Paisley project triumphs at prestigious New Civil Engineer awards

Scottish Water’s £17 million investment project in Paisley’s waste water infrastructure has scooped an international award at this year’s New Civil Engineer Tunnelling Festival Awards – awards which recognise excellence in the tunnelling industry.

Paisley project triumphs at prestigious New Civil Engineer awards

A well-deserved accolade for the great work that was done with St Charles Primary School during the project delivery, the project team picked up the award for Community Engagement Initiative of the Year at a ceremony in London on December 5.

Individuals and organisations across the geo-tech industry were honoured across 16 categories in a night of recognition dedicated to celebrating exceptional achievement.

This major engineering project involved the construction of a one mile–long sewer under the streets of Paisley and the installation of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). Three different diameter Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) and an auger bore were used to dig the tunnel which was installed at depths between 4 – 25 metres.

Work was undertaken in a busy, urban environment and while the route of the sewer tunnel was chosen to minimise disruption for local residents, road users and businesses, some disruption was unavoidable. Some of the roadworks in place during the project meant disruption for pupils and families on the school run to the local primary school, St Charles Primary, couldn’t be avoided and so it became a key focus for community engagement work.

The importance of working with local communities and understanding community needs was something which was very high on the agenda for the project team in Paisley. They were fully aware that this would ensure successful project delivery.

Brian Boland, project manager for Scottish Water, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have won this award – it’s great recognition of all the hard work the project team did to deliver this project as smoothly as possible, and it’s also fantastic that our engagement work with the school has been held in such high regard within the industry.

“Huge thanks to all the volunteers from our project team who gave their time to carry out activities that helped improve the visual appearance of the school playground and the school environment. It’s been great to leave a legacy and help make a difference for local people.”

Just some of the activities the team undertook for the school included building and installing raised plant beds so that the pupils can get involved in gardening, painting, installing welly pallets made out of recycled pallets – a place for the kids to keep their welly boots, repairing concrete steps in the playground, and upgrading the school’s adventure playground for the pupils to enjoy. A competition run in conjunction with the school led to the naming of one of the Tunnel Boring Machines on the project – “Tunnelling Tanya”.

The tunnelling project to improve the water quality and natural environment in the Espedair Burn and White Cart Water, and tackle flooding in the Paisley area was completed in June 2019. Construction first began in autumn 2016.

The team working on this investment project included Scottish Water employees from varying specialisms, staff from delivery partner Amey, and specialist subcontractors including V.J. Donegan & Co. Ltd.

Speaking about the awards, New Civil Engineer editor Mark Hansford said: “This was the tenth running of the New Civil Engineer Tunnelling Awards. In those ten years I can’t think of a time when we were more in need of reasons to celebrate success. Thankfully, this year’s entrants gave us those reasons in so many ways.

“The projects, the innovations, and the teams that we judged were exceptional and prove – once again – that this is an industry that delivers for clients, and for society at large. I’d like to congratulate everyone on the shortlist - getting to the final stage was not an easy task this year – but we have some very worthy winners this year who should be proud of their achievement. Congratulations once again to all the winners and those shortlisted, and a huge thank you to our judges, sponsors and supporters.”

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