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New Thinking Speeds Severn Trent Contract

22 September 2014

New ways of working have helped Costain reduce the time needed to improve Severn Trent Water’s Strensham water treatment works in Worcestershire.

Driven by the challenging efficiency targets set by the client, Costain and design partners MWH have implemented factory thinking, lean engineering and collaborative planning techniques to reduce the time needed to refurbish each of 21 rapid gravity filters from 40 days to just 20.  

Andy King, Commercial Manager for Severn Trent Water, commented: “In order to achieve the AMP5 efficiencies a different way of working needed to be undertaken.  It was great to see how the project team have responded to the challenge.”

“The site has to remain operational at all times so speed is of the essence when it comes to carrying out the work,” said Matt Crabtree, Costain Water Sector Director.

Temporary access platforms, manufactured off site, have provided safe access into the filters during the refurbishment. These platforms have also eliminated the need to build access scaffolding within each filter providing a time saving of four days per filter. The structural steelwork, pipe supports, pipework, hand-railing and flooring all come assembled as one complete unit minimising on site working at height issues. The pipework is also pressure tested off site so, once a filter is offline, it can be quickly assembled. Once the team has completed a filter, it analyses the work done and looks at how it could do the next one better. “That way,” said Matt, “the potential for improvement is two-fold – from the factory thinking and the lean collaborative planning approach.”

The £8.6 million Strensham contract is one of the first where Costain has adopted a more standardised, systems-led engineering approach. But, said Matt, it certainly won’t be the last: “We’ll be looking to use these techniques on similar projects in AMP6 in order to help our customers deliver new assets more effectively.”

Said Chris Vice, Costain Delivery Manager for the project: “I am particularly proud of the way the Supply Chain and Severn Trent Water have embraced our collaborative planning approach and using lessons learned to reduce the time taken to refurbish each filter by 50%. This has enabled us to reduce the overall duration from an initial 88 weeks to the current planned 45 weeks.”

The Strensham contract is on course to be completed early next year.




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