Leaders Of Tomorrow

4 July 2013

Costain attended a construction industry seminar hosted by City law firm Pinsent Masons to show how improvements have been made in procuring and implementing major projects.

The event brought together industry professionals who are likely to be leading the construction and infrastructure sectors in the future. Representatives included companies involved in procuring and delivering various combinations of design, finance, construction and maintenance of complex and critical infrastructure assets.

The event, called Construction Industry Leaders of Tomorrow, focused on how to achieve success in three critical areas: Contractual and Commercial Frameworks, Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Early Engagement of the Supply Chain.

Oliver O’Brien, an Investment Analyst at Costain, attended on behalf of Costain, with Network Rail’s Daniel Lacey, a Procurement Manager on the Reading Station Area Redevelopment Programme.

Citing a number of Network Rail projects as examples, Oliver and Daniel delivered a joint presentation using both the Thameslink programme (Farringdon Station and London Bridge Station) and the Reading Station Area Redevelopment Programme (Reading Station and Reading Viaduct) as case studies.

Oliver and Daniel explained how Costain and Network Rail, working as an integrated team, sought to achieve project success through collaborative learning. The lessons learned on one project were then carried forward to the next project in the programme.

“As an industry it is important that we continue to develop how we procure and implement major projects. A significant part of this development lies in analysing and refining the critical success factors in project procurement and then carrying this learning onto future projects,” said Oliver.

Costain has used these principles to become the first construction company in the UK to be awarded BS11000 Status, a British Standard for Collaborative Business Relationship Management Systems, for its work on the Reading Station Redevelopment programme. The Standard denotes that an organisation has demonstrated that it accurately assesses both itself and potential partners in terms of technical attributes and cultural fit.

In terms of Early Engagement of the Supply Chain, the lessons learned on the Reading Station Project within the Reading Area Redevelopment Programme, were then transferred to the next project, the Reading Viaduct. The lessons learned, from logistical challenges for example, helped Network Rail engage with its supply chain at the right stage and with the right people.

Oliver and Daniel then gave examples about how using innovative technology, like Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Augmented Reality (AR), has helped in the procurement and delivery of their projects.  Costain has used BIM, which allows engineers to generate and manage an enormous amount of data, on a number of major contracts, including Bond Street and London Bridge, and it is now seen as an invaluable component in the construction process.  AR, meanwhile, takes a real-world environment, such as a construction project, and augments it with computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Construction data from a project can be rendered onto a screen to build up an image of the finished project while also highlighting any potential problems or obstacles in the construction process. 

Oliver believes the key to achieving success in these three critical areas has come about through continuous learning and then trying to apply these lessons on different projects across the business.

“Costain’s culture of knowledge sharing and innovation has allowed us to achieve this. We are continuously trying to improve and innovate within our business and also in the way we deliver projects for our customers,” said Oliver.