Opening The Door To Public Engagement

17 October 2013

Costain gave London residents a rare inside look at projects that will help ensure their lights stay on and improve their travelling experience in coming years.

The Group opened up the National Grid – London Power Tunnels project and the Paddington Crossrail station site as part of Open Doors Weekend 2013.

Open Doors is a UK-wide initiative that invites the public to visit a construction site in their area. It is the result of a partnership between UK Construction Group, CITB-Construction Skills, the Considerate Constructors Scheme and the Chartered Institute of Building.

It shows the career opportunities that construction has to offer and the range of skills that come together to make buildings and infrastructure part of our everyday lives.  It also demonstrates the importance of construction to both the national and regional economies.

More than 20 organisations opened 75 sites across the country for the event.

At Willesden Junction, west London, Costain opened up the National Grid Energy Education Centre, which explains the development of the energy system throughout the capital.

The Centre usually provides tours for groups from schools, colleges and universities during term time, but is not normally open to the general public.

Costain is driving three tunnels deep under London that will carry 400kV cables to provide the extra capacity for National Grid to ensure that power supplies are equal to the demands placed on them by householders and commerce beyond 2015. Costain has been tunnelling for two years now, with another year before completion.

Residents from surrounding boroughs and further afield were able to take a tour and learn about the project, as well as the world of construction and tunnelling.

Visitors could also step inside a mock-up of a section of tunnel at the centre, to give them some idea of the scale of the work that is going on every day beneath their feet.

Costain and National Grid staff were on hand to explain the details of the project.

“It went very well,” said site Assistant Administration Manager, Patricia Walker. “People seemed generally intrigued and interested by what they saw.”

At Paddington, meanwhile, the Costain Skanska jv facilitated three visits, taking more than 60 guests through a journey of the construction with presentations from site engineers, a visit to site and then a demonstration of Building Information Modelling using the project’s multi-dimensional simulation room. 

Paddington Crossrail was, for the second year running, one of the first nationally to fill all of its allocated slots and extended its numbers to meet demand.

The site visit took place using a raised pedestrian access, which provided an elevated view of the site and part of the underground excavation.

Engineers Sam Reed and Richard Martin gave presentations to the groups, talking about their first-hand experiences and the complexity of the project. “It was great to support the Open Doors event and to be able to show people the exciting work that we do,” said Sam.

“It is not often that we have the opportunity show the general public our work before it is completed. This was a brilliant opportunity to showcase the work that we are so proud to be building.”