Scottish Water

Advertorial: Scottish Water 2018 Construction Developer Forum

Tuesday 08 May 2018  |  Inchyra Hotel, Falkirk

It’s with great pleasure that we invite you to join us for the Scottish Water 2018 Construction Developer Forum.

This is the first forum we have run that will focus on processes relating directly to on-site works where Scottish Water assets will be installed.

This is an opportunity to network with employees from throughout Scottish Water, get updates on current projects which impact you and also your opportunity to provide feedback and help shape both current and future initiatives.

We appreciate our invite database does not include everyone who may obtain value from this event so please feel free to forward this invite onto anyone you would consider suitable to attend.

This forum is aimed at people typically in roles such as, Construction Directors, Construction Managers, Site Managers & Site Agents.


For your convenience the event will take place in Inchyra Hotel, Falkirk, Scotland.

On the day

The session will begin with breakfast rolls before launching a presentation about site related aspects of work.

We’ll then move on to interactive break-out areas on a number of topics. There will be a comfort break, before we complete the rotation of topics and come together for closing conclusions. We will also have a ‘Technical Panel’ available during the day hosted by Scottish Water Technical Advisor’s for any burning issues you wish to obtain some technical advice on. The main topics on the agenda will be:

  1. Scottish Water/Developer/Groundworker/UCP Roles
  2. Lloyds Register – WIRS
  3. Organising Tie-Ins
  4. DOM’s
  5. Inspections
  6. H&S


9.00am – Breakfast Rolls & Networking

9.30am – Session Launch

12.30pm – 1.30 – Networking Lunch

Lunch will be served after the session is complete.


To confirm your attendance please email Denise McKinney at no later than Monday 23 April 2018.
      – Numbers will be restricted. To ensure your attendance please book early.

If you cascade this invitation to colleagues we ask that you please confirm the total number attending in the return email. This is simply so we can arrange appropriate catering and supplementary materials.

We hope the forum will demonstrate our commitment to working together with key stakeholders to facilitate growth in Scotland. We hope you will join us and interact on the day to make this a successful event and demonstrate the need for future forums.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Craig Lawson

Development Operations Manager

Canal regeneration partnership agreement paves way for 2,500 Glasgow homes

Glasgow canalGlasgow City Council has given approval to entering into a partnership agreement with Scottish Canals and Scottish Water to deliver the North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System (NGIWMS).

This is an innovative system that will use the Forth and Clyde Canal and new technology to tackle the capacity – and therefore potential flooding – issues that on occasion face the sewer network in the north of the city.

In addition, the work of the NGIWMS will allow for land release for the development of 2,500 homes in the area at sites such as Cowlairs, Hamiltonhill, 100 Acre Hill, Sighthill and Ruchill Hospital.

The historic development of North Glasgow saw the area’s natural watercourses being incorporated into its combined sewer network, and as a result, the network has now reached capacity.

The £4.7million NGIWMS – part-funded by the Glasgow City Region City Deal – will use the Summit Pound (the canal’s highest section between Locks 20 and 21) and its Glasgow Branch as a conduit to transport surface water from North Glasgow to the River Kelvin.

The system will also use the canal to store over 55,000 cubic metres of flood storage during storms, achieving this by automatically reducing water levels – through Glasgow’s SMART City platform – in the canal 24 hours ahead of a forecasted storm / flood event.  Such action reduces the area required to be set aside on development sites for flood storage and so increases the number of potential new homes on those sites.

Councillor Kenny McLean, city convener for neighbourhoods, housing and public realm at Glasgow City Council, said: “Today’s decision is fantastic news, and the new system will both unlock the development potential of this historic part of Glasgow and protect local homes, business and the environment from flooding using smart technology.  We look forward to working with our partners – Scottish Canals and Scottish Water – to deliver this project which will transform the north of the city, bringing great social, economic and environmental benefits.”

Housebuilders look to sustain growth at annual Fife forum

(from left) Pam Ewen, Ian Drummond, Mark McEwen, Nicola Barclay, Cllr Altany Craik, Gordon Nelson, John Mills and Hugh Hall

(from left) Pam Ewen, Ian Drummond, Mark McEwen, Nicola Barclay, Cllr Altany Craik, Gordon Nelson, John Mills and Hugh Hall

Lochgelly, last year’s winner of Scotland’s Most Improved Town, was the venue of the 11th Fife House Builders Forum this week.

Over 70 delegates from across the house building industry came together at the Lochgelly Centre on Monday 13th November to discuss the recent upturn in the house building industry in Fife and debate how this growth can be nurtured and sustained.

The event, “Sustaining the Growth”, was organised by Fife Council’s Economy, Planning and Employability Service.

A packed audience was presented with a packed programme with Hazel Cross (economic advisor, Town Centre Development Unit, Fife Council) showcasing Lochgelly’s journey to becoming Scotland’s Most Improved Town; Gordon Nelson (director, Federation of Master Builders Scotland) speaking on the importance of the small and medium sized builders to the diversity and supply of new housing; Ian Drummond (managing director, Taylor Wimpey East Scotland) addressing the opportunities and blockers in maintaining housing growth; Nicola Barclay (chief executive, Homes for Scotland) emphasising the need for change, challenge and collaboration in smoothing the path to increased housing delivery; Mark McEwen (general manager, Customer Service, Scottish Water) explaining how infrastructure to enable development was being put in place; Pam Ewen (senior manager, Planning, Fife Council) highlighting the importance of the housing building industry to achieving £3 billion investment in strategic growth within Fife; Hugh Hall (principal, Fife College) tailoring the training offered by Fife College to the future needs of the construction industry; and John Mills (head of housing services, Fife Council) showing that affordable housing is key to the reduction of poverty in Fife.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to address the House Builders Forum, particularly in light of the ongoing collaboration between Homes for Scotland and Fife Council to support the delivery of more homes of all tenures across Fife.  The key themes of change, challenge and collaboration that I highlighted in my speech must remain the focus for Fife and all other authorities if we are to strengthen trust and resolve to work together to deliver more homes.”

The Forum was chaired by Councillor Altany Craik (convenor, economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee, Fife Council) who added: “It is pleasing to see the commitment of all parts of the development community to delivering investment, skills, jobs and, above all, houses for the people of Fife. The prospects for further growth in the house building sector are good and Fife Council will work with the industry to sustain and increase this growth. Central to this is the highly successful Affordable Housing Programme and the council’s continuing drive to build on the previous success of 2,700 affordable homes already on the ground.”

Milestone reached on £100m Shieldhall Tunnel project

Shieldhall Tunnel progressA milestone has been reached on a £100 million Shieldhall Tunnel project in Glasgow.

The construction phase on Scotland’s biggest waste water tunnel is now complete, with the 1,000-tonne tunnel boring machine (TBM) ‘breaking through’ in Queen’s Park last week.

The TBM, named ‘Daisy the Driller’ by a Glasgow schoolboy, spent 15 months creating the 3.1-mile long sewer beneath the south of the city. The Costain VINCI Construction Grans Projets Joint Venture (CVJV) was set up to deliver the project.

Further construction and ancillary work will now be carried out including work to connect the tunnel to the existing waste water network before the tunnel becomes operational next summer.

Douglas Millican, Scottish Water’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have completed the construction phase of the Shieldhall Tunnel, which is the flagship project in Scottish Water’s investment in the waste water infrastructure in the Greater Glasgow area – the biggest in well over a century.

“The tunnel will improve water quality in the River Clyde and reduce the risk of flooding in a number of communities. As the Greater Glasgow area continues to develop, we are modernising our waste water infrastructure to support the needs of both existing and future customers.

“The completion of the Shieldhall Tunnel, which will increase capacity and alleviate pressure on the existing network by providing additional storm water storage, is a key part of that network modernisation.

“With Daisy the Driller having reached her destination, we have completed the most challenging part of the project. We now move to linking the tunnel to the existing Glasgow waste water network and bringing the whole new system into operation next year.”

Neil Grosset, project director for CVJV on the Shieldhall Tunnel, said: “All at Costain and VINCI Construction Grands Projets are delighted to have completed construction of the Shieldhall Tunnel for Scottish Water and the people of Glasgow.”

Blog: Project management – like never before! The technical team behind the Social Bite Village

Gill Henry, head of business development at The Cruden Group and project director of the Social Bite Village

Gill Henry, head of business development at The Cruden Group and project director of the Social Bite Village

In February of this year, Gill Henry, head of business development at The Cruden Group, agreed to take on the role of project director for the Social Bite Village in Edinburgh.

This exciting project is translating Social Bite’s co-founder, Josh Littlejohn’s vision to eradicate homelessness, into reality.

Initially agreeing to work pro-bono one day a week, Gill’s task was to oversee the design, manufacture and on-site delivery of a new community in Granton.

Inevitably, her role has grown exponentially as the project has developed and after several months of leading the technical team, she now takes this opportunity to explain some of the challenges and pressures of making this unique project actually happen.

From a standing start at the end of February this year, using contacts and relationships built up over many years by The Cruden Group, we assembled a multi-disciplined team without whom the project would simply not be where it is today.

In addition, we are also very fortunate that the profile of this project allowed us to engage much more closely than normal with both Scottish Power and Scottish Water, who, along with utility contractor, Clancy Dowcra, have joined the technical team and are working collaboratively with us to make this all happen.

The Social Bite Village technical team

The Social Bite Village technical team

Technical Team

  • Gill Henry – The Cruden Group – Project Director
  • Gill Cooke & Andy Nolan – Will Rudd – Project Engineers
  • Mike Armstrong – Pottie Wilson – Project Cost consultant
  • David Bell – Fouin & Bell – Project Architects
  • Anthony Keenan – Peter Graham & Partners – Principal Designer
  • James Culbertson and Kevin Keenan – Keenan Consultancy – Project M&E advisors
  • Tina Muldowney – Wardell Armstrong – Project Landscape Architect
  • Patrick Barry – Mason Evans – Site Investigation Consultants
  • Matt Stevenson – Carbon Dynamic – Nest house manufacturer
  • Jonathan Avery – Tiny House Scotland – Nest house designer
  • Bob Gould & Ronnie Bathgate – Robertson Group – Groundworker

The team has worked tirelessly to finalise the design of the nest houses with Tiny House designer Jonathon Avery and Carbon Dynamic who are manufacturing the units, develop the site layout, develop and brief and design for the hub, develop the site works and cut and fill design to minimise costs and to secure all necessary consents.

Identifying a suitable principal contractor has also been challenging as we are benefitting from so many free services and materials which the principal/main contractor will be required to co-ordinate.  Luckily we have the knowledge and experience of Mike Armstrong assisting in contractual arrangements which are slightly less standard than normal contracts.

Co-ordinating all of the above, in parallel with structuring legal agreements for the site with landowner EDI, finalising the necessary contracts for the various work packages and managing the site utilities to ensure the project is deliverable, has required a significant amount of resource, commitment and leadership from The Cruden Group.

The proposed site is currently overgrown, self seeded and has a significant slope from top to bottom.  It is also a well used through route for both pedestrians and cyclists. Because the village is temporary, it has been really important to minimise the cost of the infra-structure. We also have to obtain a caravan licence to allow Social Bite to occupy the village.  Working under caravan legislation, we don’t need a building warrant for the structures, just the drainage, which has significantly helped us to achieve the end date for completion.

Launch of the nest house prototype at St Andrew Square in Edinburgh

Launch of the nest house prototype at St Andrew Square in Edinburgh

Led by Gill Cooke, the project engineers Will Rudd worked closely with Mason Evans to identify how best to deal with the ground conditions in a manner that would produce a robust solution on a temporary basis whilst still meeting all the legislative requirements.

The units themselves are very light,  so the groundworks strategy involves scraping back the site, carrying out an extensive cut and fill exercise to platform the site for the units to sit on.  The excess material will be stored on site in a mound so we don’t have to take anything off site, which helps keep the site works cost as low as possible. The point loads of each unit are such that standard foundations are not required, just a layer of hardcore.

Thanks to Jen Knighton and her team at Scottish Water, the drainage and water consents have been in place for some time, well in advance of the planning consent being issued which is testament to the efforts Scottish Water have made to enable the project to start on site as early as possible. Equally, Deborah Philips and her team at Scottish Power have also played a significant role in co-ordination and delivery of multi utilities on site with sub-contractor Clancy Dowcra.

The project is gathering significant momentum now. We are currently finalising a Heads of Terms with EDI for the site and the plan is to now to get the project complete for the end of January 2018 – which is slightly later than originally planned but still only 10 months in total. We are aiming to demonstrate how this very innovative project can be delivered and then potentially rolled out on a more commercial basis.

Josh Littlejohn is extremely persuasive, very talented in mustering support and clear on his vision. With the assistance of Josh and Tony Hackney of BSW the team have collectively managed to procure as many services and materials free gratis as we can with the project benefitting from huge assistance from a wide variety of organisations and individuals.  Josh’s unerring determination and total inability to understand the word ‘no’ has created many challenges along the way for the technical team. At times, trying to translate his vision into practical reality within an extremely challenging programme has been both frustrating and stimulating in equal measures.

The house types set for the Social Bite Village

The house types set for the Social Bite Village

Every project management bone in my body shouts ‘NO NO NO’ on a daily basis, as the sequence and approach we are taking to actually make Josh’s vision happen goes against everything I would normally do in terms of managing a project and the risk associated with it.

However with this in mind we have been able to work, freed from the normal shackles and look at how to do things better, quicker and more innovatively.  It has demanded true partnership working and collaboration which I feel is one of the best outcomes of the project so far.  With everyone so supportive of the vision, we are all working outwith our normal comfort zones to make the project happen.

At time of writing, we are now in week 29 of the project and if I am being honest, I really did not think we would be at this stage so quickly when we didn’t even have a site, brief or design at the beginning of March.

The Carbon Dynamic team is also worth a serious mention. They have been utterly fantastic in terms of driving the project forward and having a prototype ready for St Andrews Square during the festival.

I was involved in installing the prototype on St Andrews Square which was quite possibly one of the most stressful days of my career. We arrived on site just after 5.30am to find two low loaders provided by Ferguson Transport containing the prototype and two forklifts. With tremendous assistance from Grant Stewart of Essential Edinburgh, the Carbon Dynamic team somehow managed to unload the house just as rush hour started and manoeuvre it over the gates, between the trees into position – which took almost 6 hours, the last hour or so under the watchful eye of the Scottish media!

How the Social Bite Village site is laid out

How the Social Bite Village site is laid out

We then spent 12 hours from 3pm in the afternoon to 3am in the morning on September 1, removing it from St Andrews Square on a busy Friday night and moving it out to and installing it at Edinburgh airport, which involved a large crane once we got to the airport.

These aren’t normally the types of activity I would be involved in, but given the profile of the project and the amazing commitment shown by all the partners I am lucky enough to be working with, I felt it was important to assist and lead these moves to ensure the team understands their valuable contributions are genuinely appreciated, which for me, is a big part of being the Project Director especially when most parties are all working on this for no commercial return.

I have no doubt that this project will be delivered.  Whether I will be sane and not an alcoholic at the end of it remains to be seen!  However despite the complexities and frustrations, I am thrilled to be leading the project and to be working with such a fabulous team on what I believe is a particularly important project which will change the way homelessness is managed in Scotland.

I would also like to thank The Cruden Group who have been fantastically supportive in allowing me time to service the project to a significantly greater extent than any of us ever envisaged at the outset.  The Group will also be participating in the “Sleep in the Park” event on December 9.

Shieldhall Tunnel in Glasgow reaches half way stage

ShieldhallTunnelhalfway755x300Construction of the biggest waste water tunnel ever to be built in Scotland has reached the half-way stage.

Scottish Water’s flagship Shieldhall Tunnel project, in the south of Glasgow, passed the milestone yesterday when the state-of-the-art tunnel boring machine (TBM) building it reached a point under Pollok Park.

The £100 million tunnel, which will enable Scottish Water to improve water quality in the River Clyde and tackle flooding, will at 3.1 miles long be five times longer than the Clyde Tunnel.

Engineers working on the 1000 tonne, 180-metre-long TBM, started construction when it was launched last July and are expected to complete it later this year.

This week they installed a full circle of giant concrete rings that form the tunnel at a point about 10 metres (about 32 feet) under the east of Pollok Park that is 1.55 miles along the route – the exact midway point of the tunnel.
Having reached the half-way stage, the work so far has produced some interesting facts and figures including:

  • More than 1600 concrete rings of the tunnel (which are 1.5m-long) have been completed – each made up of six curved pre-cast concrete segments weighing 2.5 tonnes each which create a full circle when installed.
  • More than 150,000 tonnes of earth, stone, clay and other aggregates has been excavated.
  • More than one million man hours of work have been completed on its construction
  • The first half of the tunnel would be able to store the equivalent in waste water of 18 Olympic-sized swimming pools
  • More than 90% of the excavated material will be recycled.
  • More than 7.5 miles (12 km) of pipes have been installed in the first half of the tunnel to service the TBM with air and water.

Paul Kerr, Scottish Water’s capital investment general manager, said: “We are delighted to have reached this milestone half-way stage in the tunnel construction.

“The Shieldhall Tunnel team includes some of the best and most experienced tunnellers in the world and they are making great progress with what is the biggest project of its type Scottish Water has ever undertaken.”

The TBM is tunnelling at a speed of about two millimetres per minute, with a rotating cutting wheel with 25 cutters at the front, through challenging ground which includes boulders, clay, hard sandstone, glacial tills and old coal workings.

The first half of the tunnel construction has taken it under Bellahouston Park, the Glasgow Paisley Canal railway line and the M77.

As it inches its way along the route, preparatory work is progressing at Queens Park where, in the past few days, work has been continuing on the construction of an exit shaft for the TBM and a smaller tunnel from that shaft to another shaft which will use a newly-installed flume to connect the tunnel to the existing network.

The route of the tunnel was chosen to maximise the use of parkland and minimise disruption.

The tunnel, which at 4.7 metres in diameter will be big enough to fit a double decker bus inside, is a key part of Scottish Water’s £250m, five-year programme of work, launched in 2013, to improve river water quality and the natural environment.

The programme is the biggest investment in the Greater Glasgow area’s waste water infrastructure in more than a century.

The tunnel will enable Scottish Water to improve water quality in the River Clyde and its tributaries and tackle flooding in various parts of the south of Glasgow area.

The team building the Shieldhall Tunnel for Scottish Water, known as the Glasgow Tunnel Partnership, is a commercial joint venture between Costain and VINCI Construction Grands Projets (corr.) called CVJV. Costain and VINCI have been involved in some of the world’s major engineering projects, including the Channel Tunnel.

Worker injured in AWPR accident

Milltimber BraeA full investigation has been launched into the cause of an accident which resulted in a worker on the new Aberdeen bypass being taken to hospital yesterday.

Emergency crews were called out following reports that the man had become trapped after being crushed by part of a pipe.

The incident happened at Milltimber Brae just before 11am.

The man, who was a contractor working for Scottish Water, reportedly suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.

It has been reported by Aberdeen Evening Express that he sustained a broken leg and ribs.

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We received a call at 10.50am today to attend an incident near Milltimber Brae.

“We dispatched one ambulance and our special operations response team to the scene.

“A male patient in his fifties was taken to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.”

Transport Scotland confirmed a “full investigation” had been launched.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We understand that an operative working on behalf of Scottish Water has been involved in an incident and has been taken to hospital.

“Transport Scotland takes the safety of all those people working in and around major infrastructure projects such as the AWPR/B-T project very seriously and a full investigation has been launched to establish the cause of this accident.”

A spokesman from Scottish Water added: “A contractor working for Scottish Water has been taken to hospital after being involved in an incident at a site near the A93 in Deeside.

“A full investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched.

“Scottish Water takes health and safety very seriously and it is a top priority on all of our sites and we will work with our contractor and the Health and Safety Executive to find out the cause of this accident.

“Our main concern at the moment is the wellbeing of the injured man.”

Springburn households benefit from multi-million pound flooding investment

Scottish Water north Glasgow flooding project 2 - credit SNS PhotographyTwo major projects to tackle flooding that has affected 47 properties in the Springburn area of Glasgow have been completed as part of Scottish Water’s ongoing £250 million upgrade to the city’s waste water infrastructure.

The projects, which involved a total investment of more than £16m, will reduce the risk of flooding which has affected 34 properties in the Elmvale Row area and 13 in the Avonspark Street area nearby.

The £12.5m Elmvale Row project included the installation of two giant storage tanks, providing 13,500 cubic metres of storm water storage in the sewer network, to alleviate the surcharging of the sewer system.

The tanks, which were pictured from a 140 feet tall crane during their construction, are now invisible to people at ground level after the grassy area that existed before the project began was reinstated and prepared for landscaping and the installation of public paths and shrubbery in due course.

Scottish Water north Glasgow flooding project 3 - credit SNS PhotographyProperties in the Elmvale Row area have experienced recurring problems with flooding for a number of years, including flooding to garages, car parks and roadways.

The risk of this happening again has been substantially reduced with the completion of the two-year project, which is part of Scottish Water’s investment to improve river water quality in the River Clyde and its tributaries and alleviate sewer flooding.

To minimise the risk of flooding, amey Black & Veatch (aBV), Scottish Water’s delivery partners, installed new storm storage that included the two large circular tanks, which are each about 25 metres (82 feet) in diameter and 18 metres (60 feet) deep.

Pumps were installed in the tanks to form a storm return system which will return the storm water stored in the tanks back into the sewer system once the storm conditions have abated. A control kiosk was installed beside the tanks.

The project also included the upsizing of about 400 metres of waste water pipes in Elmvale Row, Elmvale Street, Ratho Drive, Fernbank Street and Hawthorn Street.

More than 12,000 tonnes of material, including rock, was removed from the project site to level the ground before construction started.

The final stages of work included the installation of channel kerbs in Elmvale Row and Fernbank Street, which have created additional storage capacity for excess rain water from the road gullies.

Meanwhile, Scottish Water and aBV have also completed a £4m project to tackle flooding that has affected properties in Avonspark Street and Edgefauld Road.

Scottish Water north Glasgow flooding project - credit SNS PhotographyThe project, which started in September 2015, included the installation of a 2,500 cubic metre capacity storm water storage tank in the sewer network to alleviate the surcharging of the system. The tank is 20 metres in diameter and 16 metres below ground level.

Chris Wilcock, a flooding team leader with Scottish Water, said: “Scottish Water is delighted to have completed these two very important projects, which are key parts of our overall investment in our waste water infrastructure across the Greater Glasgow area.

“We are committed to doing all we can to help communities and customers by playing our part in tackling flooding and dealing with the impact of heavy rainfall.

“A number of properties in the Elmvale Row and Avonspark Street areas have suffered from recurring flooding over a number of years and we fully appreciate the inconvenience this can cause. We know that affected customers will welcome the completion of improvements to our network in the area.”

The projects are part of Scottish Water’s 2015-21 Business Plan commitment to remove all customers from the internal sewer flooding register (those with a 10 per cent or greater chance of flooding occurring per annum) as quickly as possible and typically within four years.

Scottish Water has alliance partners to deliver upgrades, maintenance and new infrastructure assets for the people of Scotland in the 2015-21 investment period.

All images courtesy of SNS Photography

Blog: Three things the construction industry needs to know about working smarter

Lynsey Lennon

Lynsey Lennon

By Lynsey Lennon, performance team leader – alliance management, Scottish Water

Last month I was invited to talk to a room full of hundreds of construction professionals about improving their productivity. The idea was a bit daunting at first – because let’s be honest, most people’s first thought when you mention the P word is that someone wants them to work harder and for longer.

But the truth is very different. It’s not about working people into the ground and squeezing every last ounce of resource from them, it’s about working smarter and doing more with the resources available to us by innovating, becoming more efficient and more productive.

I was invited to address delegates at Construction Scotland’s 2016 conference because Scottish Water’s new efficiency drive has ideas for everyone, regardless of what part of the construction industry they operate in.

Improving our efficiency was driven by our regulator, but we wanted to make the most of the challenge to benefit our customers and partners too. We didn’t have enough knowledge of this area internally so we brought in a consultant with expertise in improving productivity and a proven track record of working across the construction industry. Thanks to knowledge transfer and training, we were able to build our internal capability that would allow us to develop and control our own productivity improvement in the longer term.

Our three key learnings, I’ve since realised, are relevant to almost everyone within the industry. The first one is about understanding what your repeatable tasks are. For example, ours could be installing rebar, concrete shuttering and sheet piling. Your repeatable tasks might be completely different from ours, but the theory is the same. Once you understand these elements you can plan and resource your work more efficiently. For those repeatable tasks, are there some teams who are delivering them much more efficiently than others? If you can identify which sites or teams are doing these tasks the best then you can replicate their technique and working pattern elsewhere.

When we compared the productivity of our different squads, we found that one squad on our water pipe relining programme had a much higher production rate than others. We wondered what they were doing so well and what best practice they could share across other squads. It turns out they were using the second part of the working day to prepare for the next day – they were sending part of squad ahead to do the launch of reception pits for the next day’s relining. Believe it or not, this made the difference between relining 250m of piping a week and relining 400m of piping a week. Everyone was a winner here, as by spending less time working on the roads under traffic management, we were causing less disruption to the public. This squad was using their full working window, and had the right number of people, so we’re now trialling that working pattern across other projects.

The second lesson for us was collaborative planning. This is a lean technique that can be used on construction projects of any size, and is working extremely well for us. It’s about getting your design team, construction teams, suppliers, sub-contractors, and any other key stakeholders into one room and starting to understand all the interdependencies in the different areas of the project. The aim is to pull out any risks to your programme, any clashes or risks to delivery.

Project programmes can sometimes be created by one person in isolation, using data from many different sources. They tend to have quite a few assumptions in them, such as standard durations which can later come back to bite you. For example, an electrical panel was due to be installed in November in a pumping station, but the heating wasn’t due to be installed at that point, so if this had gone ahead, condensation could have potentially caused thousands of pounds of damage to the panel. Typically we find two or three of these issues in each collaborative planning session, so it is really worthwhile. It also builds up trust and relationships – people get to meet each other and put a face to the name at the end of the email, which helps enormously. There was a little resistance to the collaborative planning sessions at first, but now our alliance partners are all really positive and find it really useful – the proven success of this method to date helps get buy-in from our colleagues.

The final key point is all about people. You must take all your people with you on the journey and everyone needs to be on board, from senior management to site agents and foremen. The people at the highest level have a clear financial incentive to improve productivity – after all, it boosts profit. But what about apprentices and steel fixers on the ground – why should they get on board?

Listen to the people who are actually doing the work, and they are more likely to listen to you. They know what a lot of the problems are and they can give you very valuable feedback. Our people have told us that many things affecting our productivity on site have happened way before the job even gets to site – so we’ve had to hold a mirror up to ourselves and ask what we need to do differently, and that’s great because it’s all part of collaboration. Our alliance partners and some of our Tier 1 contractors have identified productivity champions within their organisations who help implement the initiative, and they work closely with our in house team. Our journey is still in the early stages, but it has been a genuine team approach and so far it is going really well.

Working smarter is the future – and I’m confident that by working collaboratively as an industry, we will deliver better futures for our businesses and for our customers.

To find out more about the Profit through Productivity programme, visit

The next free event in the Profit through Productivity programme is:

Business Breakfast – Lean essentials

Explore ways of using lean techniques to improve productivity and reduce production costs.

Date: 17th November 2016

Time: 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Location: Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde, 99 George Street, Glasgow G1 1RD


Scottish Water unveils £9m fund for solar power projects

Solar panelsScottish Water has announced a new £9 million fund to help create solar power projects at its sites across the country.

Four contractors have now been selected to develop, design and install photovoltaic (PV) cells to contribute towards national renewable energy targets. The successful companies are; Absolute Solar & Wind Ltd, FES Ltd, Saliis Ltd, and Styles & Wood Ltd.

The framework has been set up by the utility’s subsidiary, Scottish Water Horizons, and will run for an initial period of one-year with two further one-year extensions.

Andrew Macdonald, head of Scottish Water Horizons, said: “This investment further demonstrates Scottish Water’s commitment to reducing energy costs and ultimately keeping bills as low as possible for customers.

“Through use of technologies such as solar panels, several of our water works can now generate at least all – and in some cases more – of the energy they need to operate.

“Not only does this benefit Scottish Water but it contributes to national renewable energy targets.

“We’re pleased to be working with experts in the sector to improve our provision of renewable energy and help maintain Scottish Water’s place as one of the best value providers of water in the UK.”