sustainability is at the heart.
Highly commended: Balfour Beatty & Social Value Portal for delivering social value on the M3.
In June 2017, the M3 smart motorway scheme between J4a Farnborough and J2 M25 was opened. The upgrade added an extra lane in both directions along a 13.4 mile section. Balfour Beatty came together with their supply chain to measure and calculate added social value associated with the project. Using industry-recognised tools, they were able to calculate a total of £77.6 million of added societal, economic and environmental benefits to the community and wider economy.
5. Efficiencies and continuous improvement
Awarded to suppliers that have demonstrated significant achievement in mobilising all their talents and resource to delivery smarter and more efficient ways of working.
Winner: Category Management Community (Tarmac Trading Ltd, Hansosn UK, Aggregate Industries) for delivering efficiencies through Category Management.
This was a fantastic example of Highways England and supply chain teams taking hold of the essence of category management and working together flexibly and collaboratively to deliver intended outcomes. Together they have pushed boundaries of the framework to deliver better performance and efficiencies through the use of different materials, plant and processes.
Highly commended: Aone+ Integrated Highway Services & Tarmac for A64 Ultigrip Pavement Solution efficiencies and continuous improvement.
This innovative use of a pavement design solution is an expression of collaborative problem solving, which has locked in efficiency savings, minimised future maintenance interventions, delivered road worker safety benefits and improved customer experience.
And, Balfour Beatty & Mott MacDonald Area 10 joint venture for ‘improvement is not a destination it’s a journey’.
This was an impressive example of using Lean approaches to deliver significant efficiencies and deliver a culture of continuous improvement. Since early 2015 this contract has been on a Lean and continuous improvement journey that has engaged with all members of the contract and key supply chain partners. This has included formal Lean training for 206 people in Lean familiarisation and 48 to yellow belt standard.
Awarded to suppliers that have created opportunities to bring people into the workplace, developed skills and created an environment where differences are valued and utilised.
Winner: Jacobs for cultural diversity.
This winning entry provided real evidence of listening to and learning from employees, and its proactive approach has led to improved employee experience. There was great evidence of celebrating and considering the diversity through engagement of local staff whose demographic varied by locations. Activities were put in place to create a positive work place culture, initiatives such as flexible working during Ramadan, learning about, supporting and celebrating different cultural and religious customs, adapting working practices to accommodate different needs, establishing cultural networks.
Highly Commended: Mott MacDonald for equality diversion inclusion.
This company is undertaking activity on many fronts. They have embedded EDI into hiring manager training, and will collect and analyse applicant data. All new starters will undertake EDI learning and they have introduced a reverse mentoring programme connecting senior leaders with employees to provide an opportunity to gain insights and views from a diverse perspective.
Awarded to suppliers who deliver innovative products or services that improve the customer and stakeholder experience, and can demonstrate commercial opportunities.
Winner: Kier Highways & Area 9 Collaborative Delivery Community Partners for the M6 NE Spur / Rushall Canal Rapid Set Concrete.
This successful entry combined a new product never before used in the UK, with a newly tested traffic management solution involving full weekend closures. By using a fast setting concrete which cures with 18 – 24 hours, the programme went from taking 26 weeks using traditional methods to just 5 weeks, giving an approximate benefit to the UK economy of £35 million, and additional positive impacts for customer experience.
Highly Commended: WSP for state for bridge infrastructure.
Adopting an innovative approach to gathering data to understand the performance of Highways England’s bridges, this project has worked for many years to analyse a vast quantity of inspection data. The innovative use of this data allows us to gain new insights into the performance of our bridges. This means inspections can be planned better with targeted interventions, develop new standards and metrics for structures and enable a more value based approach for future investment.
Also highly commended is Mott MacDonald, Simulation Systems (now Costain), Emtek Services and Kier for supporting Highways England to deliver effective innovation.
This project improved worker safety, led to a 55% reduction in swap out times and reduced traffic management activities.
8. Supply chain management
Awarded to suppliers that demonstrate Highways England’s strategic agenda, values and principles through supply chains.
Winner: A14 Integrated Delivery Team (Costain, Skanska, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Atkins, CH2M Design) for approaches to supply chain management.
The win goes to a delivery team which is formed by a number of organisations committed to delivering the £1.5 billion upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. Working together the team has set out to deliver safely a world class scheme
Highly commended: Interserve Construction, WSP, Toppesfield, WJ South & Roadtech for M11 Essex.
This highly commended award goes to the team resurfacing the dedicated link road between the M11 and A120 near Stansted Airport which was successfully completed in May 2017. The supplier adopted a collaborative approach with the extended supply chain, working to Lean principles and collective willingness to exceed conventional industry surfacing outputs, enabled the scheme to be completed over 3 weekends instead of the planned 5, minimising disruption to our customers.