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The digital transformation of the construction sector

NO V E MB E R 2 0 18


Global Switch

How intelligent buildings are reshaping the education sector

Paul Vaccaro on delivering customer-focused digital solutions

Sustainable data centre solutions

TOP 10

Construction companies in Europe


Andrew Woods. . . . . . . . . . . . . . MANAGING EDITOR

Olivia Minnock. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CREATIVE DIRECTOR


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Daniel Crawford. . . . . . . . . . . . CREATIVE TEAM

Frazer Jones.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mitchell Park. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lucie Miller. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hollie Crofts–Morris.. . . . . Erin Hancox.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alicia Lolotte. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PRODUCTION DIRECTOR

Georgia Allen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE

Daniela Kianickova. . . . . . DIGITAL VIDEO DIRECTOR

Josh Trett. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .




Emily Amos.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

William Phillips. . . . . . . . . . . . . SOCIAL MEDIA EXECUTIVE

Callum Rivett. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PROJECT DIRECTORS

Stuart Irving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Heykel Ouni. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Richard Durrant. . . . . . . . . . . . Charlotte Clarke. . . . . . . . . . . . Arron Rampling. . . . . . . . . . . . Tom Venturo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Alex Barron. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UK MANAGING DIRECTOR

James Pepper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

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elcome to a packed November issue of Construction Global. Our cover story this month centres on Infomart Data Centers. As the guardian of some of your most valuable data assets, choosing a data centre is no small undertaking. Location, expertise of staff and upholding best practices are just some of the key points to consider before selecting the right facility. Paul Vaccaro, Senior Vice President of Operations & Engineering at Infomart Data Centers, believes that his company ticks all the boxes. Yet, he says what really gives Infomart a competitive edge is its ability to go the extra mile to meet its clients’ needs. In doing so, Infomart aims to serve as an extension of its customers’ teams. Elsewhere we talk construction in the cloud with a talented trio at Oracle which is at the forefront of the digital transformation of the construction industry. We chat with Mike Sicilia

(SVP & GM at Oracle’s Construction & Engineering Global Business Unit), Leigh Jasper (co-founder of Aconex and VP, Aconex Strategy and Operations at Oracle) and Mike Antis (co-founder of Textura and VP, Client Services at Oracle Construction & Engineering). 03

Plus, there’s an insightful interview with Ray Hutchinson, Managing Director of award-winning construction and fit-out contractor Gilbert-Ash about its holistic approach to building educational projects. This month also features Sirius Metals, Global Switch, the City of Helsinki, Blockbase and the Top 10 biggest data centres in the world. Enjoy the issue! Andrew Woods.

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Construction in the cloud with Oracle 04



Top 10


construction companies in Europe Gilbert–Ash – INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS

52 Infomart Data Centers 05

70 Sirius Minerals

88 Global Switch


102 City of Helsinki

120 Blockbase

134 Terracon

166 Wilsonart

150 Align Communications

182 Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction P.L.C



Construction in the cloud with Oracle We spoke with a talented trio at Oracle who are at the forefront of the digital transformation of the construction industry — meet Mike Sicilia, Leigh Jasper and Mike Antis… WRITTEN BY




Oracle is involved in the ongoing restoration of London’s iconic Battersea Power Station w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



he genesis of Oracle’s expansion into the construction industry started ten years ago

and ramped significantly when Mike

Sicilia, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Oracle Construction & Engineering Global Business Unit, joined Oracle as part of the acquisition of Primavera in 2011. “Over the past decade we’ve grown the business organically,” explains Sicilia. “And through further acquisitions (including Aconex and Textura) 10

continued to expand the footprint of our construction solutions from project scheduling to payment, document management, collaboration tools and general business process automation as part of a global business unit for

The acquisition of Aconex has further

construction and engineering.” The

beefed up Oracle’s Construction offering.

Global Business Unit focuses on

“As part of a common set of solutions

enterprise project portfolio manage-

on a shared platform, Aconex brings

ment solutions for project-intensive

the ability to have a wide set of tools to

industries utilising Primavera’s

manage your project or asset all the way

cloud-based SaaS solution P6EPPM

through its different phases,” affirms

– touted as the world’s most powerful,

Leigh Jasper, co-founder of Aconex,

flexible and easy to use solution for

and its Vice President of Strategy and

prioritising, managing and executing

Operations at Oracle. “These comple-

projects, programs and portfolios and

mentary solutions lead the market in

used in $250bn of projects annually.

terms of what they’re able to deliver as


“Through further acquisitions (including Aconex and Textura) we continued to expand the footprint of our construction solutions from project scheduling to payment, document management, collaboration tools and general business process automation” — Mike Cicilia Senior Vice President & General Manager, Oracle Construction & Engineering Global Business Unit

a unified package for our customers who are excited to be able to combine the functions of products from Oracle, Aconex and Textura in one suite. We offer a cloud first approach and I believe you can’t get a better set of products under one roof anywhere else in the market.” More than 16,000 project leaders trust Aconex for visibility, control, reduced risk, and connecting teams for design and construction coordination, project controls, w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



and field management delivering a speedy ROI with software that can be deployed in days. Jasper believes reacting to continual feedback from customers has been the key to success. “When we started nearly 20 years ago digitising was a completely new way of managing the information load so we educated customers as to how they could use the technology and also learned from them to drive the evolution of these solutions. With the advent of the internet, rather than having informa12

tion sitting within individual enterprises, we were able to create a common data environment (CDE) where everybody can access the information they need and rely on a single source of truth which drives efficiency gains and reduces risk on any size of project.” Aconex has the capability to control projects with thousands of participants as well as millions of documents, 3D models, BIM coordination, processes and decisions while maintaining insight and control each step of the way. “No matter where you are – in the office, field or trailer – your project is always at your fingertips,” adds Jasper. “We’ve connected more construction and engineering teams than any platform to deliver over a trillion dollars in project value.” These projects include the ongoing restoration of NOVEMBER 2018

$40bn Total GAAP revenue in FY 2018

25,000 partners 139,000 Approximate number of employees


London’s iconic Battersea Power Station, a huge rail infrastructure development in Qatar and New Zealand’s Nga Awa Purua geothermal power station. Making it a triple threat for Oracle’s Construction & Engineering division, Textura were brought into the fold to transform the financial mind set as there were very few solutions on the market able to solve the structural financing issues that have plagued construction projects in the supply chain. “We offer a billing claims mana gement solution that also covers payments to meet the w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


growing concern in the industry around

tive. We try to offer value to all parties

late payments to contractors,” explains

in the supply chain, not just those who

Mike Antis, co-founder of Textura and

purchase the solution. Our goal is to

Vice President of Client Services at

deliver value to everybody in the

Oracle Construction & Engineering.

ecosystem so the purchaser gets the

“We enhance visibility in the process


most value possible through their supply

and speed it along. We also offer

chain.” Antis believes the mobile

a financing capability which gets money

capability of Oracle’s suite of solutions

in the hands of the subcontractors

– including Textura’s Construction

much earlier in the process with the

Payment Management (CPM) – is putting

goal of improving the working capital

real time data for informed business

position and strengthening business.

decisions in the hands of users. “It’s

We’re cloud native, collaborative and

a game changer,” he enthuses. “And it’s

very high touch from a service perspec-

where the industry has really arrived.”



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With the expansion and transformation of companies like Oracle what will this mean to the development of the construction industry? “What we’re seeing is the acceleration of digital transformation,” maintains Jasper. “Many firms started this journey with their customers back in the nineties and it’s come about by bringing these solutions together into common platforms. It’s hard for our customers buying from different vendors to cobble something together... It’s really important to digitise and bring tools together 16

in one place – we’re connecting those dots and reducing a five-year journey into a matter of months or weeks to achieve implementation.” Oracle’s range of solutions are available on a modular basis so compa-

tion customers solve not just discrete

nies can start addressing document,

business problems during the planning,

payment or scheduling business

building or operating phase, but also

problems individually and gradually

addressing issues like IoT registration,”

add more options over time as their

asserts Sicilia. “Visit any job site and

needs change. Supported by syner-

you’ll encounter drones, sensors,

gies across the business at Oracle,

wearables… All of these become

the Construction & Engineering division

end users of the software so the

draws on these in-house alliances to

challenge is to be able to marshall,

set its offering apart. “The most compel-

secure, identify and track them.

ling thing is being able to leverage the

By bolting on our IoT registration

Oracle technology to help our construc-

cloud to your applications we



“Now that we’re one collaborative platform there’s a tremendous opportunity to leverage our strengths around the world with the goal of digitising clients, collecting data and harnessing that to make informed business decisions” — Mike Antis Co-founder of Textura and Vice President, Client Services at Oracle Construction & Engineering w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


“What we’re seeing is the acceleration of digital transformation. Many firms started this journey with their customers back in the nineties and it’s come about by bringing these solutions together into common platforms.”


— Leigh Jasper Co-founder of Aconex and Vice President, Aconex Strategy and Operations at Oracle Construction & Engineering

can do this. Another example of why companies should choose us is our data analytics capability, because construction generates a lot of unstructured data. Being able to dive in and get analytics, from other vendors as well as Oracle solutions with our expandable platform helps customers solve their IoT ecosystem problems.” Oracle is keen to keep innovating and discover new ways to build relationships with customers eager to further their digital journey. We spend a lot of NOVEMBER 2018


time meeting with clients in conference

enables visitors to interact with leading-

rooms but it’s really not where the folks

edge solutions, including connected

using our solutions will actually be

devices, autonomous vehicles, drones,

working,” notes Sicilia. “So, we’ve built

augmented reality, visualisation, and

a destination where customers can

artificial intelligence tools presented in

experience a simulation of a real job site

collaboration with Oracle partners

to see the value of our solutions and

including Assemble Systems (BIM data

give us real time feedback. We’ve also

wranglers), Bosch tools and Recon-

expanded the lab to include our technol-

struct (3D timeline tracking). Addition-

ogy partners who offer something that

ally, the lab demonstrates Oracle

make both of our systems stronger. It’s

Live Experience Cloud, showcasing

been met with great enthusiasm.” The

modern engagement for cross-work-

Innovation Lab in Deerfield, Illinois

site experiences. w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


Sicilia reckons the biggest challenges facing the industry are data protection, security, GDPR compliance and, in the US, being prepared for federal projects with FedRAMP certification (Federal Risk and Authorisation Management Program): “The world is getting its head around internet-based applications and security while facing up to the challenges of events like Brexit. Another benefit of this technology being part of Oracle is that we have 20

the horsepower to take on these initiatives and guarantee our customer’s data is hosted in specific data centre locations remaining secure. That’s the single biggest challenge: How do you add value quickly, get customers up and running, be credible and be compliant? Because the rules are changing on a daily basis.” Projects benefitting from Oracle solutions (with Aconex, Textura and Oracle working side by side) across the Global Business Unit include forty different airports around the world, most recently in Denver. Elsewhere, multi-billion-dollar developments like the F1 track in the Middle NOVEMBER 2018

East fly the flag for what can be achieved. “We worked on the Singapore Marina,” remembers Jasper. “To this day it’s still the largest project, from a data point of view, on our platform with 40 million documents. Vast quantities of information are being managed on projects like these. We’re working with the largest contractors in the world so customers can be confident in how we scale up alongside the digital transformations they are going through.” Jasper believes those that learn from their data and digitise their businesses to a level where they can gain insights for a competitive advantage will be those that win over the next five to ten years. Sicilia predicts a rise in the number of joint ventures which will be require to meet targets for rebuilding global infrastructures over the next 15-20 years increasing Oracle’s adoption: “The cloud is the perfect solution for JVs, because you don’t need to worry about who owns the IT infrastructure, where the data sits… Technology will be a great enabler when it comes to increasing productivity and delivering w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



“We’ve seen a major labour shortage in the space and one of the ways to attract talent is through technology and appealing to those leaving university looking for sexy, forward-thinking industries” — Mike Antis Co-founder of Textura and Vice President, Client Services at Oracle Construction & Engineering



critical infrastructure in an industry

Attracting skilled labour is one of

which, quite frankly, has struggled

the industry’s biggest problems…

with this over a number of years.”

We’ve seen a major labour shortage

Antis agrees: “These generational

in the space and one of the ways to

leaps, moving from manual paper-

attract talent is through technology

laden processes to state of the art

and appealing to those leaving

tech solutions is not only necessary

university looking for sexy, forward-

to push the industry forward to keep

thinking industries.”

up with demand but it’s also going to help with recruiting new talent.


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We spoke with Ray Hutchinson,Managing Director of award-winning construction and fit-out contractor Gilbert-Ash about its holistic approach to building educational projects characterised by proactive collaboration across a range of sectors, from education to the arts,rewarded with recognition from RIBA and the Stirling Prize judges WRITTEN BY


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ilbert-Ash was originally owned by homes giant Bovis before a management buyout in the early seventies. Sustained growth since

the late eighties has allowed it to shift focus, over the last eight years, away from its home market in Northern Ireland to concentrate on Great Britain and London in particular. “We’ve experienced significant growth with turnover in excess of £165m in 2017 (up from £148m in 2016). Most of that turnover has been generated from projects completed in GB and further afield through our alliance with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. We’re working with them in 40 countries around the world employing


more than 180 staff,” reveals Managing Director Ray Hutchinson. With its strategy focused on landmark landscape projects such as Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre which was awarded the Stirling Prize, and the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre and Lyric Theatre which were also shortlisted two years earlier, Gilbert-Ash complete quality construction and refurbishment work on technically challenging buildings. Among these in the education sector is the recently completed Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL, a refurbishment scheme at Eltham College and an ongoing project designed by the architect Tim Reynolds in Sevenoaks, a £22m new build science, technology and sixth form centre completing this year. “It has involved much exposed, in-situ and pre-cast concrete work alongside timber and metal acoustic panels NOVEMBER 2018


“It’s key to be sympathetic to the live environment we find ourselves working in. Effective communication is vital as many of these projects will have students being taught in situ” — Ray Hutchinson Managing Director, Gilbert-Ash

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and baffles,” explains Hutchinson, whose company are also working on a £25m project at the Royal College of Music. “Adjacent to the Royal Albert Hall its bounded on all sides,” he adds. “So, in terms of the logistics of working in a live school with around 800 students on site it’s a huge challenge removing earth from inside the space site and craning it over the top of a listed building from such a confined area.” Hutchinson maintains Gilbert-Ash couldn’t complete the projects it is involved in without being innovative to 28

overcome the technical challenges. “We have different strands to how we work,” he reveals. “We do these landmark projects yet have also worked on


“On a Belfast Marriot hotel project, we actually used Minecraft and challenged six schools to build a hotel inside the game. What we learned from the back end of that allowed a few of the ideas from the schoolchildren to find their way in to the final design” — Ray Hutchinson Managing Director, Gilbert-Ash


recognised with a RIBA award for

a number of hub hotels for them featuring

a new swimming pool at the City

significant tech. For example, when you

of London Freemen’s School. “The

go into a room you can use the app on

swimming pool itself is set in a natural

your phone so the room remembers how

environment amongst the trees and

you like your settings for heating, light

made with an entirely timber frame –

etc. Most of what we do is design and

whitewashed glulam frames and CLT

build so we’re still pushing the bounda-

panels - which are very carefully detail-

ries with a BIM-enabled team of ten

ed and arranged. Effectively the pools

architects. We’re at the front end of

users are swimming among the trees,”

developments in that sphere which

says a proud Hutchinson.

allows us to set ourselves apart from

Making a difference to communities

our competitors with a portfolio of work

while wowing awards panels is par for

demonstrating our diverse capabilities.”

the course for Gilbert-Ash. Due to

These capabilities have recently been

complete this November the company w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


has worked extensively on the Cambridge Mosque project which will have 700 worshippers coming through its doors and, in terms of ecological sustainability, be Europe’s first ecomosque with solar power generation, a green roof, super-insulation and also feature an underground car park. “We’re excited by the Cambridge Mosque which we feel is a potential award winner,” says Hutchinson. “A stunning curved freeform structure where the roof is supported by 32 glulam 30

timber columns offers huge amounts of natural light flooding into the building. It’s another very unique project.” What does Hutchinson believe are the unique requirements for working successfully with educational establishments and on

perspective so we’re not causing undue

community buildings? “It’s key to be

disruption. It’s a sector which is growing

sympathetic to the live environment

and one we’re hopeful of further opportu-

we find ourselves working in,” he says.

nities in… We’ve recently been appoint-

“Effective communication is vital as

ed preferred bidder for the Central

many of these projects will have stud-

Foundation boys school at Old Street

ents being taught in situ. We always

in London – another challenging, tightly

have to be very careful about how we

bound site requiring a unique approach.”

approach them from a logistics NOVEMBER 2018

Hutchinson is passionate about the

“Most of what we do is design and build so we’re still pushing the boundaries with a BIM-enabled team of ten architects.We’re at the front end of developments in that sphere which allows us to set ourselves apart from our competitors” — Ray Hutchinson Managing Director, Gilbert-Ash


fact that, particularly with educational

work so closely, we wanted to produce

projects, design should not only be

something that could be inspirational

functional but inspire. “In 2016 we

and drive creativity. Many of our sche-

completed the works for UCL at the

mes have arrived at a process which

Bartlett School of Architecture,” he

can help spark the imagination. We’re

remembers. “Working in one of the

keen for our project to have that lasting

most prominent and renowned archi-

legacy and stand the test of time.”

tecture schools in the world, we were

Inspiring the next generation of

very conscious of the fact that the

designers and architects is part of the

student architects were following our

process for Gilbert-Ash, even when w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


working on more standard projects. “On a Belfast Marriot hotel project, we actually used Minecraft and challenged six schools to build a hotel inside the game,” explains Hutchinson. “What we learned from the back end of that allowed a few of the ideas from the schoolchildren to find their way in to the final design. It was great to see the power of that engagement and ideas that were so good the architect worked them into the finished building.” Hutchinson believes it’s that inquisitive ethos that helps set Gilbert-Ash apart from 32

its competitors. “We offer a partnership approach with a team hugely experienced on innovative projects, proud of the work they do but not resting on their laurels,” he asserts. “We’re not afraid to show we’re constantly learning through our efforts as a team, with a focus on collaboration and by offering forums for the opinions of all stakeholders, particularly on projects like UCL, to feed into that design process. Because everybody has a shared interest in arriving at a building which delivers inspiration in both form and function.”


“We’re not afraid to show we’re constantly learning through our efforts as a team, with a focus on collaboration and by offering forums for the opinions of all stakeholders, particularly on projects like UCL,to feed into that design process” — Ray Hutchinson Managing Director. Gilbert-Ash


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T O P 10



Top 10 construction

companies in Europe WRITTEN BY


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T O P 10



NCC AB (Sweden) Celebrations for its 30th year in business were muted for the second largest construction company in the Nordic region after reporting a fall in revenue to $6.21 bn. “Earnings for 2017 were disappointing and lower than in 2016,” admitted acting President and CEO Håkan Bromanwho who has pledged to reverse this negative trend with a focus on “profitability-enhancing measures”. NCC is active throughout the value chain developing commercial properties and constructing housing, offices, industrial facilities along with public buildings, roads, civil engineering projects and other types of infrastructure. Based in Stockholm, NCC employs over 17,000 staff while its prominent work includes the Vasa Museum, Kista Science Tower and the 54-storey Turning Torso building in Malmo. NOVEMBER 2018


Koninklijke Bam Groep (Netherlands) BAM Group’s activities across the Euro zone include non-residential construction, project development, design, engineering services and facility management brought in $7.49bn in 2017. “We are disappointed that the project loss at sea lock IJmuiden set back our 2017 result by €68 million and damaged our margin by 1%-point,” conceded CEO Rob van Wingerden who noted that the majority of the group’s activities performed in line with expectations. “Our order book grew as anticipated while we maintained our tender discipline. We are making further progress delivering on our strategy ‘building the present, creating the future’ as we look to accelerate execution to capitalise on our potential. Key priorities remain pre-construction management, business controls, digitalisation and IT standardisation.” Major accomplishments for the Dutch firm include the Amsterdam Arena football stadium and the HSL-Zuid high-speed rail network.

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T O P 10


Balfour Beatty (UK) 38

The London-based infrastructure and construction services specialist posted a solid revenue figure of $10.49bn in 2017 - arresting the slight decline in 2016. Leo Quinn, Group Chief Executive, commented: “This result clearly demonstrates that our Build to Last programme is transforming Balfour Beatty. The group has been repositioned to drive sustainable growth in profits, underpinned by a strong balance sheet. It has the right culture and capabilities to capitalise on the rising tide of infrastructure spend in our chosen markets.” Now employing over 30,000 people, its notable works date back to the Churchill Barriers in Orkney completed during the 1940s and the London Aquatics Centre in 2011. Other key projects include the Crossrail Liverpool Street Station and it was recently appointed as sole contractor to Scape Group’s second generation civil engineering frameworks (across England, Wales and Northern Ireland) valued at £2.1bn revenue. NOVEMBER 2018


Ferrovial (Spain)


Since 1927, Ferrovial has moved beyond its base in Spain with over 55 years of international activity in 50 countries across five continents working on more than 780 major developments with over 45 years of building and designing concession projects. In 2017, its previous upwardly trending revenue continued to rise reaching $13.86bn under the stewardship of CEO Iñigo Meirás Amusco. Its subsidiary Amey has recently been awarded maintenance contracts with the UK’s Ministry of Defence. Employing over 75,000 people, the company serves Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Switzerland, Greece, Canada, Chile, U.K. and the United States as one of the world’s leading infrastructure operators committed to developing sustainable solutions. In 2014 the company acquired Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports. Its most famous work is the construction of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum.

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T O P 10


Strabag (Austria) 40

The Austrian construction firm employs more than 71,000 people who drove revenue back up to 2015 levels posting a figure of $15.33bn for 2017. Specializing in projects such as tunnels, civil engineering, and a variety of transportation infrastructure, Strabag has three main branch operations. One segment manages operations in Germany, Scandinavia, Poland and the Benelux countries with regards to offshore wind and hydraulic engineering. Another sector targets railway construction in countries such as Switzerland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Russia among others. Elsewhere, the international wing focuses on tunnelling, properties, infrastructure and materials. Strabag’s notable works include the Alte Wesser lighthouse, Copenhagen Metro, and Limerick tunnel in Ireland. Recent projects awarded include an increased stake in Germany’s A8 motorway and, thanks to its BIM competence, a turnkey contract from Carlsberg for a building ensemble in Copenhagen. NOVEMBER 2018



Eiffage (France) This Gallic engineering company headquartered in Asnières-surSeine once again posted rising annual revenues with a reported $17bn for 2017 which saw operating profits grow by 8.3% thanks to its work delivering projects such as the Chirec hospital in Belgium, the Burbo Bank off-shore wind farm, electrical sub-station, a Polish branch of the Hilton Hotel in Warsaw and a significant rail project for Deutsche Bahn in Germany. After just 25 years in business Eiffage’s now 60,000 strong workforce has completed high profile work on projects like the Channel Tunnel. Looking ahead, the company are ramping activity on major infrastructure projects in Germany such as the Hochmosel bridge and a focus on energy developments in Spain.

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04 42

Skanska (Sweden) Skanska’s strong building performance in the Nordics and the US was offset by weaker results in Poland and the UK leading to a slightly reduced revenue posting of £17.55bn for 2017. Actions to restore profitability have been initiated and consist of restructuring of the Polish operations and exiting the power sector in the US while focusing on core business in the UK and continuing to adapt to tougher market conditions in the Czech RepublicSupported by global trends in urbanisation, demographics, and by being at the forefront of sustainability, Skanska offers competitive solutions for both simple and complex assignments as a leading Green Builder in the UK and US having been awarded the Global Real Estate Sustainbailuty Benchmark for a second consecutive year – ranking third among 29 companies. Skanska earned plaudits for its work on the London’s tallest building, the Heron Tower. NOVEMBER 2018



Bouygues (France) The Paris-based construction giant was founded in 1952 by Francis Bouygues and now boasts more than 47,000 employees on five continents driving revenue of $37.35bn in 2017 to keep pace with an equally impressive 2016. With 57% of its business generated outside France, Bouygues operates seven entities covering the entire value chain. Committed to innovation in green construction, in 2017 39% of its R&D spend was devoted to sustainable construction while 56% of its eligible worksites were granted the ‘Ecosite’ label. With a presence in 80 countries worldwide, Bouygues’ flagship projects include the Parc des Princes in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay, a vast complex of buildings for the Qatar Petroleum District and the Orange Velodrome – home of Marseille’s football team. w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

T O P 10



ACS (Spain) Cementing its status as a global player, Grupo ACS delivered revenue with a 9% spike for 2017 reaching $39.6bn while net profits ramped by 6.8%. With CEO Florentino Pérez at the helm, ACS has grown divisions that include residential and non-residential construction, infrastructure, services, industrial companies and minority investments. Recently awarded contracts in 2018 include a roject for the design and construction of a 22 km stretch of the S-6 bypass between Lebork-Trojmiasto in Poland, construction of a 28km fourlane expressway in the provinces of Cavite and Laguna in the Philippines and a contract in Denmark for the extension of Copenhagen´s underground network to Sydhaven. Notable successes include the Alqueva Dam, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Torre Agbar, LGV Perpignan–Fig NOVEMBER 2018



Vinci (France) Vinci remains at the top of the chart for another year, consolidating a strong 2016 with revenues for 2017 totalling $45.68bn. Vinci design, finance, build and operate infrastructure and facilities across the globe, pledging to improve daily life and mobility for all. Headquartered in Rueil-Malmaison, France, Vinci was founded in 1899 under the name Société Générale d’Entreprises S.A. before becoming Vinci in 2000. CEO Xavier Huillard oversees a 180,000-strong workforce recognised for outstanding collaborative working methods at this year’s BIM d’Or awards held by Le Moniteur. Vinci recently completed the Assiut Dam in Egypt and has been awarded a contract to reconstruct a landmark pier in Puerto Colombia. Flagship projects include the Gariep Dam, Yamoussoukro Basilica, Pont de Normandie and the Stade de France.

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The biggest industry events and conferences WRITTEN BY ANDREW WOODS from around the world



National Construction Equipment Convention [ SYDNEY SHOWGROUND, SYDNEY OLYMPIC PARK ] The inaugural NCEC is a newly designed

day event will give you the opportunity to

mega show that builds on the success

interact face-to-face with industry lead-

of three biennial state-based shows to

ers. NCEC will form a vibrant industry

make a new national event (a three-day

hub, working with major associations to

hub for industry). NCEC is Australia’s

create an event, for the industry, by the

first industry-owned, multi-disciplinary,

industry to conquer common challenges

multi-event platform for the earth

and drive the sector forward together.

moving and infrastructure construc-

With a focus on infrastructure and cut-

tion sector with Hitachi, Komastu,

ting-edge technology, this is the time to

Volvo/CJD, Toyota Materials Handling,

get involved in this fast-paced industry.”

Tutt Bryant and Clark Equipment attend-

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ing this year’s show. “With the theme ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’ this threeNOVEMBER 2018


The Buildings Show [ METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTRE ] Canada’s largest exposition, networking and educational event, The Buildings

07–10 JANUARY 2019

Show is the leader in sourcing, network-

Building Innovation 2019

ing and education in Canada for the design, architecture, construction and


real estate communities. The Show is

National Institute of Building Sciences

home to Construct Canada, Home-

Seventh Annual Conference and Expo

Builder & Renovator Expo, PM Expo,

to explores strategies that are aimed at

STONEX Canada, World of Concrete

‘Optimizing for Tomorrow’. Don’t miss

Pavilion. More than 30,500 trade profes-

the chance to participate in examining

sionals attend the show annually to

processes, communities, workforces,

discover new innovations across the

structures, resources, practices, com-

building industry and source the latest

munications and collaboration. Be there

materials, products, tools and technolo-

where Science meets Design for a com-

gies from more than 1,600 Canadian, US

pelling program intended to engage the

and international exhibits. Through the

entire team of building professionals in

show’s comprehensive seminar pro-

creating innovative solutions for the

gramme, attendees can choose from

built environment.

350-plus seminars, keynotes, summits

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and roundtables led by a roster of 500-plus industry experts.

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The biggest industry events and conferences from around the world

05–07 MARCH 2019

22–25 JANUARY 2019 48



World of Concrete

Futurebuild 2019 is the industry’s


event, bringing together opinion-

World of Concrete has been working all

shapers, decision-makers and product

year to bring you the newest equipment,

innovators to explore the latest think-

products, training and expertise you

ing and debate the biggest issues

need to work smarter, faster and more

facing the built environment – now and

profitably. Your opportunities are end-

in the future. Futurebuild 2019 brings

less! From heavy-duty machinery and

together opinion-shapers, decision-

high-efficiency products, to skill-building

makers and product innovators under

workshops and management seminars,

a common purpose to explore the lat-

you’ll find everything related to improving

est technologies and approaches, and

your business at the world’s largest

debate the biggest issues facing the

annual international commercial con-

built environment – now and in the

crete construction and masonry event.

future – both in the UK and overseas.

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05–07 MARCH 2019

Expo Lighting America [ CENTRO CITIBANAMEX, MEXICO CITY ] ELA Expo Lighting America is the annual gathering where designers, architects, engineers, corporate users, government officials and lighting enthusiasts in general can experience the latest trends and innovations in lighting and related technologies from the top local and international brands, enriching their knowledge and inspiring new creations. ELA enables the international community of leading brands in lamps, luminaires, components and control systems to create and strengthen their business network with a broad spectrum of top-level expert visitors with decision-making and specification authority.

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The biggest industry events and conferences from around the world

14–17 MARCH 2019


Megabuild is Indonesia’s dedicated

08–14 APRIL 2019

Architecture, Interior Design and


Building Exhibition and Conference,


organised by the Industry for the

The bauma is a global innovation driver,

Industry. Featuring six key segments

success engine and marketplace. As

(Renovation & Construction Expo,

the only trade fair worldwide, it unites

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the entire breadth and depth of the

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stage presents you the highest density

amika – World of Ceramics), Megabuild

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ing of the latest technology, solutions,

tion machinery industry in all its

materials and design trends to Indone-

dimensions – 605,000 square meters,

sia’s building & construction industry.

3,425 exhibitors and 583,736 visitors.

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18–20 APRIL 2019



23–26 OCTOBER 2019

professional event presenting the whole

Apex Asia

spectrum of the HVAC & Pool industry


products in the North-West region of

Largest collection of powered access

Russia. It is the efficient business plat-

equipment ever in China showcasing

form for establishing new business

all the latest in powered Access Prod-

contacts and developing cooperation

ucts, including Mobile Elevating Work

with Russian and international manufac-

Platforms (MEWPs): Self-propelled

turers, suppliers, distributors and end

Booms, Scissor Lifts, Vehicle Mounts,

customers. The exhibition presents the

Personnel Lifts, Trailer Mounts, Low

only regional exposition of climate con-

Level Access, Atrium Lifts and Crawler

trol equipment and technologies giving

Mounted Platforms Others: including

the relevant producers and distributors

Suspended Access Systems, Mast

the chance to reinforce their positions

Climbers and Hoists. Non-Powered

on the North-West market.

Access Products: Scaffolding, Access

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Towers, Ladders and Components.

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Keeping the customer at the heart of data management WRIT TEN BY







With an unwavering commitment to innovation,efficiency and scale,combined with a track record of going the extra mile for its customers,Infomart Data Centers is the premier platform to serve hyperscale and enterprise customers NOVEMBER 2018


s the guardian of some of your most valuable data assets, choosing a data center is no

small undertaking. Location, expertise of staff and upholding best practices are just some of the key points to consider before selecting the right facility. Paul Vaccaro, Senior Vice President of Operations & Engineering at Infomart Data Centers, believes that his company ticks all the boxes. Yet, he says what really gives Infomart a competitive edge is its ability to go the


“Our ability to solve problems and deliver solutions that meet demanding project requirements is what differentiates us from the competition” — Paul Vaccaro, Senior Vice President of Operations and Engineering at Infomart Data Centers


extra mile to meet its clients’ needs.

ideas to deliver. To the right client,

In doing so, Infomart aims to serve as

that difference is significant.”

an extension of its customers’ teams.

In the data center world, bigger

“Our ability to solve problems and

doesn’t always equate to better. Every

deliver solutions that meet demanding

week, new scalable and adaptable

project requirements is what differenti-

solutions are entering the fray – these

ates us from the competition,” Vaccaro

include high-density solutions and


dynamically-scaling environments.

“Our customers will tell you that what

By offering unique and customizable

makes us different is the personal touch

options, Infomart ensures that its

and the ability to do things that other

customers’ servers work at optimal

colocation providers aren’t willing to do.

levels now and in the future.

We don’t have a product to sell, we have

“Everybody always wants to talk w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

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about density, but in reality, few really

ing that is more important than density

understand how to take advantage of

numbers. As the industry moves towards

it. From an Infomart perspective, we

hyperscale computing and more dis-

have lots of ideas and real products

tributed edge applications, you’ll see

that we can bring to the market. It is

more of these ideas. The drivers are

just a matter of how quickly our clients

different, but the solution space is very

can leverage these technologies,”

similar. Stay tuned; I think the industry

says Vaccaro.

is going to see some very exciting de-

“We have built facilities of 300 watts per sq. ft. or more, and have even done some densification projects to exist-

velopments with high-density computing in the next three to five years.” Vaccaro first cut his teeth in the data

ing facilities to meet the computing

center industry in the 1980s, when

demands of our clients. It is that forward

personal computers (PCs) were just

thinking and real-world problem-solv-

making their entrance, and mainframes, w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com





OTI is a master systems integrator with extensive experience in data centers. We can help you reduce PUE, meet redundancy requirements and more. How? Our process is unique:






We’re trusted in the leading data centers because we know that success comes from true partnership. We believe building systems should operate as one to protect data, inform decisions, create efficiency and enhance user experience. O TI is commiied to building redunancy from edge controllers to enterprise energy management, offering the ideal integraaons for N+1 redunant data centers.


/company/oo---operaaonal-technology-integrators/ @ot_integrators


“We don’t have a product to sell, we have ideas to deliver. To the right client, that difference is significant” midrange and microcomputers were the norm. Having racked up experience at firms such as Intel Corporation and

— Paul Vaccaro, Senior Vice President of Operations and Engineering at Infomart Data Centers

Infomart Data Centers, Vaccaro is all too aware of how innovation has shaken up the sector. New technologies and tools are not only helping to drive efficiency, but are also helping Infomart

designed to minimize the firm’s carbon

achieve its sustainability goals without

footprint whilst delivering an efficient

sacrificing performance or availability.

data center. Meanwhile, in Portland,

For example, at its facility in Ashburn,

Infomart has utilized the world’s largest

the company has deployed a closed-

production deployment of rear-door heat

loop chilled water system combined

exchangers, a pioneering technology

with waterside economies. These are

that brings cooling closer to the load. w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


Still relying solely Switch to automated on IR scanning? real-time temperature data.

Introducing the

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Automated temperature monitoring is the way of the future. The Starline Critical Power Monitor (CPM) now incorporates new temperature sensor functionality. This means that you’re able to monitor the temperature of your end feed lugs in real time– increasing safety and avoiding the expense and hassle of ongoing IR scanning. To learn more about the latest Starline CPM capability, visit



“We are working on a new project right now that takes an award-winning, energy

for future densification, which will result in further efficiencies for our clients.”

efficient design and integrates several

With locations in Portland, Silicon

additional new technologies to improve

Valley and Ashburn, the Infomart also

it even further,” notes Vaccaro.

buys power on the open market, which

“For example, we use new high-tem-

allows the company to offer a custom

perature chillers that make 65-degree

energy mix based on customer require-

water so we don’t have to use mixing

ments. This enables Infomart to deliver

valves to achieve that supply tempera-

unparalleled, cost-competitive rates.

ture. We are also working on the physical

“We spend significant investment to

plant design so that it is scalable and

get direct access to most of our sites,”

can add additional mechanical options

Vaccaro adds. “We believe that buying w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


“We’ve never compromised when it comes to the maintenance of the equipment or training our individuals” — Paul Vaccaro, Senior Vice President of Operations and Engineering at Infomart Data Centers


power on an open market is the best

ing, constructing and delivering data

way to deliver clean, low-cost energy

centers, it really comes down to your

to our clients. The cost savings are

partners,” he says.

significant, and we hear this from our

“So, for instance, let’s start with our

clients regularly. I think the repeat

partner REI: their craftsmanship just

business also speaks to the success

jumps out at you when you tour one

of direct access power procurement.”

of our facilities. Their track record of

Continuous innovation has been a

delivering high-quality results against

well-versed mantra at Infomart, with

aggressive schedules has been flawless.

partnerships acting as a key enabler

Their motto should be ‘we deliver, and

to the company’s success. “When you

it will show as industrial artwork’.”

get right down to the work of designNOVEMBER 2018

“Canara has also been a strong partner




Paul Vaccaro Paul Vaccaro is the Senior Vice President of Operations and Engineering for Infomart Data Centers. Vaccaro is a 30 year IT professional, and has spent the past 10 years working in the Mission Critical Facilities and Data Center Industry as an Enterprise Operator, and Data Center Engineer. Vaccaro’s previous role was working for Intel Corporation, where he managed Data Center Operation activities around the globe. Vaccaro has co-authored several white papers on important industry topics such as: 1,100 wpsf High Density Data Center Design, High Efficiency Data Center Design and Retrofits Best Practices, Data Center Infrastructure Management Best Practices, and Data Center Site Selection Criteria.

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and has developed some specific solu-

hero,” he adds. “I could talk for an hour

tions unique to Infomart requirements.

or more on their capabilities. It comes

These have saved us some significant

down to the importance of being able to

OpEx costs, and we continue to look to

measure in order to manage what you

them to help us lead in this area. Delta

have to ensure efficiency. Their solution

Fire provides services for one of those

is near perfect, and it is a key enabler to

commodities that people see on

the efficiency and ongoing optimization

the project budget, but often overlook

we achieve.” It goes without saying that

this importance. They have always

uptime is the most critical concern for

delivered on time and their workman-

data center operations and, at Infomart,

ship is top-notch.

this is placed front and center. There-

“OTI gets my award for the unsung

fore, the company has partnered with w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



Year founded


Approximate number of employees


“We hire external experts who review our methods, systems and processes as part of our everyday efforts to exceed expectations in this area. We develop plans and continue to improve; the audits are just the proof, not the means to the end for us” industry leaders to create the Uptime Institute Management & Operations (M&O) Certification. The secret to this maximum uptime? Vaccaro suggests that it lies in how the

— Paul Vaccaro, Senior Vice President of Operations and Engineering at Infomart Data Centers

firm identifies best practice procedures, sets standards and performs constant data center evaluations. As a result, Infomart not only received the first ever certification, it also holds one

as part of our everyday efforts to exceed

of the highest ratings in the world.

expectations in this area. We develop

“We place an emphasis on security

plans and continue to improve; the au-

and compliance and not just by passing

dits are just the proof, not the means

audits,” Vaccaro explains.

to the end for us.”

“We hire external experts who review our methods, systems and processes

“We’ve never compromised when it comes to the maintenance of the equipw w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com






ment or training our individuals,” he C OMPA N Y FA C T S

First to remove raised floor and go 100% contained First to offer pass-through PUE First to prototype and implement open compute deployment First to earn LEED Gold Certification in California and Oregon First to offer direct access power in California and Oregon First data center in Oregon to receive LEED Platinum distinction

continues. “If you look at our records when we go through this audit, you’ll find that no maintenance is ever deferred, and I think it shows. When you walk through an Infomart facility and you look at our equipment, you can tell it’s not neglected: it’s very well maintained.” Today, Infomart’s future looks as dynamic as ever. Influenced by its customers’ demands, the firm has its eyes firmly set on further expansion and, under new ownership, the data center company is going to continue to invest in its team and assets. Yet, as the company accelerates forward, Vaccaro asserts that Infomart will remain focused on one shared vision: delivering customizable data center services with a customer focus.

First to earn Uptime Institute’s Management & Operations Certification

w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



Economic and sustainable excellence in mining WRIT TEN BY






w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


Through the $4.2bn Woodsmith Mine, Sirius Minerals will disrupt the ‘sustainability in mining’ conversation

D 72

estructive by its very nature, the mining industry is one that requires an incredible focus and understanding of the impact

that a project has, and can have, on the environment. For many mining operators, getting this one element right is key to achieving any form of success. Get it wrong and the results can be catastrophic. With a vision to become one of the world’s largest producers of multi-nutrient fertilisers, and a $4.2bn (£3.2bn) project to achieve that, Sirius Minerals takes its environmental responsibility incredibly seriously. In fact, it’s built into the company’s very mission statement of ‘sustaining the future’. “This project will establish Sirius as a global fertiliser company,” says Graham Clarke, Operations Director at Sirius Minerals. “But I think what’s important to us is the way we’ve gone about doing that and the way we work. “We’re not just a mining company trying to develop a resource and make as much money as NOVEMBER 2018


73 we can out of it. It’s how we’ve always engaged with the local communities, national government as well as regionally. I think we’re really setting the benchmark in sustainability within mine development.” The Woodsmith Mine is a 2.66bn tonne polyhalite project: the largest highest grade polyhalite resource in the world. Located near Whitby in the North of England, Sirius Minerals is currently implementing major infrastructure that will connect w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

Leading the way underground. From London’s Super Sewer to Sirius Mineral’s Woodsmith Mine. Joseph Gallagher is a trusted partner for some of the biggest underground tunnelling and infrastructure projects taking place in the UK today.




Joseph Gallagher founded his company in 1982, which has grown significantly in the last 36 years to become a leading tunnelling and civil engineering sub-contractor in the UK. 2018 has been been aa milestone milestoneyear yearfor the the company, leading the way both for company, leading the way in terms of recent project both in terms of recent project successes and and their their safety safetyculture. culture.

Sirius Minerals Woodsmith Mine Joseph Gallagher has been contracted by Careys to undertake shaft sinking works at Sirius Minerals’ £3.2bn polyhalite mine near Whitby. The project reached a historic milestone in September this year, with the naming of the Herrenknecht Vertical Shaft Sinking Machine (VSM) that will be used to excavate the first 120m of a 360m deep tunnel access shaft. “Using this innovative cutting-edge machine is proof of our determination to use the best, most effective engineering solutions to build this mine.” Chris Fraser, CEO and Managing Director Sirius Minerals.

Tideway Project Tideway Project The £4.2bn £4.2bn Thames ThamesTideway TidewayTunnel project, project, a 25km atunnel run to Tunnel 25kmtotunnel beneath the River Thames in thein run beneath the River Thames centre of London, is theislargest the centre of London, the largest sewer improvement improvementproject projecttotobebe conducted in conducted inthe theUK UKfor forover overa a century. Contracted century. Contractedbybythe theFerrovial Agroman Laing O'Rourke joint Ferrovial Agroman UK and Laing venture, Joseph O’Rourke (FLO) Gallagher joint venture, constructed two, 10constructed metre internal Joseph Gallagher two, diameter, SCL 10 metre 37-metre-long internal diameter, tunnels, and two reinforced 37-metre-long SCL tunnels,concrete and portal frames (20m x 16m) two reinforced concrete portal containing 280x tonnes of steel. frames (20m 16m) containing 280 tonnes of steel. Joseph Gallagher has previously worked with Ferrovial and Joseph Gallagher hasAgroman previously Laing O'Rourke onon thethe Northern Line worked with FLO Northern Extension and this working Line Extension andpositive this positive relationship continuedcontinued onto Tideway, working relationship whereTideway, the same level of onto where the same level professionalism andand workwork ethicethic were of professionalism a big contribution in delivering the were a big contribution in work successfully. delivering the work successfully. An industry industryleading leadingsafety safetyculture culture Joseph Gallagher Joseph Gallagherbegan beganitsitsLiving Living Incident Free Incident FreeEveryday Everyday(LIFE) (LIFE) behavioural safety behavioural safetyprogramme programmetoto fundamentally change fundamentally changeits itsculture culture and attitudes attitudestowards towardssafety safetynearly nearly four years years ago. ago. “We have have had hadgreat greatsuccess successwith with the programme, programme,attitudes attitudesand andways of working have moved on. Buton. ways of working have moved therethere is still to be to achieved.” But is more still more be Joseph Gallagher, Chairman. achieved.” Joseph Gallagher, Chairman.

Joseph Gallagher Joseph Gallagherview viewleadership leadershipas fundamental to promoting and and as fundamental to promoting sustaining the sustaining thesafety safetyand andwell-being of its people. aim of the LIFE well-being of The its people. From the programme is toevery provide everyone 1st of October member of withJoseph the exceptional leadership and the Gallagher Group will be mutual respect that is required to attending an industry leading and empower people feel comfortable awarding winningtoimmersive with challenging un-safe training day provided bybehaviours Active and situations. Training Team (att…). The session combines interactive experiences, “A safe business is the by-product film, drama, live action, exercises, of the business having exceptional participation and facilitated leadership. We continue on our discussion, leaving participants journey with the next phase with a lasting understandingofofour LIFE Culture.” Steve Harvey, their role in ensuring the safety Managing Director. and well-being of everyone. From October 2018 every member of The aim of Gallagher the LIFE programme the Joseph Group will is to provide everyone with attend an industry-leadingthe and exceptional leadership and training mutual awarding-winning immersive respect that is required to day provided by Active Training Team empower people to feel (ATT). comfortable with challenging un-safe behaviourstraining and situations. The ATT immersive day combines live drama, film, exercises “A business is the by-product andsafe facilitated discussion. “People of the business having come away with a deep, lasting exceptional We for awareness ofleadership. their responsibility continue on our journey their own safety and that ofwith the next phaseand of our Culture.” colleagues the LIFE practical Steve Harvey, Managing Director communication tools to make a

difference.” Dermott Kerrigan, Joseph are creating DirectorGallagher Active Training Team. an environment where people decide to make the Joseph Gallagher areright creating choices, wherever theypeople work across an environment where decide the company. From procurement, to make the right choices, wherever to planning, HR, the engineering they work across company.and From project management, everyone procurement, to planning, HR, is a leader whenand it comes engineering projectto safety and well-being. management, everyone is a leader when it comes to safety and well-being.


a deep shaft system and an underground tunnel directly to nearby sea ports and shipping channels. The challenge for Sirius lies in the location, as the project is situated inside a major national park, meaning that the level of environmental responsibility placed on Sirius’ shoulders is significant. “It started with the way that we designed the project and the infrastructure. Post construction, it will have minimal, if any, impact on the environment,” explains Clarke. “The mine site itself won’t be visible from any viewing 76

point around the site once we’ve finished, and I think we’ve demonstrated that it’s possible to design a deep mine in a sensitive area without it having a significant impact on the environment. As a company, we take a lot of pride in the way we’ve gone about that, from the way we engage with the local people and the care we take in the environment.” This is echoed by Chris Fraser, Managing Director and CEO of Sirius. He notes that the innovative low impact design came about through initial discussions and planning meetings about the mine, which originally was going to involve turning the polyhalite into sulphate of potash (SOP) through NOVEMBER 2018

“I think we’re really setting the benchmark in sustainability and the way to develop a mine” — Graham Clarke, Operations Director at Sirius Minerals


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘SIRIUS MINERALS – THE PROJECT EXPLAINED’ 77 a large-scale thermal process that would use a large amount of energy and water. This, he explains, would leave a rather significant carbon footprint. “The process, while technically feasible, caused us great concern because of the amount of gas it was going to consume and the amount of carbon it was going to produce.” As the team went back to the drawing board and conducted a number of studies to find a more carbon neutral process, it was discovered that when left in its high grade natural mineral form, polyhalite’s crop yield performance w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


“It’s who we are and it’s the way we do things. We will address whatever is coming in the future in the same way that we’ve addressed everything we’ve done so far. That’s one of the things that sets us aside; our ability to change and evolve and meet the next challenge” — Graham Clarke, Operations Director at Sirius Minerals 79

surpassed expectations. It was decided that, rather than turn polyhalite into

amounts of gas and water.” Given the location of the ore body,

SOP, a product which was already

Fraser also recognised that Sirius

widely used, Sirius would market

needed to work closely with the local

polyhalite itself as a new fertiliser

community and national government in

product. This had the added benefit

order to ensure that the Woodsmith

of significantly reducing the energy

Mine could even get off the ground.

consumption required for processing.

“We made the early design decision

“That was choice number one, and

that we would not build big headframes

that meant that our carbon footprint

into the sky as normally seen with

reduced massively as a project,” says

underground mines around the world,”

Fraser. “It also meant that we didn’t

explains Fraser. “We decided that all

have to have a massive chemical

of our infrastructure should go under-

process plant nearby consuming huge

ground. These choices mean that there w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


80 will be zero visual impact on the National

Mineral Transport System (MTS). The

Park, which is a fundamental ethos of the

MTS is a fully segmented tunnel

whole project.� While Fraser admits this

containing a conveyor belt that will

decision did incur additional costs, he

transport the extracted ore outside

stresses that these were non-negotiable.

the national park to the industrial port

The second component was one of

of Teesside, where the polyhalite will

transportation: extracting the ore and

be granulated and shipped. It will be

moving it to and from the mine site. The

constructed using three tunnel boring

transportation and logistics surround-

machines (TBMs) undertaking three

ing mine sites create a myriad of major

independent drives: one will launch

and minor noise and light pollution, as

from the surface at the port end, and

well as congestion and additional carbon

two from sub level launch chambers at

emissions. To avoid this impacting the

the mine end and at an intermediate site.

park, the company looked to another

“The tunnel will be dug through one

innovative solution: an underground

rock strata, Redcar Mudstone, at an



“What we’ve had to do is design a project that is setting new standards in sustainable design because ultimately, we’ve a project for the next century and beyond, rather than one that’s based on thinking from the last century” — Graham Clarke, Operations Director at Sirius Minerals

81 E X E C U T I V E P R OF IL E

Chris Fraser Chris Fraser has almost 20 years’ experience in the mining industry with a particular focus on financing and strategic developments. He is the founder of the Project, has led its development since 2010 and has been managing director and CEO of the Company since January 2011. During his finance career he worked for KPMG, Rothschild and Citigroup, the latter culminated in him being appointed head of metals and mining investment banking for Australia in 2006 and managing director in 2008. Upon leaving Citigroup in 2009, he founded Sigiriya Capital, a boutique advisory and investment firm. Chris founded York Potash in 2010 and subsequently joined Sirius Minerals Plc in 2011.

w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

Pioneering Your World. OLKO-Maschinentechnik GmbH has been awarded a contract by Sirius Minerals for the supply and commissioning of two winders for the North Yorkshire Polyhalite Project. Compared to a human body, the shaft hoisting system can be considered as the main artery of a mine. OLKO is very pleased to have been entrusted by Sirius Minerals with that responsible task and is delighted that their hoists are part of one of the world’s ambitious mining projects. OLKO is a German based manufacturer and considers itself as supplier of high-end shaft hoisting systems. The company covers a wide range of winders, such as Koepe, Double Drum or Double Blair Winders. Beside the winders, OLKO supplies rope handling equipment, loading and unloading facilities and has references worldwide.

find us


average depth of 250m” says Clarke.

and contributes to reducing the carbon

“That means it will be deep enough to

footprint of the operation, Fraser

avoid any meaningful surface impact

believes that it represents a shining

during construction, and have minimal

example as to what can be achieved

environmental visual impact post

with regards to sustainability in mining.

construction. Effectively when the

“What we’ve had to do is design

project’s built, nobody will actually

a project that is setting new standards in

know there’s a mine here, or a tunnel

sustainable design because ultimately,

in existence.”

we’ve got a project for the next century

In building such massive infrastruc-

and beyond, rather than one that’s based

ture, which provides low operating

on thinking from the last century,” says

costs, minimal environmental impact

Fraser. “Beyond that, we can really tap

E X E C U T I V E P R OF IL E 83

Graham Clarke Graham joined Sirius Minerals in 2011 and has been involved in all aspects of the development of the project. He is currently responsible for construction activities at the Woodsmith and Lockwood Beck sites. He has over 30 years’ experience in the potash mining industry, in particular extensive operational experience at Cleveland Potash Limited (CPL). Starting as a graduate trainee, Graham initially worked underground as a miner, supervisor and shift manager before taking on more senior management roles culminating with the post of Managing Director, a position held for 7 years. At CPL, he secured investment to support the exploration and development of polyhalite, making CPL the first mine in the world to commercially extract this valuable mineral.

w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



United. Inspired. United in performance. Inspired by innovation. Performance unites us, innovation inspires us, and commitment drives us to keep moving forward. Count on Epiroc to deliver the solutions you need to succeed today and the technology to lead tomorrow.


85 into the incredible technological

a vision at the very beginning; I signed

advantages and thought that comes out

onto that. I’ve never doubted it for

of the UK, in terms of designing our

a minute since I joined the company,”

operating systems, with regards to

he says. “It’s a feeling shared by every

remote and/or automated operations,

single one of us here at Sirius. We

and really looking at achieving even

believe in that vision as well, and the

higher standards, in terms of our

reality is, that if you actually believe

operational presence, once this infra-

you can do something, then you’ve got

structure’s constructed.”

a pretty good chance of doing it.”

For Clarke, this vision of setting new

Sirius’ first exploration programme

standards and pushing the boundaries

ran from 2011 to 2013 which resulted

as to what can be achieved through

in the identification of the 2.6bn tonne

innovative thinking and sustainability in

resource. With construction beginning

mining is something that he bought into

in early 2017, Sirius has targeted

from the very start. “Chris Fraser had

production of the first polyhalite w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


towards the end of 2021 and an initial 10mn tonne per annum operation by 2024. For the immediate future, Fraser notes that the company’s attention is entirely focused on completing the remaining financing required to build the project. “Construction is well underway and we’re coming toward the end of our second year of our construction schedule,” says Fraser. “Now we look at stage two of our financing, which is our senior debt financing. That is concluding early next year and involves finalising our project procurement, signing and securing our delivery partners on the project. These include DMC, 86

Strabag, Jacobs and our market partnerships with our customers, with whom we have already secured aggregate peak take or pay sales of 8.2mn tonnes per annum.” As the project continues to advance, both Clarke and Fraser can look at how far the company has come since identifying the resource back in 2010. More importantly for Clarke, the company can prove that it has and will continue to do things in future the right way. “It’s who we are and it’s the way we do things. We will address whatever is coming in the future in the same way that we’ve addressed everything we’ve done so far. I think that’s one of the things that sets us aside, is our ability to change and evolve and meet the next challenge,” he says. NOVEMBER 2018


Through that vast polyhalite resource, combined with the incredible understanding of its environmental responsibility, Sirius Minerals will truly transform not only the fertiliser industry, but it will send a clear message to the global mining industry. The mining conversation is often dominated by Canada, Australia and emerging mining markets across Africa, but both Fraser and Clarke feel passionately that the Woodsmith Mine can put the UK back on the map – it is the first deep mine to be built in the UK in decades, and will produce over two billion pounds a year through exports alone. This is a key driver for Fraser and is a cornerstone of his vision for Sirius: “I think the material contribution that mining projects can make is just such a fundamental component that has been lost from the UK. Look at a project like this, done to such high sustainable standards. It really does show you the power of mining as an economic driver for growth.�

e uro pe .busi ne ssc hief. com









Aman Khan, Managing Director, Frankfurt of leading data centre provider Global Switch, discusses a major new project in Frankfurt…


rust lies at the heart of every business – and every business deal. Without it, you have uncertainty, fear and possible catastrophe.

Nowhere is trust more fundamental than when choosing a data centre, the potential custodian of your most valuable and sensitive assets. 90

Aman Khan, Managing Director of Global Switch Frankfurt, is committed to the company’s ambitions to place trust front and centre of its operations. “When enterprises, telecom companies or cloud providers come to us to host their IT or backbone infrastructure, it is as though they are giving us the keys to their homes,” Khan explains. “It is extremely critical to them, and they need total confidence and trust in us.” Global Switch’s customers not only need to trust its infrastructure and the security, performance and reliability it provides, but also the company’s financial stability and stature within the marketplace. After all, who wants to place all of their most prized assets into the hands of a precarious operation? “We are the highest credit rated data centre company in the world,” he says. “In addition, we own and operate all our data centres under freehold or under the longest leasehold NOVEMBER 2018


91 available in the markets where freeholds are not offered due to local regulation. We do not rent – whenever we develop a data centre we own it, which gives us the added flexibility to scale it easily and meet customer demand. It is one of our key differentiators and gives customers peace of mind.”

CONSTRUCTION TIME 2018 marks Global Switch’s 20-year anniversary – the past two decades have seen the company establish itself as one of the world’s leading operators with a portfolio of 11 largescale data centres in eight locations across Europe and Asia-Pacific operated to a Tier III w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

1972 established in 1972



completed â‚Ź3 billion worth of data centre projects



over 3000 emloyees



countries worked in

Premier data centre contractor in europe


completed projects on 4 continents


Mercury is an International Construction Company and the European Market Leader in turnkey Datacentre construction. With Projects completed in 31 Countries on 4 Continents, we have vast experience & a hugely successful track record of completing large complex projects overseas. We have a mobile workforce who enjoy a challenge and who are fully supported by senior management & dedicated function departments. Many of our experienced operatives are long term direct employees who manage projects on behalf of our clients to the strictest codes of integrity & professionalism. Today, we are building on this legacy applying our expertise and credibility on projects for some of the world’s largest corporations. The strong partnerships we form with our clients enable us to assist them at a strategic level and to deliver business critical projects seamlessly and effectively. Every project we undertake is unique & has its own set of risks and challenges however our approach is the same; to optimise the engineering design, supply chain, installation techniques and management practices. This approach coupled with our strategy of engaging the local supply chain wherever we operate ensures excellent project support and long-term sustainability. Safety and Quality are key to our businesses success & our management processes are audited and certified to OSHAS 18001 and ISO 14001. Evolving IT has given us new tools to manage our business more efficiently and increase the level of service we offer to clients. We believe that our company’s future success is dependent on keeping our workforce educated and equipped with the best tools and business processes. To this end, we quickly adapt the latest building systems & services both through experience & the use of educational seminars. The future belongs to companies who take responsibility for updating their skills and knowledge and who continuously improve their ability to transform data into value added, actionable information to serve customers.

MERCURY ENGINEERING MERCURY HOUSE, Ravensrock Road, Sandyford Dublin, Ireland. +353 1 216 3000 Follow us on:



standard or higher. The total size of the

organisations Global Switch is part way

company’s data centres – all 100%

through a significant global expansion

carrier and cloud neutral – comes in at

plan with developments and upgrades

340,000 sq m with a massive 357MVA

currently underway in London, Hong

(mega volt amps) of total connected

Kong and Singapore. Germany’s

utility power capacity.

financial capital Frankfurt is home to

The company’s focus is on highly

Global Switch’s next major development

resilient, central, low latency, network

in Europe. Built by Mercury Engineering,

dense locations in prime city centre

the €115mn Frankfurt North data centre

areas and internet hubs close to its

– due to be operational in 2019 – will

customers on the edge of financial

provide an additional 11,000 sq m of

and business districts. Due to customer

space with 14MVA power supply

demand from financial institutions,

capacity to the company’s operations

enterprises, global systems integrators,

there and will be adjacent to Global

cloud providers, telecoms, managed

Switch’s existing data centre, Frankfurt

service providers and other hosting

South. Customers will have access to

businesses as well as government

a wide range of cloud and network


Aman Khan Aman Khan is a passionate, forward-thinking and resultsdriven executive with several years’ experience in strategical and operational leadership functions at multinational technology services enterprises. Khan has proven experience in business development, sales management and go-to-market strategies of technology companies that focus on mid-to-large enterprises including public, service provider as well as startup segments.


‘The data centre will benefit from an independently verified annualised design Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of less than 1.2, and will be targeting a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ certification’ — Name of Person, Position and company w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



1998 Year founded


Approximate number of employees




providers as well as the DE-CIX peering platform allowing direct access to the global IP backbone, already available from Frankfurt South. Once Frankfurt North launches, the campus will provide around 28,000 sq m of space with 28MVA utility power supply capacity. So how does a company like Global Switch gain a competitive advantage over its rivals when so many are providing similar services? “One of our key differentiators is that we provide truly bespoke solutions according to our customers’ needs. In addition to our state-of-theart security and green-energy data centre environment, our best-in-class Critical Environments Programme (CEP) and our highly skilled data centre engineers and management team are what set us apart.” Highly experienced Khan, who has spent over 20 years in senior management in the IT and telco markets, is justly proud of Global Switch’s operational excellence. “We have very rigorous procedures and processes in place,” he explains. “Our CEP is regarded as one of the most robust in the industry and ensures a consistent approach to operational delivery. Its primary objective is to ensure risks are effectively controlled to provide unrivalled uptime. These best-in-class operating procedures and practices are supported by w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



continuous improvement programmes and comprehensive training. For that reason, Frankfurt South, since its launch, has enjoyed 100% uptime. This shows that the architects and technical design team, the processes and the people have all done an excellent job in providing that kind of availability. If you are a customer, that is what you are looking for.” It is certainly something Daily-Tech – a strategic partner of China Telecom Global – is looking for, having taken up a substantial pre-commitment in Frankfurt North. 98

Khan puts much of Global Switch’s success in the data centre space down to its focus. “The difference between us and many other companies over the past 20 years has been our focus on our core business. We have not tried to sell the services that our partners, system integrators, or cloud providers or telecom companies are offering. We do not want to compete with our partners. Our model has been across those 20 years, now, and in the future, built around our core business, which comprises of highly secure and resilient data centre services, and the provision of ‘home’ to primary and secondary data centres.”



“We have not tried to sell the services that our partners, system integrators, or cloud companies or telephone companies are offering. We do not want to compete with our partners” — Aman Khan, Managing Director Frankfurt, Global Switch

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SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION Energy efficiency is at the heart of all Global Switch’s data centres. Frankfurt North, which Khan is overseeing, will feature high-efficiency static UPS and an advanced Chiller Assist system that uses both hybrid dry and watercooled chillers, which operate for less than 10% of the year. The facility will benefit from an independently verified annualised design Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of less than 1.2 and will be targeting a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ certification. “Energy costs across the globe have 100

increased dramatically in the last couple of years, and Germany is no exception,” says Khan. “There are several kinds of energies which you can use for data centres including grey energy, which is not renewable, mixed energy, which is renewable and green energy, which is completely renewable. At Global Switch Frankfurt, we only use green energy.” The downside to green energy is cost, due to country taxes and surcharges in Germany. “Germany produces green energy itself but also buys a lot of green energy from Norway and Finland,” Khan explains. “Germany has one of the highest taxes and surcharges on green energy in Europe – however these costs can be offset by Germany’s reliable infrastructure and economic stability. NOVEMBER 2018



“Nevertheless, at Global Switch we acquire energy at the most competitive pricing possible and use all other options available to us such as auction and hedging, etc… At the same time, we work with our customers to design their infrastructure intelligently to optimise the energy usage – after all this is a win-win game if we work together with our customers to achieve this common goal.”

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City of Helsinki: a smart city, a functional capital, a sustainable future WRIT TEN BY






The Market Square in front of City Hall is perhaps the heart of Helsinki. Stara’s street maintenance vehicles wash it every day after the Market Square quiets down for the day. Photo Š Veikko Somerpuro w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

H E L S I N K I C I T Y C O N S T R U C T I O N S E R V I C E S , S TA R A


Blending digitisation and an environmentallyconscious approach, the City of Helsinki is no longer just a European powerhouse. Today, it’s also being recognised on a global stage for its sustainable smart city initiatives


ntwining spectacular Baltic bays, a stylish design scene and a dependable economy, the Finnish capital

of Helsinki regularly tops the leaderboard as one of the world’s most liveable cities – and it has the numbers to back up this claim. For the past decade, the capital’s population has grown by more than 1% on average every year and, by 2050, Helsinki expects to add an extra 250,000 residents. As other cities struggle to accommodate swelling populations in limited urban spaces, the City of Helsinki has devised a meticulous plan to ensure that it remains a world-class location for businesses, residents and visitors alike. NOVEMBER 2018

Stara is in charge of approximately 70% of the public areas in Helsinki. Washing statues in the spring is just one of Stara’s tasks. Photo © Veikko Somerpuro



w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

H E L S I N K I C I T Y C O N S T R U C T I O N S E R V I C E S , S TA R A

THE MOST FUNCTIONAL CITY IN THE WORLD ‘Functional’ is a term that is synonymous with Helsinki but, as part of its 2017-2021 strategy, the Nordic capital aims to take this one step further by becoming the most functional city in the world. Together with residents, the capital is rallying to create coordinated, efficient and humane public services which will make everyday life easier for citizens. Helsinki City Construction Services, Stara, undoubtedly has a pivotal role to play in this roadmap, delivering construction, environ106

mental management and logistics services to the capital. With almost 1,400 employees and hundreds of utility vehicles and other machines, this municipal enterprise is responsible for maintaining and constructing the streets, parks, natural areas and city-owned buildings in Helsinki. As the city pushes ahead with its five-year plan, Sami Aherva, Head of Stara Logistics, points out that whilst technology is a vital tool, the primary focus will always be on the needs of citizens. “The strategy hopes to make Helsinki competitive on a global scale,” he explains. “It’s a pretty bold aim. We don’t want to be among the top 10; we want to be the most functional city in the world. We are going to remodel our services and enhance the lives NOVEMBER 2018

Photo © Tom Toikka. Esplanadi park is the most well-known of the most prominent parks that Stara looks after in Helsinki. Photo © Veikko Somerpuro


Stara’s city engineers discuss their plans. Photo © Juho Huttunen / Duotone

of our citizens through technology. However, this will be based on citizen demand; we’re going to make sure that we listen to every single inhabitant to create a meaningful city structure.”

SMART CITY POWERHOUSE Digitisation goes hand in hand with the City of Helsinki’s five-year strategy, and as such the capital has also ramped up its efforts to become a smart city. When the European Parliament published its findings on 468 smart city projects in Europe in 2014, Helsinki was ranked in the top 10 smart cities, alongside w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


H E L S I N K I C I T Y C O N S T R U C T I O N S E R V I C E S , S TA R A

Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Manchester and Vienna. But what exactly propelled the Nordic capital to the top of this report? The city was praised thanks in part to Forum Virium Helsinki – an innovation unit within the City of Helsinki which develops smart city technologies in partnership with other units and residents – as well as the opening up of municipal data and decision-making data.

“We want to be the most functional city in the world. We are going to remodel our services and enhance the lives of our citizens through technology”

By looking at the numbers behind Helsinki’s economy, education system, 108

health services and more, open data

— Sami Aherva Head of Stara Logistics

was seen as the first step that the capital needed to take to become both


Sami Aherva Sami Aherva, Head of Stara Logistics, is senior level director. He is an experienced Director of Logistics with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration industry and is skilled in procurement, transportation, R&D, quality management, and organisational leadership. A strong operations professional, Aherva qualified at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University Executive Education. Photo © Stara Communications



a functional and smart city. Ilpo Laitinen,

our own services. We are at that stage

Head of Stara Administration, argues

where we are now developing our

that this accessible data has not only

services and engaging citizens to be

made the city more transparent but it has

a part of the process.”

also helped to foster citizen engagement. “Through the open data project, one

By creating participation engagement programmes and making residents

of the data sets that you can access is

a part of this journey, the Nordic capital

the city’s decision-making data which

isn’t implementing technology for

helps to make this an increasingly

technology’s sake but rather is implem-

transparent process,” he explains. “At

enting digitally-savvy public services

the same time, Helsinki also wanted to

which are community based. “Our

create an open source services platform

coders follow certain codes of conduct

whereby companies, SMEs and even

and guidelines, to ensure that they’re

residents can work together to develop

making services based on citizens’ w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

World Leader in Agile Urban Machines

Wille is the most popular machine on the market for the environment maintenance of urban areas. It is designed to operate through all four winter, when maintenance operations are the most demanding and e

The articulated steering and location of the cabin in the front frame p with excellent working conditions.

tal management and r seasons, especially expensive.

manufactured by: Loimaa, Finland

provide the operator


H E L S I N K I C I T Y C O N S T R U C T I O N S E R V I C E S , S TA R A

The Market Square in front of City Hall is perhaps the heart of Helsinki. Stara’s street maintenance vehicles wash it every day after the Market Square quiets down for the day. Photo © Veikko Somerpuro


needs, rather than experimentation,”

our smart city initiatives that can be

Laitinen adds.

scaled up to other parts of the city as

But what does this mean for daily life

well,” Laitinen notes. “A number of

in Helsinki? What impact are these

infrastructure services have been and

strategies having? To see this first

will be automated. Solar panels, smart

hand, it’s best to take a look at Kalasa-

metering and smart remote control

tama, a former harbour and industrial

systems have also been embedded here.

area in Helsinki that has been trans-

Additionally, the district has also tested

formed into a hotbed of innovation.

a unique vacuum waste collection

The City of Helsinki has been experi-

system whereby waste collection points

menting with everything from social

transport waste to waste management

and healthcare services to waste

facilities via underground pipelines.”

management, energy solutions and

Additionally, the City of Helsinki and

even smart parking. “It’s a testbed for

Stara have encouraged locals to ‘Reboot



“Our coders follow certain codes of conduct and guidelines, to ensure that they’re making services based on citizens’ needs, rather than experimentation” — Ilpo Laitinen, Head of Stara Administration

the City’ by hosting a series of hackathon events. This has led to the creation of ‘helper’, an app which provides optimal routes for Helsinki winter maintenance crews, as well as Call Plate, an automation technology which alerts car owners to when they have parked in restricted places.

A GREENER WAY OF LIVING Helsinki has set itself bold targets for the next five years but it doesn’t stop there. On top of this, the capital has committed to an ambitious goal to


Ilpo Laitinen Ilpo Laitinen, Head of Stara Administration and Adjunct Professor is both a senior level director and a researcher, demonstrating his ability to work across the boundaries of academia and the public sector. The work that he undertakes in both of these realms involves looking for new solutions to improve the quality of the public sector in Helsinki, a city that is among the world leaders in providing services to its people. He is internationally experienced both in science and management, including public administration and public management, public value of services, digitalisation of public services, smart cities and innovation management.

Photo © Stara Communications


H E L S I N K I C I T Y C O N S T R U C T I O N S E R V I C E S , S TA R A


Photo © Veikko Somerpuro NOVEMBER 2018



• Helsinki aims to become carbon neutral by 2035 • In order to become carbon neutral by 2035, Helsinki needs to reduce its CO2 emissions by 1.62% every year • Helsinki wants to become ‘the most functional city in the world’ as part of its 2017-2025 plan • In 2017, Helsinki had a population of 629,512 and, by 2050, the city expects to add an extra 250,000 residents

w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


H E L S I N K I C I T Y C O N S T R U C T I O N S E R V I C E S , S TA R A


Due to the slush on Finnish streets in wintertime, gravel is spread onto streets throughout winter to combat slippery conditions. Stara machinery collecting chips on a busy route as winter turns to spring. Photo © Veikko Somerpuro

become completely carbon neutral by

Stara has also taken up the fight

2035. In Helsinki’s metropolitan area,

against climate change and has

the electrification of buses has already

switched to biofuels to power its non

begun, with an aim to have over 100

-road vehicles. “Stara is a cleantech

electric buses in operation by 2020.

leader,” observes Aherva. “My person-

The city has also been a testing plat-

al goal is that I would like to robotise the

form for new smart mobility solutions

whole fleet of vehicles and processes

such as the Mobility-as-a-Service

we have. We are also using several

model, which hopes to make car own-

means of clean technology like biofuel,

ership unnecessary by promoting

electric, hybrid and fuel cell. In order to

existing services like ride-hailing, trip

achieve our 2035 goal, we need to

planning and car-sharing.

reduce our CO2 emissions by 1.62%



City of Helsinki executives rode on the eco-friendly Stara truck that runs on biofuel in the 2018 Pride parade. The parade had a record turnout of 100,000 participants. Photo © Akifoto

Hackjunction was a success for Stara. The team to ultimately win the event grand prize of 20,000 euros was one of the teams that participated in the Stara big data challenge. Photo © Teemu Heljo

“We are trying to solve real problems for real people in Helsinki” — Sami Aherva, Head of Stara Logistics

every year. We’ve done that by using

just yet, but by creating an ecosystem

biofuel but to bridge the gap we also

that fosters R&D and innovation, Stara

need to look at new technologies.”

hopes to make this sector greener and


more efficient. Providing a platform for Vilakone Oy

A key part of Stara’s daily business

(a leading environmental management

involves using snow ploughs, city

machinery firm in the country), Stara

sweeps and other environmental man-

hopes to help the company develop and

agement machinery to ensure that the

investigate the use of energy efficient

city can continue to run regardless of

machinery. “We are providing Wille with

the whether it’s sunny, rainy or snowing.

the environment to develop market-

This industry may not be fully developed

ready products that may be electric or w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


H E L S I N K I C I T Y C O N S T R U C T I O N S E R V I C E S , S TA R A

Photo © Veikko Somerpuro

“It’s not just about data: it’s about better decisions and better approaches to city issues. When it comes to our services – be they technical, street maintenance, construction or logistics” — Ilpo Laitinen, Head of Stara Administration


hybrid,” observes Aherva. “Once they have the ready-for-market machinery in place they can then also sell it everywhere. This showcases our role as a development platform for innovation and new energy efficient innovations.” As Helsinki’s 2021 deadline inches closer, Aherva says that the city will not only transform its processes and technologies, it will also “change the whole culture of the city.” He says: “The city’s services are going to transform. It’s a game-changing type of approach. NOVEMBER 2018


119 Ilpo Laitinen, Head of Stara Administration (left), and Sami Aherva, Head of Stara Logistic, examining Stara machinery that utilises digital technology and favours eco-friendly solutions. Photo © Stara Communications

The role of the public and private sectors

have. We want to collaborate with these

will no longer be black and white: it’s

innovators and networks to renew and

more collaborative. Helsinki is the

improve our city. This program is very

platform that many companies need

much about social capital; it’s about

to try something new.

improving the quality of life for our resi-

“We are trying to solve real problems

dents and our companies.”

for real people in Helsinki,” he concludes. “It’s not just about data: it’s about better decisions and better approaches to city issues. When it comes to our services – be they technical, street maintenance, construction or logistics – we don’t want to deliver services the way we always w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com







w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com




he financial sector is undergoing a significant transformation as it seeks to adapt and cater towards an evolving consumer market. As

technology continues to reshape traditional ways of working, the emergence of digital cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Zcash, have turned our 122

understanding of currency completely on its head. Whilst the emergence of cryptocurrency exploded into mainstream media last year, leading to a number of established companies, founder and CEO of crypto mining business, Blockbase, Vlado Stanic, has sought to provide crypto mining as a service to clients since 2015. Sourcing and purchasing hardware and delivering greater security to clients, the business relocated to Sweden in 2017 in its bid to obtain access to reliable, low-cost source sustainable energy sources at scale. Close to finishing the construction of a second data centre, a third is currently being planned as the business continues to purchase and host miners at its data centres in Sweden. “The cryptocurrency technology is one of the biggest revolutions that we have seen in the past decade, as





w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


Compensate what you can’t reduce. Vattenfall can impact CO2 emissions along our whole value chain by investing heavily in renewable energy. To reach zero emissions it includes energy production investments in other countries.


125 it empowers people to transact directly


between each other at very low cost,”

Whilst Blockbase works to purchase

says Stanic.

the necessary hardware for its clients,

“Everybody has power over their own

who remain the owner, Stanic high-

money, effectively cutting out the middle-

lights that if they wish to change provider

man and a need for third parties. It’s no

at any stage they are able to do so.

surprise that Bitcoin was established

Providing greater security and ultimate

after the financial crisis as people were

choice is something which the business

fed up banks and how they work, how

has placed essential focus, particularly

they treat your money and how they still

for those who invest from $50k for

almost went bankrupt.

mining hardware.

“Bitcoin is like digital gold and crypto-

“Our clients prefer owning the miners

mining is equal to gold mining. We help

so they can keep 100% of the mining

our clients to monetise the significant

rewards. We source and buy the hard-

difference between the production

ware for them, ship it to our facilities,

costs and the market price of bitcoin.”

set them up and then we also run and w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com







w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘WHAT IS BITCOIN MINING?’ 128 service it in our facilities. We do the complete process,” he says. “The next huge benefit is that their

Placing all hardware within one of its data centres, Blockbase is keen to increasingly scale its services, housing

hardware mines in their own mining

the potential for 16MW to be placed in

pool. They provide us with the mining

one of its facilities alone. 1,600 sq. Block-

pool where they want the machines

base’s data centres benefit enormously

to be pointed at. This gives them the

from its location in northern Sweden,

next best security, and all the coins

which has brought cooling costs

mined are going directly into the

down considerably.

customer’s wallet.” “Eliminating the middleman through-

“Previously, most companies, particularly in China utilise coal or nuclear

out has also provided customers with

power plants. However, we utilise 100%

an increasing layer of security and

green energy in our facilities. We have

ultimate transparency.”

a contract with Vattenfall, whom we




w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com




• The emergence of digital cryptocurrencies, have turned our understanding of currency completely on its head • Blockbase relocated to Sweden in 2017 in its bid to obtain access to reliable, low-cost source sustainable energy sources at scale


• Close to finishing the construction of a second data centre, a third is currently being planned




w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


purchase renewable energy, such as hydropower and wind power,” notes Stanic. Building effective, long-term


Year founded

partnerships has been central to Blockbase’s success. With five team members providing local support, on top of it’s in house developed hosting software, the company remains confident in its ability to remain operational 7 days a week, day and night. “The last big power outage in 132

the north of Sweden was back in 1984. The country has built its power grid with Norway and Finland, increasing stability. We work closely with our local grid provider to also address any problems,” he says.

LONG-TERM GROWTH With plans to further scale up its operations in Sweden and upgrade the current facility up to 19 megawatts, the company is gaining an additional power line where 10 megawatts will also enter the facility. Plans to build a second and third facility are in NOVEMBER 2018


Number of employees


construction, with a goal of scaling up to almost 30 megawatts in Sweden by next year. Additionally, Stanic is keen to enter other markets outside of Europe long-term, such as the United States and areas of Canada which are stable, cryptocurrency friendly, house a similar climate and promote green energy. “Our long-term plan is to move from strictly mining-as-a-service to a high-performance computing company,” concludes Stanic. “This goal we want to achieve over the next three years so that we’re not just relying on one business. “Becoming a high-performance computing business would be the perfect fit for our company, where we will consistently provide costeffective prices and ensure we remain competitive for the future.”

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erracon has been delivering consulting engineering services to clients for more

than 50 years. The company, based in Olathe, Kansas, is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm that provides environmental, facilities, geotechnical and materials services across a number of strategic business sectors, including power generation, oil and gas, transportation and facilities.



It is this power generation market, particularly wind power generation, that is currently experiencing significant growth like never before. For Blair Loftis, vice president and National Director, Power Generation & Transmission at Terracon, key to this growth has been the impending expiration of the production tax credit in 2019. This means that companies constructing wind facilities from 2019 onwards will receive a lower tax incentive than in previous years.

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Vision, Innovation, Development

Wind Stone Constructions works as an ambitious company and with a great work spirit, we are specialists in civil works/engineering and P&H foundations for wind turbines. Our commitment is to develop projects promoting the transformation of our environment and fostering the economic, social and environmental development. LEARN MORE

HEADQUARTERS: Avenida Las Cumbres 171 Colonia Colinas del Vergel, 98085. Zacatecas, Zacatecas Mexico. MEXICO CITY: Avenida Paseo de la Reforma 296 Colonia Juarez, 06600. Mexico City, Mexico. | |



“That’s what we are doing at Terracon, we are working with these large companies and we are providing innovative solutions that help reduce those costs” — Blair Loftis, VP and National Director, Power Generation & Transmission, Terracon

“The existing production tax credit

Lowering the corrugated metal pipe into the foundation excavation

cycle of a wind farm goes into the

(PTC) expires in 2019 and this is forcing

turbines themselves, with the remain-

a number of companies to find ways to

ing 50% going into ‘balance of plant’

fill the incentive gap,” says Loftis. “In

(BOP): roadways, conductor systems

losing those tax incentives, more and

and other infrastructure elements and

more companies are now seeking out

half of the BOP cost is the foundations.

ways to reduce capital costs. “That’s what we are doing at Terra-

The key then for Terracon is finding where it can add value into that con-

con, we are working with these large

struction cycle, and it has located it in

companies and we are providing

the wind turbine foundations.

innovative solutions that helps reduce those costs.”

As the wind energy market grows and the PTC expiration date draws

Loftis notes that 50%of the capital

near, these developers are looking for

expenditure within the construction

bigger returns on each wind turbine w w w.busi ne ssc hief. com



Williams Form Engineering Corporation has been providing threaded steel bars and accessories for in the construction industry for over 95 years. Each wind tower supported by a Williams foundation anchor bolt can be relied upon to perform flawlessly throughout the life of the turbine. LEARN MORE 8165 Graphic Dr. Belmont, MI 49306 Phone: (616) 866-0815 Fax: (616) 866-1890


P&H “Anchor Foundation”

P&H “Tensionless Pier Foundation”

JBS Energy Solutions is fast becoming the go to company to provide scalable design and build solutions specifically for the Patrick & Henderson wind turbine foundations and existing foundation upgrades. We provide a complete foundation package, from initial engineering through final construction.



they construct. Technological advance-

have been constructed with a gravity

ments in wind turbine generators has

spread foundation design, but with the

afforded an opportunity for larger

additional mass at the top of the tower

machines. This equates to a signifi-

from these larger machines the industry

cant increase in the turbine size, tower

was ripe for a paradigm shift.

height and blade length. In turn, the

That shift was brought about by the

foundation system grows larger and

Patrick & Henderson (P&H) Tension-

more expensive.

less Pier Foundation: a design that

The market is moving towards larger

requires less than a third of the amount

turbines for land-based applications;

of concrete and steel and 25% less

from a typical size in the 2-megawatt

excavation and backfill when construct-

family to turbines rated at 3-3.5

ing the larger wind turbines. Accord-

megawatts. Traditionally, the turbines

ing to Loftis, an experienced crew can 141


Year founded

4,000+ Number of employees


Offices nationwide

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“What we are doing with our foundation systems is making the typical gravity spread foot foundation functionally redundant in the marketplace” — Blair Loftis, VP and National Director, Power Generation & Transmission, Terracon

Blount Contracting is a full service civil construction company specializing in mass excavation, shoring, renewable energy – civil grading and P & H foundation installation. 1353 S Vista Rd Apache Junction AZ 85119 • 480-985-2112 •


The inner corrugated metal pipe is ready for backfill 143 complete at least five foundations per

to conventional standards of modelling

week under favourable site conditions.

so we could get that in front of the

“We work with specialty foundation

independent engineering community.

contractors like JBS Energy Solutions,

Once we started doing that, we got

Blount Contracting, and Wind Stone

the industry and market comfortable

Construction who have honed their skills

with Terracon assuming this role as the

for installing our foundation design.

engineer of record.

Some engineer, procure, construction

“It has been a team effort. We have

(EPC) contractors, such as Blattner

a tight group including Allan Henderson,

Energy have resourced so that they can

the inventor of the foundation, two

construct our foundations on multiple

preferred materials suppliers (Contech

projects simultaneously,” says Loftis.

Engineering Solutions and Williams

“Terracon has spent the last few years bringing the P&H Foundation up

Form Engineering) and a quality assurance firm (Structural Observation

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Services), and we all work together with a shared strategic platform.” One of the key ways in which Terracon has and continues to establish itself as an industry expert in foundation design is through partnering with key industry players. Through this, Terracon is able to work with and demonstrate first-hand the true value of the P&H Tensionless Pier Foundation which in turn highlights its value in terms of, at least in part, helping to fill in the tax incentive gap. Terracon has partnered with NextEra Energy Resources, one of the largest independent 144

operators of power generating assets in North America. Terracon has been able to realise as much as 40% savings in construction capital costs of NextEra’s wind turbine foundations through the P&H Tensionless Pier Foundation. “For NextEra it was an easy win,” says Loftis. “NextEra, like many companies, is faced with increased capital pressures as it deals with the expiration of the PTC. If Terracon can save one of the largest industry players 40% on 25% of their capital it is sort of a no-brainer.” Terracon’s foundation is deep and cylindrical, as opposed to the gravity foundation which is typically flat and octagonal. The standard P&H Tensionless Pier Foundation requires



only 110 cubic yards of concrete which translates to as much as 40% less concrete and 40% less steel as opposed to a gravity spread for the same size wind turbine. “It’s a significant cost saving in the industry. Especially when we’re looking down the barrel of an administration with a trigger finger on tariffs, which effects the cost of the steel and other construction materials used in the foundations. Since the pier requires substantially less steel than the spread we reduce the amplitude of this kind of market volatility,” says Loftis. Through the success of working with NextEra, Terracon was introduced to a number of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms including market leaders like Blattner Energy. NextEra solicited the largest tender of wind projects in North American wind history last year. Blattner Energy won all of the projects and decided to build the majority of them using Terracon’s P&H Tensionless Pier Foundation. Terracon was retained to design more than 550 foundations for that round of projects. For Loftis, this is the clearest representation of the paradigm shift that the market was craving. “There has been a paradigm shift, moving from the gravity spread foundation

Securing the rebar hoops which maintain anchor bolt spacing w w w.busi ne ssc hief. com




to the tensionless pier foundation

the foundation is compatible with site

because it saves cost,” he says.

conditions. As Loftis notes, it’s in both

“Blattner Energy has invested heavily

parties’ interests to ensure that the

into the foundation and to me this is a

foundation is in fact suitable for each

message of industry disruption. What

specific project. “That is how we set up

we are doing with our foundation

each engagement, making sure at the

systems is making the typical gravity

earliest stages of project planning that

spread foot foundation functionally

our foundation is the optimal design

redundant in the marketplace.”

choice for project success,” he says.

Relationships are only as strong as

To this end, Terracon does things

the effort put into them and Terracon

a little differently. They look at success

recognises this, conducting rigorous

from project conception through project

compatibility reviews to ensure that

completion. “We meet with project



Securing the anchor bolts to the upper template ring


“There has been a paradigm shift, moving from the gravity spread foundation to the tensionless pier foundation because it saves cost” — Blair Loftis, VP and National Director, Power Generation & Transmission, Terracon

managers, superintendents, foremen, and team leaders to conduct constructability reviews and spend a day or two discussing what portions of our design give the construction folk troubles in the field,” says Loftis. “I want to know every complaint that every craftsman, supervisor, project manager and foreman has about these foundations.” “We then take that back and see if we can implement a design solution to enhance constructability efficiency. If we can revise the design to make the w w w.busi ne ssc hief. com


construction process easier, while still preserving the integrity of the design, then we can provide even more value to the industry. “This level of constructability design review with NextEra, Blattner and Terracon involved is something that is rarely ever done across the industry.” Over the last two years, the company has experienced significant growth in one particular sector – power generation and transmission – recording a growth rate of 20% year-on-year. With the growth of the market and Terracon’s role in defining that 148

future market, Loftis has begun work on a strategic growth plan for the next 24 months. He believes that, given Terracon’s market position, it provides him with a key understanding of where the market is heading and enables him to ensure the company is “fully equipped” for it. Looking beyond the next two years, Terracon aspires to be the industry leader in wind turbine foundation design in the United States. The company has already begun to attract attention from around the world but Loftis will ensure that whatever direction the company grows in, it will be direction of growth that benefits the wind industry. “There really is an opportunity for our



CLICK TO WATCH : ‘TERRACON – GREAT PEOPLE’ 149 foundation to support the economics of wind growth globally,” he says. “We’re going to focus on North America. We’re optimistic looking at the Latin America market, especially in Mexico, with the energy reform that’s taking place. But I would say our goal is to capture the market, get the majority of the market share in the United States and Canada, and then move into foreign markets.”

Completed foundation ready for tower construction w w w.busi ne ssc hief. com

AHEAD OF THE CURVE IN THE EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY SPACE After 30 years of operating, Align continues to define the digital landscape of the data center world






or over 30 years, Align has provided next-generation solutions designed to manage client technology needs, optimize

their business operations and secure their IT infrastructure. It does this through three key areas – Professional Services, Managed IT Services and Cybersecurity Risk Management. However, it goes without saying that what worked 30 years ago – or even five years ago – no longer guarantees it will meet the technology needs of today, and of tomorrow. As such, technology solutions providers have had to evolve and innovate faster than the market in 152

order to not only serve this changing client base but stay ahead of the curve. “As a company we’ve been extremely fortunate to evolve with the way that technology has changed and to stay on the cusp of what’s happening with the future landscape of technology,” says Art Dooling, Managing Director, of Align. “Let’s be honest, technology has evolved so much over the last 30 years that we’ve had to. What we were doing 30 years ago is completely different to what we are doing today.” Align was formed in 1986 in a pre-internet age. In fact, Align was formed merely five years after IBM launched the very first, commercially available, personal computer. Dooling, along with Tom Weber as Align’s Director of Data Center and Design, both share a unique NOVEMBER 2018



A structured fiber cabling solution w w w. c o n s t r u c t i o n g l o b a l . c o m


perspective of the emergence of new technologies — matched with increasing client demands and expectations — and as such they both understand the importance for Align to continuously redefine what it can do for its clients. “Companies around the world are developing something new on an almost daily basis,” says Weber. “The fact of the matter is that as a firm you simply cannot put your focus into every new solution or product. You have to select the right ones and develop 154

solutions that allow our customers to maximize the efficiencies that these new technologies afford.” This understanding is written into the company’s very DNA with both Dooling and Weber pointing to a saying that defines the strategic direction of Align: if our firm was doing the same thing it was doing five years ago we would be out of business. One particular market that is undergoing substantial growth and momentum is the data center space. Over the past decade, data center investments have soared as more and more companies are moving legacy infrastructure into cloud solutions and leasing NOVEMBER 2018


“Developers and companies around the world are coming out with something new on an almost daily basis” — Tom Weber, Director of Data Center and Design

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“They come in with an intelligent group of technologists of their own that support their business and Align has been able to take advantage of this knowledge exchange and take that forward to other clients” 156

— Art Dooling, Managing Director




Power busway system for a leading cloud computing customer w w w. c o n s t r u c t i o n g l o b a l . c o m



Build in progress: 2-tier cable conveyance system and cabinet floor grommets for a colocation services customer purpose-built data center whitespace. Align has designed power, cabling and

competition increasing daily,” says Weber. “But Align is defined by being

pathways for over 250MW of production-

ahead of the curve. So, what do we do

ready data center space as it looks to

to push our solutions offering further?

provide “a solution for everyone.”

We strive to provide more cost effec-

This is Weber and Dooling’s domain

tive data center designs, workplace

as Weber takes charge of the design

technology solutions, audio visual

and build of the whitespace and

technology, Wi-Fi and big data. These

Dooling oversees the physical imple-

are hot topics right now, but it’s impor-

mentation of data center technologies

tant to understand what is ahead and

— the migration of the data and moving of applications and workloads. “It’s an amazingly hot market with NOVEMBER 2018

think about a year, or two or three years’ time. You’ve got to continually refresh and upgrade the skillsets on


$75mn+ Approximate revenue

Align with a unique insight into what clients are asking for and how well Align is adapting and exceeding those expectations.


Year founded

“Our greatest advantage is the diversity of clients that we have, and what they’re trying to do in various industries, whether it’s health, whether it’s financial, whether it’s pharmaceutical, retail, media, you name it,” says


Approximate number of employees

Dooling. “Our customers have worldclass engineers and technologists of their own to support their business. Align strives to partner with these teams, understand their business model, its pain points and to use this knowledge to introduce new technologies and

your team. But our differentiator is to

smart solutions that improve efficiency

provide top customer service. The

and eliminate their IT challenges.”

customer needs to feel like they are

Integral to this knowledge exchange

your biggest and only priority. That is

is people — and Weber firmly believes

what Align offers.”

that Align employs some of the smartest

Key for Align is understanding

and most innovative people in the

exactly how and where the market is

industry today, when a number of

shifting and this is achieved by its close

companies in the data center industry

collaboration with clients and partners

look to third parties for the skillsets and

across the globe. Align works with

talented and knowledgeable workforce

major customers across all market

completely in-house. This is crucial in

sectors and Dooling believes that each

delivering the best possible service to

client and each relationship provides

the most important component of w w w. c o n s t r u c t i o n g l o b a l . c o m




Align’s proven framework includes the governance, process and tools to collect, store and analyze application and infrastructure technology to support future state transformations

Align’s entire value chain, the client. “As a firm we are technology agnos-

whether it’s a networking architecture question or a simple cable plant item.

tic and we present ideas and recom-

My SME colleague can give me the

mendations based on client needs,”

right insight or multiple options to solve

says Weber. “So what we have done is

our customer’s challenge. That’s real

we have ensured that in every area of

value for our customers.”

our business we have people who know

Naturally, as a technology company

their specialty and are true leaders in

that has been in business for over

that field.”

three decades, Align has established

“Our professionals are so knowl-

and fostered key strategic partners to

edgeable, in all the leading solutions,

help the company to continue to grow

that I can lean back and ask a question

and remain a leader in the field. But

or ask for an opinion from any one of

what is it that makes a key partner?

our Subject Matter Experts (SME),

How does Align not only select the




“right” partner but continue to work with that partner both today and in the future? For Align, it’s a combination of working with leaders in the field, but also leaders who are willing to grow with Align. “We try to look first at the leaders in the field, but also ask: who is innovating? Who is sticking with their product and selling it year in, year out? And who is actually seeing issues out in the field and making manufacturing changes to solve these issues?” says Weber. Weber recognises that it’s not a one-

“We really take every project personally and if we’re taking on a project for you… it’s going to get done better than anyone else could do it” — Art Dooling, Managing Director w w w. c o n s t r u c t i o n g l o b a l . c o m





Metro Sales Solutions is a manufacturer representative firm that helps its clients understand and leverage market dynamics in order to create better business results. Metro Sales Solutions is one of the most recognized and respected manufacturer representatives servicing the technology, data, security and telecommunications industries. GET MORE INFORMATION | |

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way relationship and that Align must allow itself to be held to the same standards that it expects of its partner network. “I think they look at it the same way. There are leaders in the field, and then there are innovators. If you can get both in one company, that’s tremendous. We are committed to finding partners who employ the leading innovators and the strongest leaders in the field.” Dooling feels that this is best represented in the company’s approach to Managed IT Services. For him it is imperative that

“There are leaders in the field, and then there are innovators. If you can get both in one company, that’s tremendous” — Tom Weber, Director of Data Center and Design

the company understands what “Day-Two”


looks like, not only for the partners, but also for the client. “Sure, it’s great we sold a solution and are working together, but then what?” asks Dooling. “What happens in 12 months or five years’ time and they’re looking to expand or grow? Where will this technology take them? I think that’s what we’re smart about, asking those questions to understand where these technologies are going and how we can grow together.” Having been with Align from the very beginning, Weber has seen first-hand just how much the company strives to be the very best. For him this isn’t just talking the talk, as he says Align truly “walks it” and he can point

Patching from switch port replication panels w w w. c o n s t r u c t i o n g l o b a l . c o m


Leveraging data captured during the current state, Align will work with your team to determine the future state(s) and costs for each app based on business requirements and technical standards


to a number of successful engagements

premier firm for our clients, and we are

as proof. But it’s not just about the size

delivering on that. In my time here I can

of a client or the profit margins that

honestly say we have never lost a client

Align has amassed and achieved over

due to not meeting expectations. We

the years, Weber believes the success

have always met and exceeded them

can be measured by one simple metric.

because of our people, our process

“We have been incredibly successful

and our tools.” And a measure of that is

over the years and for me it’s down to

that over 90% of Align’s customers are

our communication and our honesty,”

repeat clients.

says Weber. “We aren’t the cheapest firm out there, but we strive to be the NOVEMBER 2018

As the company looks to the future — with Dooling readily admitting that he



and the business has to have an eye

a project for you, it’s going to get done

well and truly on tomorrow — it is those

and it’s going to get done better than

three elements that he identifies as the

anyone else could do it.”

key to the longevity of Align both now and in the future. “For me our value comes from the processes that we have in place, the expertise that we have, and the tools that we use,” he says. “We really take every project personally, and if we’re taking on w w w. c o n s t r u c t i o n g l o b a l . c o m


The technology below the surface WRIT TEN BY






w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


Wilsonart is all about surfaces, the visible face of the built environment â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but below the surface sits a business whose effectiveness depends very much on technology 168


ack in the 1950s when Ralph Wilson Sr founded Wilsonart, he was one of the pioneers of laminate worktops and invented

processes that stimulated the creation of an entire industry. Anywhere you go nowadays, in hospitals, schools, retail, offices and of course in the home, walls, floors and working surfaces are likely to be covered by beautiful, hard-working, on-trend and high performance Wilsonart products. With more than 5,000 people and manufacturing facilities in North America, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Thailand and Australia, the company sells into 100 countries worldwide. Up until the fourth quarter of 2012, Wilsonart was the acknowledged global leader in laminates but in that year, following the sale of a controlling interest in the company by its owner Illinois Tool Works (ITW) to Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), it entered a new NOVEMBER 2018



w w w.busi ne ssc hief. com


phase of its existence. Though it had

experiencing a transformation from a US

subsidiaries in the USA, France, Germa-

High Pressure Laminate company to

ny, the UK, China and Thailand, those

a leading global engineered surfaces

businesses operated largely as autono-

company. The company is focused on

mous entities. CD&R brought in a global

continuing to grow its core laminate

executive leadership team under

business, while expanding its product

CEO Tim O’Brien, who brought in Jay

portfolio and adding Epoxy, Quartz,

Krishnamurthy as CIO, to use information

Performance Veneer and “Wet Wall”

and digital technology and mold the

solutions, expanding both its global

company into a truly global engi-

reach, and elevating operational excel-

neered surfaces company.

lence and service levels. While this wasn’t exactly an easy



journey, there were plenty of opportuni-

Since emerging as an independent

ties and challenges globally, and not

business in 2012, Wilsonart is

a lot of time and resources to sort them




out. Attempting an apples-to-apples comparison of its multiple business units spread across USA, UK, France, Germany, China, and Thailand, proved difficult because the systems and data were unique to a particular entity. Putting together a global data warehouse to harmonize and model data from the disparate back end systems and make it meaningful information at the executive level for decision making became one of the early priorities. As a forward-thinking leadership team that relied heavily on data and analytics

‘Millions of transactions and dollars across the enterprise have been automated both in upstream and downstream processes using IBM’s Datacap and BPM tools’ w w w.busi ne ssc hief. com



to make business decisions and steer the company in the right direction, this was a strategic necessity at Wilsonart. Wilsonart chose the Oracle suite of products for data warehousing, analytics, and financial consolidations and planning. With a plethora of systems in the global business including SAP, Epicor, MS Dynamics, MS Great Plains, Infor and Sage, the process of automating the data pull from these back-end systems, harmonizing, modelling and modernizing, consolidating, and presenting it in a simple format for consumption was a very NOVEMBER 2018


demanding and ambitious program. The idea was to achieve this as fast as possible so the company could make the right business decisions based on knowing what was working well globally and what was not. The solution allowed Wilsonart to get into details of product line margins, effectively analyze and understand volume, price, mix, inflation/deflation, and other metrics at a regional and consolidated global level. The fundamental enterprise-wide modelling of financials, sales, supply chain, operations, manufacturing and the like took a year to crack, and of course, there is an ongoing process of refinement, but the result was a far more unified global business with visibility into each reporting unit. Previously, analysts across the business were spending more time in data gathering than on data analysis. Once the company automated and harmonized data and processes, it increased their productivity 30-35% and allowed them to focus on other priorities. Wilsonart could focus on what was working well in one region of the world and deploy it in other regions while also being able to effectively w w w.busi ne ssc hief. com


174 integrate key financials and analytics

nyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growth plans. This platform enables

of the numerous acquisitions it has

the salesforce to look at all of its product

made in the US, UK and APAC in

offerings and offer what makes most

an effective manner.

sense to customers across the different channels, and serve them better.


Allowing its commercial teams to be able

In parallel with the above efforts, in order

to log information in real time on mobile

to fuel growth and deploy best commer-

devices while in conversation with

cial excellence practices globally,

distributors and customers made a big

Wilsonart chose to implement Oracle

difference. Sales managers were able

Sales Cloud for CRM. This was aimed

to create heat maps for regions and team

at providing strong automated pipeline

members, and provide sales perfor-

to its sales and specification team

mance analytics to the salesforce. These

members, so they could identify

capabilities empowered the sales teams

opportunities to support the compa-

to be more competitive and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;want to winâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.



â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Wilsonart has deployed SAP in Eastern Europe to expand its business and serve its customers in those regions, and has recently finished a finance and supply chain implementation of Oracle R12 in the USAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

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Early in 2017, Wilsonart introduced a new business-to-business (B2B) platform, and online eCommerce sales have doubled not only compared to preceding year, but also since the launch. Feedback has shown that customers enjoy the ability to find product, pricing, and inventory availability information online, and transact with Wilsonart 24/7. The company deals with many installers and fabricators who appreciate the opportunity to do business with Wilsonart online when they get back to their homes or offices after a day 176

on site. This has proven successful across the Americas and Wilsonart is now launching this in the UK shortly. Another example is the company’s efforts on branding. Wilsonart is #1 or

company has also launched a proprietary

#2 in key HPL markets globally, and

‘Visualizer’ tool, and a ‘Digital Wallboard’

continues to focus on gaining market

mobile app for interior designers,

share in products such as Quartz, Solid

renovation enthusiasts, architects,

Surface, TFL, etc. A lot of effort has

and distributors. It has seen an increase

gone into offering best-in-class user

of over 125% in organic web traffic

experience and making information

globally, and over 20 million renderings

readily available for customers online,

using its Visualizer. The ‘Digital Wallboard’

including placing products front and

app is a game changer and Wilsonart is

center, displaying designs in various

leading the industry in this area. These

BIM formats, pushing key performance

technologies are designed to add brand

and technical product information, and

value, increase service levels, and make

‘where to buy’ information. The

it easier for customers to do business.




Year Founded

5,000 Number of Employees $1.4B Revenue


The CRM and web solutions have

Perhaps the most innovative move,

clearly helped Wilsonart grow from the

however, has been the successful

low single digits to approaching double

introduction of hyperspectral technology

digit rates this year, and these are critical

at the North American plants. This

as it continues to expand as a global

technology has been used in agriculture,

leader in engineered surfaces.

food processing and environmental controls, but identifying its strengths and


applying it in the context of laminates to deliver results is quite amazing.

All of Wilsonartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s global manufacturing

Wilsonart uses proprietary hyperspec-

facilities are well run, efficient and with

tral technology solution to recognize and

patented processes, but like anything

identify design-pattern-texture combina-

else, offer improvement opportunities.

tions as they are manufactured - the w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com


number of different variations is almost unimaginable. Before introducing this technology Wilsonart was achieving accuracy in the low to mid 80â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, but is now above 95% in terms of identifying exactly what design-pattern-texture it is manufacturing. This helps with shipping the right products to the customer, which resulted in an increase in customer satisfaction. Digitizing business processes remains a priority, and good progress has already been achieved by barcoding all products as they come off the line, so distributors can use the same to receive in their systems. Millions of transactions and dollars across the enter178

prise have been automated both in upstream and downstream processes using IBMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Datacap and BPM tools. Implementing these tools is about maximizing automation and realizing its benefits internally, and sharing/ extending the solutions to customers as well. Wilsonart works with customers to help minimize manual touches as transactions flow through the supply and demand data chains, providing universal benefits. Five years of technology development and execution for Wilsonartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s IT team has added significant value to the company. But the hard work is far from over. The IT function is constantly looking to gain a competitive edge, meet the changing customer needs, invest in global expansion programs, and help the NOVEMBER 2018



wider company business units become more productive and efficient. Wilsonart has deployed SAP in Eastern Europe to expand its business and serve its customers in those regions, and has recently finished a finance and supply chain implementation of Oracle R12 in the USA to establish better controls, enable e-procurement, and enhance transactional productivity and accuracy. Meanwhile, there are plenty of more routine matters that mustnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be forgotten. Cybersecurity has received a lot of focus and investment as well and in Europe, w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;A lot of effort has gone into offering best-in-class user experience and making information readily available for customers onlineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

the GDPR privacy legislation has global

between borders, and keeping relevant

ramifications. Being able to identify

parties updated.

where sensitive personal data is stored,

While Wilsonart is a leader in

protect and secure it is half the GDPR

Laminates and continues to lead and

battle. The rest is about putting the

invest in this category, its new products

appropriate policies and practices,

and offerings provide its customers

documenting business processes,

even more choices, allowing customers

providing training, securing data flow

to select design, texture and perfor-




mance they want within their budget.

does it continue to provide its global

The question now for Wilsonart is how

business a reliable, secure and high

does it enable growth and increase

performing infrastructure?

customer service levels, what can it do to automate and increase productivity, what are the next steps to remain competitive online and apply innovative but relevant technologies to its business, and how w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com







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T E K L E B E R H A N A M B AY E C O N S T R U C T I O N P. L . C . ( TA C O N )


Through a companywide transformation and world-class service delivery, TACON is the Ethiopian construction partner of choice


s a proud member of the TAF Group, Tekleberhan Ambaye

Construction PLC (TACON) is a team of innovative, committed and engaged professionals who strive to deliver and exceed on the diverse expectations of all its stakeholders. While engineer Tekleberhan Ambaye Fanta made his name as a philanthropist and businessman, the construction




company he established in 1993 served

average growth rate of 167%. The

as a springboard for the group that has

service segment of the company has

now become one of the leading diversi-

also grown to provide a full line of

fied Ethiopian business firms.

infrastructure development services,

Over the course of the last 25 years,

including among others: construction

rapid growth and an â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;obsession with

of highways and airport runways; civil

performance and speedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; has seen

works of railways and water projects;

TACON certified as an efficient and

massive earthworks; specialist pile

renowned Class One Ethiopian General

foundation excavation services; and

Contractor (GC 1).

industrial plants.

Over the last seven years, the

But what is the secret to this

company has seen its annual revenue

success? For Seifu Ambaye, Chair-

increase by 1,167%, maintaining an

man and Chief Executive Officer, it w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

T E K L E B E R H A N A M B AY E C O N S T R U C T I O N P. L . C . ( TA C O N )




has been a drive for total client satisfaction as part of a major strategic transformation. “Since I took up the post of TACON’s Senior Deputy General Manager in 2010, I embarked on a radical transformation of the company’s strategy, ushering in a new era of project management and internal efficiency,” says Ambaye. “With the technical support of Ernst & Young (EY), the TAF Group has recently formulated a growth strategy that aims to gain competitive advantage and demonstrate institutional effectiveness through growth goals in the areas of financial, customer and market and internal processes.” The unmatched growth of TACON is very much characterised by a mixed bag of both solid opportunities and substantial challenges. Through time, Ambaye came to realise

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“With the technical support of Ernst and Young (EY) the TAF Group has recently formulated a growth strategy that aims to gain competitive advantage and demonstrate institutional effectiveness through growth goals in financial, customer and market and internal process” — Seifu Ambaye, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction P.L.C. (TACON) NOVEMBER 2018

that the company was marching too quickly to the extent of outgrowing existing capacity. This, in turn, created notable difficulties in meeting the growing expectations from clients for timely delivery of projects, including an inability to shoulder the burden of contractual and financial commitments. “If these challenges, coupled with internal pressures such as ineffective leadership, traditional construction service delivery methods, highly politicised behaviour and lack of



systems continued to prevail, the

aforementioned internal pressures,

growing malaise would reach an

the company needed to act.

unbearable point,” he says.

“We adopt a project management

“The growing demand placed upon

philosophy that revolves around

the company by its key stakeholders

collaborating with all stakeholders and

allowed us to transform the business-

engage in integrated project delivery,

es of TACON and the TAF Group at

creating detailed activity and resourc-

large as a way-out strategy.”

es plans to meet the client’s scheduled

Tacon identified a number of key

implementation timelines, track project

drivers for this transformation. From

progress and fine tune deviations, closely

the government’s push to develop

monitoring the quality and cost-efficiency

competent local contractors, clients’

of operations thereby completing and

shift in focus towards the timely

delivering the projects on-time,”

delivery of quality projects, to the

Ambaye explains. w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

T E K L E B E R H A N A M B AY E C O N S T R U C T I O N P. L . C . ( TA C O N )

“The result is that we take pride in the

cial, public, educational, residential,

promising outcomes, thus our clients

multi-purpose, health, research and

can always be assured that only the

financial buildings, as well as industrial

most experienced and qualified people

plants and recreational facilities.

are serving them, all the time.” Amongst TACON’s diverse client

For Ambaye, TACON’s completion of these contracts represent far more

portfolio is a number of government

than enhancing physical infrastruc-

organisations. Over the course of its two

ture; they are implemented exceeding

and a half decades of operation, TACON

clients’ requirements and done so with

has worked with governments to

high quality and value with the view of

undertake numerous complex commer-

ultimately improving the livelihood secu-




rity and economic self-reliance of

philosophy: ‘Counting on Our Human

local people. “From our perspectives,

Capital’ and this is something that

the significance of the completion of

Ambaye continues to drive.

works under contract goes beyond the

“We firmly believe that the company’s

culmination of the traditional client-

prime asset is our human resources,”

contractor relationship,” he says. “In

he says.

fact, our approach has been instru-

“As an organisation we strive to

mental in allowing TACON to become

ensure that everyone has adequate

a company of choice of the govern-

opportunity to understand and be

ments of regional countries.”

committed to take responsibility for

TAF Group was created with a core

their own continued development


w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

T E K L E B E R H A N A M B AY E C O N S T R U C T I O N P. L . C . ( TA C O N )

“The result is that we take pride in the promising outcomes, thus our clients can always be assured that only the most experienced and qualified people are serving them, all the time” — Seifu Ambaye, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction P.L.C. (TACON)





w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com

T E K L E B E R H A N A M B AY E C O N S T R U C T I O N P. L . C . ( TA C O N )

needs a promote lessons learnt inside and outside the companies; as well as to innovate, improve and recommend better ways, among others.” These beliefs in the human resources saw TACON establish a Centre of Excellence in 2014. Accredited by the public regulatory bodies, the courses offered by the Centre of Excellence are designed to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude of the trainees meeting relevant Occupational Standard (OS) and remain 194

instrumental to increase the productivity, performance and profitability of the construction industry participants and other institutions. As TACON looks to the future, Ambaye is mindful of the need to strike a balance between short-term goals and long-term ambition. “Our short-term goals are to embark on formulating a strategy that combines internal growth by using the company’s capabilities to develop their own businesses as well as re-engineering operational systems and service delivery processes,” he says. “To achieve the objectives embodied in our overarching vision and NOVEMBER 2018


195 mission statements, the leadership will continue to invest in human capital; review the project management and supply chain practices in order to eliminate all service delivery that falls below industry standards. This will allow TACON to continue to stand tall above others in the industry.â&#x20AC;?

w w w.c o nst ruc t i o ngl o b a l. com



Founded in 1996, we are a construction services company based in Malaysia with over 20 years of operating history and are principally engaged in provision of a wide range of construction services. The group was founded with a mission to pursue sustainable engineering models in a competitive resource-heavy sector. BGMC stand today as a builder of good repute positioned to make our mark beyond Malaysian shores. On the back of a solid trajectory of growth, the Group listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (HKEX) on 9 August, 2017. Our successful listing in Asiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s financial centre places us at an advantage to leverage the Belt and Road Initiative, paving the way into key Southeast Asian markets for accelerated growth. Concession & Maintenance will be a priority in coming years to sustain long-term cash inflow. Meanwhile, we will be increasing our assets through acquisition of more advanced machinery and technology. We will also be strengthening our portfolio through collaboration, partnership agreements, or merger and acquisition. Ultimately, BGMC stands for a sustainable future where our people, clients, and surrounding communities can thrive for generations to come.



Profile for Construction Global

Construction Global - November 2018  

Construction Global - November 2018  

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