Drive On Innovation

28 May 2014

Costain’s Contract Leaders are calling on entrepreneurs, innovationists and businesses to become involved with Blue Innovation Futures and address some of the technical and operational challenges their project teams face while working on site.

Blue Innovation Futures 2014 was launched earlier this month to get innovators to submit new and exciting ideas that could make a difference to Costain’s business and benefit the wider industry. Costain’s Contract Leaders Board (CLB) comprises 20 senior contract leaders from across the business, representing all aspects of Costain’s operating sectors and service lines.

Barry Woodman, Programme Director on the Hammersmith Flyover Refurbishment Project in west London and a member of the CLB, said: “As a Company we pride ourselves on working with our customers to provide innovative solutions that meet the technical demands of our projects, whether it’s harnessing new technology or applying a fresh approach to tackling old problems, but we are always looking for new ideas. Blue Innovation Futures gives members of the general public an opportunity to get involved by offering solutions to some of the problems we face on site.”

Blue Innovation was set up to support Costain’s Engineering Tomorrow strategy, the Group’s commitment to identifying, developing and implementing innovation in order to meet the UK’s need for strategic national infrastructure.

We asked two of Costain’s Contract Leaders to give an example of what they need on site. John Skentelbery, Project Director at Harbour Way, said Costain would benefit from a cost effective, single personal data management system that can collect data about the workforce. Linking to an individual’s competence and training, the data would be used to manage access on to the construction site by providing security clearance information above and below ground based on their skills.

“The system would provide assurances that we have the right people on specific jobs, therefore it needs to be able to integrate into our current system, including that of our customers. Being able to collect ‘big data sets’ will allow us to analyse and make decisions based on the information. This is a good challenge for a business or a group of businesses that could see a leading market solution come to market,” said John.

Matt Blackwell, Costain’s Head of Building Information Modelling (BIM), highlighted an issue that came up in conversation with engineers who work in a live rail environment, particularly those working near demolition and excavation work, which could further improve health and safety on site.

“On one of our major contracts we are working in a live rail environment where the demolition and excavation work requires the use of plant machinery, including excavators. The site team has a robust regime for ensuring that these machines cannot foul the live railway lines they are working next to.  This currently involves using stop blocks to prevent the machines from physically reaching the live rails and slew restrictors attached to the excavators. However, speaking to our engineers on the ground, they said what would be ideal is an automated system which would create a boundary zone within which the machines could move freely but would ensure they cut out if the zone boundary was breached. Engineers on site have searched the market for such a system but currently there is no such product on the market,” said Matt.

Costain’s leadership team has already hosted Blue Innovation Futures events in Edinburgh, Manchester and Sheffield. There are two events to come in Cardiff (June 3rd) and London (June 5th) where the Company hopes to identify new products and services that will help it meet its operational challenges and the needs of its customers.

If you’re interested, then please register below and include some basic detail about your idea.

To register, please click on the following link:

The Innovation Portal

For further information, click on the link below:

Engineering Tomorrow

Or email: