09 September 2015
Costain’s work on Southern Water’s multi-award-winning Cleaner Seas for Sussex project has been described as ‘industry leading’ by a panel of its peers.
The £300 million project, which was undertaken by the 4Delivery joint venture consisting of Veolia Water, MWH and Costain, was a four-year job to provide new wastewater treatment works to serve Brighton and Hove, on the south coast of England.
It involved miles of tunnelling and an advanced treatment plant concealed in a fold in the ground and with one of the largest living ‘green roofs’ in Europe, designed to blend the building in with the surrounding downland.
The project was entered for the Association for Project Management annual awards as Project of the Year and was shortlisted, said Project Director, Graham Sugrue. It took the runner-up spot but, when the judges were visiting the site, “They said that the work that we had done was industry-leading. It was something that hadn’t been done before.”
To ease the process of having a remotely-located design team, a ‘buddy system’ was set up, where the designers for particular elements of the scheme were linked with the engineer for that part of the project on site.
“I felt there were ways we could work with the design team more efficiently, and started thinking about how we could break up the project into separate components – for example, the earthworks or steel work for each structure, and get the designer responsible for each component to ‘buddy up’ with an engineer with relevant experience.
“They’d then work together to create that element of the design.
“At the early stages of the project, the engineers visited the design offices weekly to discuss issues with their counterparts in the design team. Subsequently, meetings took place using Lync technology, enabling video links and screen sharing, improving efficiency while maintaining effectiveness.
“As well as helping to eliminate wastage and avoid delays, the collaborative atmosphere generated through the buddy system helped the design and engineering teams turn some very innovative designs into real-world structures.
“During the visit to the site the judges said they were very pleased with certain things we were doing. ‘Buddying-up’ some of our team with the designers was innovative.”
Costain Communications Department