Page 1

sa f e

issue one: december 2008



Steering through waters turbulent economic

Featuring State of the nation A snapshot of Halcrow’s performance

Expecting the unexpected Scanning the horizon for risk

Strategy 2018 Planning for the long-term

Sustainable development Tackling the global challenge

Welcome to the first edition of Vox, Halcrow’s re-invigorated successor to Connections.

The Vox team Anna Mann, editor

Emilie Dadswell, designer Editorial Haidee Harrison Bryony Ulyett Eloise Young Distribution Garry Whitaker Vox is designed and produced by Halcrow’s corporate communications team and K4 Creative. Printed by Rumbold Holland on Revive 50:50 Silk recycled paper,

Editor’s comment

Chris Warmoll, deputy editor

Meaning ‘voice’ in Latin, Vox is your place to champion successes and achievements. It’s the forum for business groups, regions and management teams to share their vision and future direction for the company. It’s our collective voice to talk to each other, our clients and our stakeholders.

Vox builds on the solid foundations laid by Connections and remains the pre-eminent place to read about the company and your colleagues’ achievements – whether professional, personal, academic or sporting. The fresh layout and improved graphics cater to individual reading styles. So if you’re a ‘skimmer’, nuggets of easily digestible information will leap from every page. And if you’ve always enjoyed immersing yourself from cover to cover, the engaging graphics will add another visual dimension to your reading experience. The editorial team hopes you enjoy the new look and feel of Vox and continue to send in your articles and photos.

it contains 50 per cent recovered waste and 50 per cent virgin fibre. It is manufactured at a mill accredited with the ISO 14001 environmental management standard. The pulp used in this product is bleached using an elemental chlorine-free process. This material is recyclable.

Read, reflect, share and digest. This is your magazine, your forum and your voice. Enjoy. Anna Mann – editor


State of the nation In the hot seat with Peter Gammie – 32

That’ll be the Daewoo Mega structure takes shape – 04

Correspondents Americas Argentina, Mariana Ojeda Canada, Cathy Spark Belize, Ian Rowdon

Expecting the unexpected

Chile, Georg Welzel Saint Lucia, Mandish Singh US, Andrea Grinbaum

Risk sub-committee gazes into its crystal ball – 22

Asia Beijing, Cathy Hu Chongqing, Guo Ping Yang Hong Kong, Irene Or India, Rajni Dhiman Philippines, Ricardo P Dela Cruz Seoul, Andrea Choi Shanghai, Victor Cheung Shenzhen, Victor Cheung

A decade of decisive direction Strategy 2018 takes centre stage – 34

Australasia Brisbane, Russ Evans Melbourne, Margaret Westman

Project profiles – 04

Business beat – 32

Testing our mettle Transforming abandoned steel works – 06

Financial fluency Steady hands steer financial ship – 38

Sydney, Helen Orchard Europe and Central Asia Ireland, Dijana Garwood Latvia, Iveta Liepina

Racing to victory Burning rubber on the Middle East’s latest mega-project at Yas Island – 10 Double first for Dubai rail The Palm on track for mass transit system – 12 A green and pleasant land Turning the tide on urban encroachment – 16

Act now! does it again Savvy savers reap real rewards – 39

Romania, Gabriela Mehedintu, Andreea Pana and Eliza Pintilie Middle East

140 years on

Sir William Halcrow – a portrait of quiet brilliance Company’s 140th birthday highlights founder’s achievements – 42

Gulf offices, Vanessa James Pakistan, Ali Khan UK Bedford, Walter Makoni Birmingham, Peter Robery

People parade – 44

Bristol, Laura Williams Cardiff, George Ballard

Incredible India Tourism magnet for international hoteliers – 18

Sustainable solutions – 24

Soapbox scribe and alumni – 47

Crawley, Stella Barber and Warren Crawley

Giving generously – 48

Derby, Peter Robery Edinburgh, Becki Fleming

Achieving ambitions – 50 Sick and tyred quarry revived Defusing an environmental time bomb – 25

Exeter, Rachel Smith and Sarah Dawe

Sporting success – 52

Glasgow, Julie McSorley Gloucester, Andrew Prout

Winds of change Pakistan’s first wind farm breezes into operation – 26

Wedding wishes – 54

Inverness, Kat Dearing Kent, Vijay Jain

Baby boom – 56

Leeds, Phil Thrower London (Vineyard House), Christopher Warmoll London (Shortlands),

Out of office Life in the terror zone – 58 A first for London Travel plan puts Halcrow streets ahead – 28

Liz Wilson Peterborough, Simon Morris Reading, Beverley Tocock Swindon, Garry Whitaker and Sarah Payne Waltham Cross, Dawn McGilchrist

A chip off the old block Fry guy Max Bloomfield talks biodiesel – 30

Worcester, Anita Inight York, Graeme Pollard

s e-stayed bridge cludes two cabl in k lin d xe fi eoje bridges The Busan-G d by approach tunnel, linke an immersed

At up to 156m-high, the cable-stayed bridge pylons are Korea’s first to be designed with a curved diamond shape


Vox | issue one


Halcrow is providing top-end technical expertise to what will be the world’s deepest immersed concrete roadway tunnel in Korea

That’ll be the

he Busan to Geoje fixed link project is an ambitious scheme to reduce journey times between Korea’s south coast city of Busan and the island of Geoje – a tourist hot-spot and home to some of the country’s biggest shipbuilding yards.


On completion in late 2010, the link will slash journey times from three and a half hours to just 40 minutes. It will open up the region to a wealth of previously untapped business and tourism opportunities. The impressive 8.2km-long link includes a record-breaking immersed tunnel, both a

three-pylon and a two-pylon cable-stayed bridge, together with approach bridges and road and rock tunnels on the islands. The cable-stayed bridges are the first of their kind in Korea, employing the most advanced design techniques and latest construction technology. Held in place by cable stays, the roadway will ‘float’ in the air between the pylons, allowing ships to pass easily underneath. When full erection of the bridges begins, five sets of balanced cantilevers will enable construction of the mammoth structure.

On completion in late 2010, the link will slash car journey times from three and a half hours to just 40 minutes

The 3.2km-long immersed tunnel will carry traffic at a depth of up to 48m below sea level, avoiding the massive container ships plying their trade above. Based in Busan, Halcrow’s Don Fraser is providing advice to Korean contractor Daewoo Engineering and Construction, which designed the project with Danish company, COWI. “Halcrow has been involved on this worldclass project from the very beginning and it’s proving to be a tremendously challenging, but extremely rewarding scheme,” said Don.

Project profiles Celebrating excellence

Testing our

Transforming former Welsh steelworks ne of the biggest challenges currently facing Halcrow’s UK landscape architecture team is the £300 million landscape restoration of a former steelworks in the south east corner of Wales.


In the mid 1900s, Ebbw Vale was the largest steelworks in Europe, with a weekly output of 2,300 tonnes. During the Second World War it attracted the attention of Nazi bombers, but the deep bowl of the valley gave the works a natural protection, and it escaped unscathed.

Pump it up One of the few ecologically-rich areas of the steelworks was the pump house. Retaining over 100 plant species and its cooling tanks, this site is being developed as an environmental resource centre. Working with Gwent Wildlife Trust, which will jointly manage the site long-term, the Halcrow team is incorporating ideas from local schools to develop the pump house as an educational resource. Proposals include boardwalks inside the retained tanks, a covered ponddipping platform, a new bog garden and a teaching area. The old railway lines will be transformed into paths, providing a link to the site’s industrial heritage. Where possible, the project will use materials recycled from the Ebbw Vale site. The car park and paths will be surfaced in crushed concrete, with compostenriched soil covering the new planting and wildflower grass zones. Other areas will be left to regenerate naturally.


Vox | issue one

A casualty of the decline of Britain’s steel industry in the latter part of the twentieth century, the works finally closed completely in 2002, and were soon demolished. The old works became one of the UK’s largest brown field reclamation sites – and a restoration project led by Halcrow for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council is now transforming the town. Currently at the planting stage, the project’s strong social, economic and environmental objectives meet the Welsh Assembly Government’s sustainability agenda. The team will enhance the existing landscape of the site, providing new green spaces, natural habitats and strong transport links to and around the town. The plans include a community hospital, a learning campus, high-quality residential developments, and an exciting business hub at the centre of the Ebbw Vale valley – all interlinked by vibrant urban squares. A key challenge facing the team was the mineral waste material generated by over 200 years of industrial activity. It filled the central valley to over 20m deep in places and obliterated natural soil cover and vegetation. Getting plants to thrive in this environment needed some innovative thinking.

Mixing steel slag or colliery spoil with green compost and organic fertiliser has fed nutrients into the soil, bound by crushed gritstone and glacial drift material to help retain moisture. Some 70,000 tonnes of soil have been created using 13,000 tonnes of compost, covering 11ha of land. The rural valley slopes to the east of Ebbw Vale provide open, windswept hillsides with panoramic views and a network of paths, tracks and ponds – and enormous recreational potential.

In the mid 1900s, Ebbw Vale was the largest steelworks in Europe, with a weekly output of 2,300 tonnes The team helped formulate the council’s vision and masterplan for the Eastern Valley slopes. This has brought major funding for the land purchase from steel firm Corus. Plans include over 1km of new stone walls and an additional 5,000 new trees, adding to the existing 50,000m² of managed woodland. It’s clear Ebbw Vale has a bright future on the horizon – built on roots of steel. Artist’s impression of the restored steel works site compared to the current landscape (top left), which includes the restored valley, new watercourse and recent grass seeding. Planting will take place at the end of this year.

pink pink

alcrow’s health and safety team celebrated in style at a gala event after scooping Scotland’s premier award for the prevention of accidents and ill health at work.


Survival of the fittest The RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards have been running for over 50 years. They are sponsored by NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) with Her Majesty the Queen as patron. Competition is fierce for awards and specialist trophies, with over 1,500 delighted winners this year.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Occupational Health and Safety Awards ceremony was held in Glasgow on 25 September. The team accepted the prestigious RoSPA Scotland Trophy at the ceremony, where Halcrow was also commended in the commercial and business services sector. The RoSPA judges were particularly impressed by the company’s arrangements for ensuring the health and safety competence of its workforce. Also noted was its clear communication of health and safety information, thorough investigation of incidents to facilitate learning and the high standard of its corporate performance review and reporting. Halcrow’s director for health and safety, Nigel Valvona, said: “We’re delighted that the

judging panel has recognised Halcrow’s commitment to looking after its employees and building safety into our work. We are exceptionally honoured to receive the RoSPA Scotland Trophy, and will continue to work towards raising health and safety standards globally.” Commenting on the team’s award, RoSPA’s chief executive, Tom Mullarkey, said: “If every business in the UK could put in place the kind of safe and healthy working that award-winners such as Halcrow have created, very many tragedies would be avoided and lives saved.”

Halcrow’s Nigel Valvona and John Walker display RoSPA’s Scotland Trophy

In the

A safe road to Damascus Halcrow’s group security team supports high-profile airport project in Syria alcrow’s group security team is usually found busily shoring up the company against risks to its employees, IT systems and buildings. But it came under the international spotlight recently with its involvement in a high-profile airport project.


Head of group security David Grant has been working as part of the on-site project team, headed by Sam Jazairi, as it manages a suite of major improvements to Damascus International Airport. The works are being funded by a loan of £31 million from the Malaysian government. Halcrow is assisting Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Department in its efforts to modernise the airport in response to recent growth in traffic. The terminal, originally constructed in the 1970s, requires renovation and expansion to

establish it as a world-class airport with all the trimmings. David has been on site advising the project team on a CCTV network, check-in procedures, flight information and public address systems, as well as IT security. “Given the high profile of airport security in recent years, it has been an exciting challenge to help improve standards here,” says David. As well as expanding the check-in and bag reclaim halls, the

Contact the group security team for: • • • • • • • •

personal safety advice and assistance country security analysis crisis management e-mail or internet misuse IT security advice on business resilience and strategic plans legislation relating to security issues advice and assistance regarding business continuity and pandemic plans • security/data protection for bid material

lounges and concourses will be refurbished and a new VIP area will be created. Interiors and furnishings will also receive a major face-lift, to bring their battered 70s visage into the 21st century with new ceilings, lighting, floors and cladding.

Major mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment will be replaced. The contract also Damascus, includes apron expansion, Aleppo and Palmyra are landscaping, parking facilities becoming increasingly and road resurfacing. popular tourist destinations.

Within three years, Damascus International Airport is expected to handle some 3 million passengers annually, serving as a Syrian Arab Airlines hub

The group security team has already provided external consultancy services to many projects, including port and ship security at the North Tyneside Council Fish Quay, and building and perimeter security for the Thames Water reservoirs, both in the UK.

Project profiles Celebrating excellence


water everywhere The Alkborough tidal defence scheme has scooped overall honours at the UK’s Environment Agency’s Project Excellence Awards, and secured top spot in the ‘making space for water’ category.

High tide levels will be controlled by allowing water from the estuary to run into Alkborough Flats, creating a massive flood storage area Halcrow provided the project appraisal, environmental assessment, design and assistance during construction of the £11 million scheme, which forms an integral part of the Environment Agency’s longterm strategy for managing flood risk in the Humber Estuary.

It encompasses the largest area of managed realignment in the UK, while providing improved protection from flood risk for 300,000 local residents. A 25m-wide tidal exchange structure allows normal tidal inundation of an area of approximately 150ha, while a 1.5km weir lets surge tides spill into 375ha of washland. Inundation of the flats has established massive swathes of inter-tidal habitats, contributing towards the UK’s obligations under European Union habitats directives. Aerial view of inundated site

Moving away from physical barriers to more natural flooding patterns, high tide levels will be controlled by allowing water from the estuary to spill into Alkborough Flats, creating a massive flood storage area.

Climb every mountain Halcrow’s Glasgow-based transportation team is nearing completion of an £18 million road improvement scheme in an achingly beautiful slice of south west Scotland. The project covers two separate sections of carriageway – at Haggstone and Glen App. Located 4km apart on the A77 trunk road, the scheme provides safe overtaking opportunities while simultaneously protecting a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

Located on a steep hillside, Haggstone provided a number of unique challenges


• Named a highly commended project for excellence by the Institution of Civil Engineers in 2007 • Received an ‘excellent’ rating from the Civil Engineering Quality Assessment and Awards (CEEQUAL) scheme in 2007, achieving a score of 88.2 per cent (the second highest score ever at the time of the assessment) • Won the innovation category of the Waterways Renaissance Awards 2007

The tidal exchange structure

Tapping in to a fountain of knowledge Penang’s expansive water supply network is operating more effectively after a year of sustained work by the Malaysian urban water team. Responsible for 470,000 connections sprawling across 4,000km and serving a population of 1.5 million people, Penang Water Board sought to hone in on its network, segmenting it into sub-systems for improved operational control.

Located on a steep hillside, the 2km Haggstone section provided a number of unique challenges. The team decided to widen the road by cutting into the hillside rather than extending over the edge of a steep existing embankment, minimising the environmental impact.

Halcrow was brought in to deliver detailed models of the recentlydivided network over a three year period, recognising Malaysia’s steady march towards a more rigorous regulatory environment. In-depth modelling will play an increasingly important role in identifying leakage-prone areas and low-pressure zones, as required by nascent legislation.

Being next to an SSSI, various landscaping and ecological mitigation measures were required at the Glen App site, including several otter underpasses. To lessen the impact of excavation, existing material from Haggstone was used as fill for the embankments.

On completion, the models evaluated a range of proposed system changes, with Halcrow feeding the results back to the client.

Vox | issue one

Awards bonanza

The team installs flow measuring equipment

Laudable successes are not limited to the Penang team. In fact, Halcrow’s Malaysian engineers are carving out an enviable reputation across the competitive water sector. Further south, another Halcrow team is working flat out on an even larger scheme for Johor Water Company – 12,000km of pipeline with 900,000 connections. Add four models for the UK’s Wessex Water already underway and you’ve got a water-tight example of Halcrow’s global skills-sharing in action.

Towering success Halcrow had cause to celebrate as consultant on Bahrain’s Financial Harbour, when it was named best commercial development at the recent Arabian Property Awards. Held at the Madinat Jumeirah resort in Dubai, the awards highlight world-class developments that represent the pinnacle of design, functionality and innovation. The £1.5 billion harbour is a fully integrated development for a financial city and selfcontained community, right in the centre of Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. As consultant to the Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company, Halcrow was commissioned to validate and rework the concept plan to meet the development’s gross floor area targets and provide a mix of

land use that was sustainable for the existing infrastructure. Halcrow also designed and supervised the construction of the reclamation areas and elements of the harbour’s marina. Plot development guidelines, a car parking assessment, landscape frameworks and an overall three dimensional masterplan and urban design models were also created.

Covering 380,000m2 of reclaimed land in Mina Al Manama – the city’s old trading harbour – Bahrain’s Financial Harbour combines business, leisure and residential districts. Just 15 minutes from Bahrain International Airport, this waterfront development will cater for 7,000 residents, with work for a further 8,000 people.

Good vibrations When Anglian Water’s new pipeline ran into an immovable obstacle in the shape of the A12 dual carriageway, the only viable option was to tunnel under the road to connect the excavated pipe trenches on either side of the busy thoroughfare. Halcrow’s geospatial expertise was sought to observe ground movement and identify any risk of settlement damage caused by the tunnel’s construction. Led by Halcrow’s Chris Hall and Andrew Baines, the work was carried out as part of the Horkesley to Cowdray Avenue water mains replacement scheme. The unrelenting stream of traffic roaring down the A12 posed an obvious challenge, preventing the team from physically surveying the road. Traffic was diverted from the central lanes overnight while precise monitoring targets were installed, allowing surveyors to measure from the safety of the side verges. Laser scanning techniques in tandem with daily precise levelling checks ensured that any changes in the road’s stability from the tunnelling below would be picked up quickly by the Halcrow monitoring team and fed back to the client.

Breathing new life into bygone bridge

Wellington Bridge, a testament to Captain Brown’s ingenuity

Aberdeen’s historic Wellington Suspension Bridge has reopened after a seven year hiatus, thanks to inspired work by Halcrow’s Scottish team. Halcrow initially undertook an inspection of the bridge, built in 1830, following which sections of the chains were removed, examined, and found to be badly corroded. In addition to designing replacement stainless steel chains, the team managed the Aberdonian landmark’s refurbishment, adding a new timber deck, re-painted metalwork and re-pointed granite masonry to complete the face-lift. All works adhered to Historic Scotland’s requirements. Aberdeen City Council’s Lord Provost cut the red ribbon on 3 September 2008, giving the city’s pedestrians and cyclists their first glimpse of the restored structure.

Halcrow also provided engineering survey support to the tunnelling contractor to ensure that everything was built in exactly the right place.

In recognition of the quality work carried out by the team – David Hodson, Chris Short, Anne Kerr and Brian Whittle – Halcrow has been commissioned to design an architectural lighting scheme for the bridge.

Captain Samuel Brown chain bridge pioneer Captain Brown hung up his naval uniform in 1812 with several lucrative contracts to his name, and a series of chain cable patents that stood practically unchanged for the next 100 years. After establishing Samuel Brown and Co to manufacture chains, Brown made his first foray into bridge design and construction. Suspended over the River Tweed, Union Bridge was completed in 1820, making it Britain’s first vehicular suspension bridge. Aberdeen’s Wellington Bridge was the seventh chain-supported structure designed and built by Brown’s company.

Millimetre perfect • Surveyors took measurements on the same set of known points each day • Survey monuments were established prior to tunnelling and were checked regularly to an accuracy of 1mm • The level survey proved there was no substantial movement of the embankment during the tunnelling work • The laser scanner survey showed no significant ground movement of the two carriageway surfaces


With a five-sta its core r hotel , the ra at ce trac can ho k mari use 12 na 2 y a c hts at centre the of the F1 trac k

Halcrow steps up to the ultimate cross-business group challenge – Yas Island ome to six world-class marinas, a Formula 1 (F1) race track and a one-of-a-kind Ferrari experience theme park, Yas Island is set to exceed all expectations when it hosts the first Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix in November 2009.


than in places like the UK. This means that plans continue to develop even when work has begun. Our biggest challenge is to incorporate these and still complete on time.” That work began back in October 2006 when

As one of Halcrow’s biggest regional projects, its scope includes six marinas, numerous bridges, eight-lane highways and all the major utilities for the island. Around 350 Halcrow engineers from around the world are contributing to its development.

Tasked with a vital part of making this £23 billion dream a reality, Halcrow’s Yas Island project manager, David Connolly, is a man who has witnessed every stage of its development.


“We’re on masterplan version 28 and counting,” says David while looking out of his window on to the 2,500ha construction site. His calm disposition almost makes you forget that Yas Island is one of Halcrow’s biggest projects in the Middle East.

The race track winds around the edge of the marina, which will be flooded in May 2009

Around 25,000 on-site workers have set a rapid development pace, creating a premier destination in little over two years. “When Halcrow started, the masterplan was at version 16. Two years later it has changed over ten times,” David explains.

Halcrow was appointed by Abu Dhabi-based developer Aldar Properties to undertake transportation planning, detailed design and construction supervision services for all primary infrastructure works for the vast, challenging project.

Not that it’s a bad thing, he suggests. “In the Middle East, there is usually much less development time spent prior to construction

To achieve this, Halcrow has worked with world-class consultants and contractors such as Tilke, Six Construct and KBR.

Vox | issue one

Halcrow’s one-team approach to project management has seen four out of five of its business groups providing services on-site. The fifth team – property – is also set to play a part and will come on board as soon as residential and commercial building construction gets underway. Principal utilities engineer Mark Jones claims that the single-minded approach to


P1 Water works

P2 Marvellous marinas

The scale of work at Yas Island is immense. Providing water and sewage connections for a resident population of 110,000 – and up to 300,000 daily visitors at peak times – requires some seriously sophisticated coordination. The team must understand and meet the water requirements for over 20 hotels, an ever-growing shopping mall, theme parks, a race track and countless villas and apartments. Halcrow has devised one of the largest underground water tanks in the world to provide the island with sufficient water storage. Working with Halcrow’s design centre in Pakistan, engineers were able to complete this aspect in good time.

The cofferdam stretches the length of the marina entrance

The six marinas are an integral aspect of Yas Island’s infrastructure – they are currently supervised by long-time marine veteran Richard Wardropper. With a five-star hotel at its core, the race track marina can house 122 yachts at the centre of the F1 track. “The race track marina has been a daily challenge,” says Richard. “All work must be done in dry conditions. Just keeping the water out has been a daunting task.” As the base of the race track marina is 6m below sea-level, engineers had to construct a cut-off dam to protect against leaks. The team came up with the solution of a cofferdam that stretches the length of the marina entrance and reaches to a depth of 18m, where it is embedded into the bed rock.

Richard Wardropper and David Connolly by the Royal Yas Marina and the evolving marina hotel

P4 Freeway to the future

P3 Total transport solutions Halcrow’s transportation experts are working on a dual three-lane underwater tunnel to the south of the island.

In a separate concurrent project, Aldar has appointed Halcrow to design and supervise the construction of the dual five-lane Shahama to Saadiyat Freeway that traverses Yas Island.

According to project manager David Connolly, the tunnel was a late addition to the island as plans for a bridge were scrapped to provide an unobstructed route into the marina for the mega-yachts of the rich and famous.

The freeway will provide vehicular access to the island for the majority of residents and visitors coming from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and further afield.

Yas Island’s new transport network includes 30 signal junctions, as well as bus, tram, cycle and pedestrian facilities.

Yas Island is a defining feature of this project. “We have to work as a team,” he says. “The one-team approach is evident throughout Yas Island – it allows us to tackle changes and stay on top of client requirements.”

logistics work on-site. “We take pride in being involved,” said Lee. Maintaining a tight schedule and long hours, Halcrow’s team has managed to design and build Yas Island’s infrastructure simultaneously. “Revisions, changes and late additions were always going to be part of this island’s development,” says David. “We like to look at it as the interactive management of change.”

The project’s scope includes six marinas, numerous bridges, eight-lane highways and all the major utilities for the island

The head of Aldar’s infrastructure works, Lee Kandalaft, shares this ideology. In fact, his office is only a few doors down from David’s, allowing him day-to-day involvement in the project, managing all infrastructure and

One of Yas Island’s signalised junctions

Whatever you call it, it’s a phenomenal achievement. And with the 1 November 2009 F1 debut looming large, it’s all hands to the pump for David and the team.

Project profiles Celebrating excellence

t s r fi e l b u o D for Dubai rail n a region where superlatives such as ‘biggest’ and ‘tallest’ frequently precede new projects, the iconic Palm Jumeirah development in Dubai has fast-tracked another Middle Eastern first with the opening of its new transit system.


Running up the Palm’s spine is a state-ofthe-art monorail system – the first of its kind in the Middle East and the first rail transit system to come on line in Dubai. Halcrow is ensuring that rigorous standards are met through its role as independent safety assessor for the design, operation and maintenance of the emirate’s first foray into rail engineering. Approximately 5km long, the Palm Jumeirah transit system will transport passengers in air-conditioned comfort from the Palm

The team with the first monorail

Gateway to the Atlantis Hotel and theme park – launched in November with a £13 million celebrity-studded bash. Several stations are currently under construction and will be fully operational by late 2009, with initial passenger services beginning in April next year. In addition to the Palm Jumeirah scheme, several interlinked rail transit systems are at various stages of planning and construction to ease congestion on Dubai’s crowded motorways. Now subject to rigorous new safety, technical and operational regulations, the emirate’s future rail network is being designed to international standards. Work on the independent safety audit commenced in April this year with

• •


Vox | issue one

an assessment of the operations and maintenance contractor’s preliminary safety case. Currently, the Halcrow team is engaged in an independent assessment of the system’s design.

Approximately 5km long, the Palm Jumeirah transit system will transport passengers in air-conditioned comfort from the Palm Gateway to the Atlantis Hotel

The team also visited the train manufacturing site in Japan to witness factory inspection testing and to undertake a pre-delivery inspection prior to shipment of the first two trains to Dubai at the end of August. Operational testing and commissioning are due to begin later this year, subject to the team’s verification that the design and technical testing is predominantly complete.

Roles and ies responsibilit

The eighth wonder of the world • 100 million m³ of sand and

rock have been dredged and quarried to construct the Palm Extending 6.5km into the Arabian Gulf, the Palm also features a 12km-long crescent shaped breakwater arc around the trunk and branches If all the fill materials used to build the Palm Jumeirah were placed end to end, a wall 2m-high and half a metre thick would circle the world three times Jumeirah’s man-made islands are visible from space with the naked eye The Palm will eventually house 50 luxury hotels, including the 1,539-room, £750 million Atlantis mega-resort

train in Japan

el Owner: Nakhe or: Halcrow ss se as safety Independent maintainer: Operator and s Transit Singapore Mas ubeni contractor: Mar Main systems bai Roads and Regulator: Du thority (RTA) Au Transport

Stations of the Cross Halcrow helped ensure that 500,000 pilgrims who flocked into Sydney, Australia, for Pope Benedict XVI’s historic visit experienced stress-free journeys throughout the World Youth Day event.

The Sydney-based transport planning team delivered high level consultancy services to train operator RailCorp to assist in the rail operations planning for several major stations within the city. Dubbed a huge success by the New South Wales state government, Australia’s national media was equally full of praise for the meticulous attention to detail across the

Hydro powers India’s progress India’s thirst for power will be partially quenched by two colossal hydroelectric schemes. While the Indian population currently uses 600kWh a head per year against a global average of 2,596kWh, the country’s rocketing economy and increased affluence is fuelling a growing demand for electricity. Halcrow will provide detailed design and engineering services for the Bhyunderganga and Khiraoganga hydroelectric power projects, converting the flowing Alakananda River into electricity. Nestled in the Himalayas, the Bhyunderganga scheme lies upstream of the aptly-named Valley of Flowers and Sikh Hemkund Sahib shrine – both sites of significant international importance. The remote location poses challenges for the project team, which must overcome a complete lack of road access to the site. Construction on both schemes will begin in February 2009.

Broadlands – best in the business Halcrow has aced its recent Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Assessment (SHEQA) delivered by the Achilles Group, an external industry auditor. Work is ne aring compl etion on th

e River Bu re at Strace Broadlands Environmental Services – Halcrow’s y Mill joint venture with contractor Edmund Nuttall – received glowing praise for its near-perfect scores, ranging between 95 per cent and a flawless 100 per cent. This compares to an industry average of 65 per cent.

Contracted to upgrade the flood defences protecting the Norfolk Broads over 20 years, the team improves and maintains over 250km of flood bank through a £100 million pathfinder scheme. The strengthened defences shield sites brimming with natural beauty, home to substantial lizard and water vole populations. The team’s inventive approaches to ecological protection – such as staggering the project to enable the relocation of animals to other sites – won it special mention.

Top marks for joint venture 95 per cent for en vironment 96 per cent for he alth and safety 100 per cent for quality 65 per cent – ind ustry average

Safely does it Halcrow’s initial planning and clear communications were rewarded by excellent marks for health and safety. Ongoing collaboration with the project’s partners ensured risk assessments identified any hazards early on. And major safety benefits for the public are anticipated as a result of the team’s drive to improve railway crossing signage, working with Network Rail.

A grand scheme Success on a large scale for UK north urban water team

The project team includes Iftikhar Drabu, Nadeem Ahmed, Pradeep Jain and Swarn Singh

Project fast facts Client: Super Hydro Electric Power Private

Bhyunderganga Generation capacity – 24MW Weir elevation – 2,240m Power house elevation – 1,720m Head race tunnel – 3,500m Time frame for completion – three years

Khiraoganga Generation capacity – 3MW Time frame for completion – two years

multi-modal transport planning services. Transport minister John Watkins said: “This is the biggest public transport challenge we have faced in this city.” RailCorp chief executive Rob Mason expected 500,000 people to travel on the trains, compared with 175,000 on a normal day. Thousands lined the streets to catch a rare glimpse of the Austrian head of the Catholic Church in his famous Pope-mobile.

The urban water team in Halcrow’s UK north region has been reaping sizeable rewards through its ‘large schemes’ framework with Yorkshire Water, working with contractor Laing O’Rourke.

nt at the Knostrop works

Rob Grant inspects the final efflue

Months of detailed planning – led by Peter White and Mark O’Brien – paid off when the team successfully commissioned the first phase of the £35 million refurbishment of Knostrop wastewater treatment works – one of Yorkshire’s largest sewage works. Elsewhere, the successful ‘design and build’ team undertook the £13 million upgrade to Nutwell water treatment works. The scheme involves the blending of seven different borehole sources in a fully automated and OPEX-optimised process. Their third major win was the Harrogate South wastewater treatment works. The project – involving the design and construction of a wastewater activated sludge plant and sludge treatment works – is now well underway. Following the floods suffered in Hull in 2007, a ‘quick-fix’ refurbishment of the Bransholme pumping station was called for. Using two large submersible pumps, Halcrow provided a short-term solution to this very public problem. And after customers complained of odour and taste problems with their water supply, the dynamic duo were called in again – this time to design and construct a major pipeline and pumping station to transfer potable water in the York area.

Project profiles Celebrating excellence

Virgin territory

New airport to transform access to tiny Caribbean isle

he Caribbean isle of Virgin Gorda may be the celeb-heavy, sun-kissed destination of choice for moneyed souls in need of a glamorous vitamin D injection, but this tiny British Virgin Island territory had a number of air transport challenges it needed to urgently overcome.


Its government – led by premier Ralph T O’Neal – enlisted Halcrow’s expertise to help its small airport – accessible by direct air services from Puerto Rico and neighbouring islands – conquer the issues of crosswinds and difficult surrounding terrain.

Plans include an extension and surfacing of the runway, a small new terminal and apron, and improvements to security, air traffic control

Raising a glass to success

Planning for water

In June, Halcrow signed a contract to help the government improve the condition and safety of the airport and its air access. The team will plan, design and then supervise the construction of these improvements, bringing the facility up to international standards.

L to r: Halcrow’s Neal Dudley and Neil Sharpe, Proshield’s David Ashby and Graham Doig, PSI’s Bob Jarvie and Alistair Muir

With the help of Halcrow’s office in Tampa, Florida, the team carried out extensive surveys, looking at coastal, maritime, marine ecology, environmental and geological issues. With the design expected to start before the end of this year, construction is on schedule to commence in mid 2009. Richard Branson’s Neckar Island lies just north of Virgin Gorda, testament to the stunning natural beauty of the area. So it comes as no surprise that team members were more than willing to visit Halcrow’s Chris Myers and Bill Millington at the signing this project site. ceremony in Spanish Town on 17 June with the country’s premier

Currently, the small community and its all important leisure market can access the island on regular ferry services from the capital, Roadtown, on Tortola Island. Tourists usually reach Virgin Gorda by air via Beef Island International Airport on Tortola, and then by ferry or sea plane, or directly from neighbouring islands.

The culmination of two years’ intensive effort by Halcrow’s Inverness-based water and power team has resulted in cleaner, safer drinking water for Scottish consumers. Tasked with improving disinfection measures – the final treatment process undertaken to prevent bacterial contamination – the team faced a demanding brief. Quality needed to be drastically improved

following a series of belowpar disinfection performances across the industry. Rising to the challenge, Halcrow developed a series of sodium hypochlorite dosing skids to treat the water. After 12 months of rigorous testing and development, residents on the far-flung Shetland isle of Unst were the first of 25 communities to benefit, turning on their taps to better quality water in early 2008. Rewarded with a ‘delivering through partnership’ award from the client, Scottish Water Solutions, the team has also been chosen to design a further 100 disinfection schemes across Scotland.


and general operations. Halcrow is working closely with the British Virgin Islands Airport Authority and the regulator to make sure the proposals are compliant with Twin Otter type operations.

Connections Vox | issue one | July 2008

New guidance on water cycle studies, coauthored in partnership with the Environment Agency, is propelling Halcrow to the forefront of sustainable water management. To meet long-term housing needs, the UK government’s house building strategy will see some 3 million new dwellings built by 2020, placing huge demands on the water cycle. Local authorities in areas of projected growth are now required to develop comprehensive studies.

The UK government’s house building strategy will see 3 million new dwellings built by 2020 Working with key stakeholders to look at every facet of water supply and management, from infrastructure capacity to flood risk, the studies are paving the way for an holistic approach to urban planning. Led by Andy McConkey and Alison Mallows, Halcrow has joined forces with the Environment Agency to produce guidelines outlining the key objectives and main criteria for the studies, providing technical support to participating local authorities. Halcrow has already delivered 20 such studies and demand is projected to surge following the launch of the guidance in 2009.

Putting Swindon on the map Halcrow plugs information black hole over Wiltshire


From motorists trading in their dog-eared maps to surveyors working in the field, more of us are reliant on GPS than ever before. While most areas in the UK are within range of the Ordnance Survey’s continuously operating reference stations (CORS) network – OS Net – up until recently an information ‘black hole’ hovered over the Swindon area. This transmission gap reduced the available data’s accuracy, prompting Leica GeoSystems – one of the world’s leading equipment manufacturers – to team up with Halcrow’s geospatial skill group. Resident pigeons at Burderop Park now have to share the roof space with a CORS. This installation will provide coverage within the

Leica SmartNet Network, which in turn links to the OS Net Network. The benefits for Halcrow are manifold. In addition to free access to data and services via the station, Halcrow will be closely identified with major improvements to the network’s capabilities.

Resident pigeons at Burderop Park now have to share the roof space with a CORS The next step is to incorporate the CORS into the global navigation satellite system network, which is tapped into by a diverse range of academics, surveyors, engineers and meteorologists. Applications range from measuring sea level rises to weather predictions and tracking glacial activity.

A two-pipe problem Halcrow protects lifeline to Isle of Wight The Solent – a busy stretch of water that lies between the coast of Hampshire in southern England and the Isle of Wight – presents a series of unique challenges to any self-respecting engineer.

an incident, Halcrow was appointed by Southern Water in late 2004 to undertake feasibility studies, ground investigations, environmental impact assessments and designs to replace twin 200mm diameter water supply pipelines.

Among these is the fact it is both But by then the area a busy shipping was designated one of lane and yachting special conservation Towing the mammoth pipes across the North Sea playground, but status, banishing the perhaps its most option of trenching. pressing conundrum lies on the seabed. Its The solution lay in installing twin 3.9kmbriny floor is crisscrossed with dozens of long, 300mm-diameter pipes – to allow cables and pipes – both electric and gas – for future demand growth – underneath with many ‘live’ and several now redundant. the conservation zone using the latest horizontal directional drilling technology. The most crowded section is a 3-4km stretch of the western Solent between Lepe Polyethylene pipes up to 1.2km long on the mainland and Gurnard on the island were towed from Norway. Other pipes in waters that run 25m deep. were transported from Denmark by marine barge on huge spools and Despite it being illegal to both anchor embedded a metre deep by water jets and trawl in this area, there is little before being connected by divers. policing of the law. In the past few years several anchor strikes have caused Completed in June 2008, the project severe damage and costly repairs to the has won an Institution of Civil Engineers cable infrastructure. Following just such (ICE) South East Construction Award.

The project team of Simon Canning, Chris Kelly and Paul Grant

Thumbs up from ICE president David Orr, president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, has been given a guided tour of the new 70m lock at east London’s Prescott Lock – part of an £18 million British Waterways canal improvement scheme. Organised by Waltham Cross-based project manager Tabindah Akhtar and attended by water and power business group regional director Roland Grzybek, the presidential visit included a tour of the lock chamber and temporary cofferdam, which enabled construction of the water control structure. Controlling the water level upstream of the Prescott Channel will significantly enhance proposals to regenerate the Lower Lea Valley in time for the 2012 Olympics.

L to r: Roger Martin, David Orr, Tabindah Akhtar, Mark Stephens, Roland Grzybek and Colin Perkins

lobal positioning system (GPS) users in the UK are now able to access more accurate data, thanks in part to Halcrow.


green and

pleasant land

Blooming opportunities

atch any film set in Britain – from Four Weddings and a Funeral to Braveheart – and chances are it will feature the great swathes of open countryside for which the British Isles have always been famous. From the genteel London parks and lush green hedgerows of southern England, to the savage beauty of the Scottish highlands, the undulating Welsh hills and the romance of the rugged Irish countryside.


However, the latter half of the twentieth century saw many of the UK’s green spaces eroded by urban development. Play areas and parks have been gradually nibbled away or left to rot and wildlife habitats threatened, to the alarm of local communities. The endless waiting lists for the few allotments remaining of thousands created during World War II’s ‘dig for victory’ campaign testify to the value placed by today’s urbanites on every pied á terre, no matter how modest. After years of neglect, declining standards, local government reorganisations and funding cuts, the last decade has seen Britain fighting back to improve its green spaces. Halcrow’s landscape architecture team, with Paul Rabbitts at the helm, has been at the

forefront of the recent change. The principal landscape architect, based in the Tees Valley office, is an experienced judge with Green Flag, the organisation helping to raise park standards across the UK. As part of the ongoing renaissance, the UK government recently revised its planning policy guidance on the provision of open space, sport and recreation. Having previously advised local authorities to provide a ratio of six acres of open space per 1,000 people, it now advocates a local needs assessment. This evaluates quality, quantity, community value and accessibility to determine the provision of open space. Paul’s team has led the detailed assessment of over 2,500 open spaces across the UK, including Luton, and areas in North Hertfordshire, Rugby, Middlesbrough and more recently, the Scottish Borders. Every type of open space has been assessed, including parks and gardens, play areas, sports pitches, allotments, youth facilities, athletics tracks, semi-natural and natural green spaces, green corridors, churchyards and cemeteries.

Drumlanrig Square, Hawick, Scottish Borders

£155 million from the Big Lottery Fund over the last four years. In addition, over £250 million has been invested by the government through its Play Builders programme. What children get up to after school is now big business, it seems. Paul’s team was responsible for the funding applications and play strategies for Blyth Valley, Allerdale, in West Cumbria, Middlesbrough and Carlisle, releasing £1.2 million from the Big Lottery Fund for play improvements.

The recent focus on the value of play to a child’s development has brought over


al t o N

Following a wartime peak of 1.4 million UK allotments allocated in 1943, there was a sharp decline with only a paltry 297,000 plots available by 1996.

Concerns about genetic modification, chemical pollution and contamination of food, sharpened by desire for fresh, natural produce, has seen empty plots filled and yearslong waiting lists appear for sites that were previously left untended for decades.


Vox | issue one

Park life Green flags flying high The number of parks that have achieved the standard necessary to gain coveted Green Flag status has leapt from less than a dozen in 1996 to 743 in 2008. Green Flag is the key national performance indicator for parks, administered by the Civic Trust. Parks are entered annually and judged on their sustainability, cleanliness, accessibility and community involvement, as well as management and maintenance.

The UK’s Heritage Lottery Fund began to fund urban parks in 1996 with an initial investment of £50 million. That expenditure has since multiplied by ten, much of which has been invested nationwide in restoration and development projects, including the UK’s first municipal park at Birkenhead. Some of Britain’s most popular and historic parks have benefitted, including Saltwell Park in Gateshead, Lister Park in Bradford, Mowbray Gardens in Sunderland and the People’s Park in Halifax.

The green renaissance

Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick, Scottish Borders

The move towards preserving and improving the nation’s green spaces came after a number of high-profile studies – including the 1995 report Park Life: Urban Parks and Social Renewal, by Comedia and Demos. This brought into public focus the benefits that parks and open spaces, allotments, play areas and natural green spaces bring to the welfare, health and quality of life of local communities, as well as to the economy. Registered charity Green Space was soon established, together with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) – the UK government’s adviser on architecture, urban design and public space. Together, they have championed the cause of good quality green space in Great Britain.

Project profiles Celebrating excellence



India’s thriving tourist industry – a magnet for international hoteliers ndia offers a landscape where beauty enthrals, Bollywood captivates and diversity delights. It’s no wonder that Conde Nast Traveller – a leading travel and tourism journal – recently ranked India as the top travel destination in the world.


With tourists flocking to sample this rich tapestry in record numbers, Halcrow is helping to address the country’s accommodation deficit. Despite an estimated 1.5 million hotel rooms, only 90,000 are star-rated – and largely over-subscribed. With demand pegged at 240,000 rooms in 2011, an additional 150,000 high-quality rooms must be built within the next four years – an ambitious target, but one that Halcrow has approached with gusto.

neater service floor, improving ease of maintenance, and also increased resistance to earthquakes in India’s shock zones. The team is currently developing a prototype design for the Chalet Hotel chain, saving costs through considered, well-executed design solutions. But there’s no time for team members to rest on their laurels, with work starting on a sprawling business resort in Kerala and new new hotels in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi.

Right: artist’s impression of the Chalet Trivendrum. Top: Chalet Mid Market

Despite an estimated 1.5 million hotel rooms, only 90,000 are star-rated


Given the colossal shortfall, a number of national and international hotel operators and developers have unveiled massive investment plans. Major players in India include Taj Hotels, Chalet Hotels, Hilton, Accor, Marriott, Berggruen and Four Seasons. Capitalising on the surge in demand, Halcrow’s property business group is providing structural engineering services for Taj Gateway and Chalet Hotels, with both operators aiming to build a chain of around 30 hotels over a five year period. Working directly for the hotel developers and operators, the building structures team in India is delivering outstanding value. For the Taj chain, the team developed a solution for the low-rise concrete framed structure that avoided the need to transfer columns above public areas. This resulted in a much Vox | issue one

Crawley’s next top hydraulic model Halcrow is helping West Sussex plan for future growth, reviewing the viability of intended development within the County Oak Sewage Pumping Station catchment west of Crawley, UK. Commissioned by Thames Water, Halcrow’s modelling team will assess the ability of the region’s infrastructure to support some 2,500 proposed new homes. The team set about updating and verifying the hydraulic model of the sewerage system before investigating its existing capacity and forecasted flows from future developments. Tasked with addressing both localised and strategic catchment requirements, the team – Pavel Koudelak, Laurence Hart, Chris Dunn, and Sue West – explored a range of potential scenarios and time frames. Weighing up the ‘what-if’ scenarios and working through the myriad potential outcomes, the Crawley team identified influential developments and different strategic options.

Boom time India’s robust economy, growing at 8-9 per cent annually, is set to reach the dizzying heights of the second most powerful in the world by 2042, helping to fuel its skyrocketing tourism industry. Domestic tourism is playing a key role in this growth, propelled by rising income levels, higher aspirations and more affordable travel. The travel and tourism industry is expected to generate approximately £53 billion in 2008, growing to £150 billion by 2018.

Birthday bash for Halcrow in India Halcrow’s employees in India blew out seven candles as the company celebrated its anniversary on 6 August 2008. Halcrow has flourished since opening for business in 2001 with just five employees. Less than a decade on, the team has blossomed to 160 people, with an

impressive depth and breadth of expertise. It has secured a solid reputation across a range of sectors, including hydropower, highways, urban planning and maritime.

Halcrow in the dock

Major bypass operation N9 opens on time and to budget Halcrow’s ability to exceed expectations – even when a project team is spread across hundreds of kilometres – has been demonstrated once again with the success of the N9 Carlow Bypass project.

ever proposed for Ireland. It was the first section of the N9 route to open to traffic.

New home for Royal Navy’s biggest-ever aircraft carriers

The celebrated bypass opened to traffic in June 2008, after just over two years of site work and an 18-month design effort.

Coming in to land on one of the new aircraft carriers

The challenging £60 million design and build project provided 20km of new dual carriageway, three grade separated interchanges and 19 major bridge structures. The Glasgow office led Halcrow’s highways, drainage and structures design work, with assistance from the Dublin, Tees Valley, Handforth and Swindon offices. A business collaborator extranet site was used throughout the design process to manage the huge volume of work produced by team members at the various locations.

The N9 road is a national primary route in Ireland, running from Junction 11 on the N7 located near Kilcullen in County Kildare, to Waterford. The bypass was almost completely funded under Ireland’s £146 billion national development plan for 2007-2013 – the largest and most ambitious investment programme

Congratulating project manager Neil Stewart and the team for rising to the huge challenge presented by a delayed start, regional director Sam McCurdy said: “This project contributes towards the completion of Ireland’s strategic road network by 2010, providing the state with one of the best road networks in Europe. It is testament to the ability of Halcrow Barry.” pass

N9 Carlow By

he dockyards of Rosyth, on the Firth of Forth in Scotland, are being transformed into a majestic setting, capable of assembling two massive new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.


HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are the largest warships ever commissioned by the Royal Navy. Following the construction of constituent parts in Glasgow, Barrow in Furness and Southampton, the mighty warships will be assembled in the dockyards of Rosyth. Led by the Glasgow office, Halcrow designed the alterations to the original 1916 Royal Dockyards to accommodate these titans of the sea. This included widening the entrance for the aircraft carriers to glide through.

 he N8 team: project director – Bob Diffin, project manager – Brian Johnstone, T construction supervision – John Norbury, Alan Oliver, Peter Sheehy, Janet Slattery and Rob Merredew. Partners: NRA, South Tipperary County Council and contractor Sisk Roadbridge Civil Engineering

Beat the clock Cashel-Mitchelstown road opens early Ireland’s 41km-long N8 Cashel-Mitchelstown road scheme opened to traffic on 25 July 2008 – ten months ahead of schedule.

contractor involvement scheme undertaken by Ireland’s National Roads Authority (NRA). At the opening ceremony, Martin Mansergh, minister of state at the department of finance, said: “This road, which runs through the heart of South Tipperary, will be of major benefit to the people and the economies of adjoining towns in terms of jobs and investment, and indeed will make the whole county more accessible.”

Located on the major inter-urban route between Dublin and Cork, it’s the first early


“This project clearly demonstrates the benefits of teamwork and a partnering approach. It is a credit to the Dublin and Glasgow project team,” said Bob.

elstown road

Led by Bob Diffin and Brian Johnstone, Halcrow Barry project-managed delivery of the £360 million N8 scheme from the initial planning stages through to completion. It’s the largest road project the joint venture has undertaken to date and was completed in just eight years.

Commissioned by Babcock, the works are taking place behind protective ‘cofferdam structures’ which keep the water at bay while Halcrow and contractor Edmund Nuttall carry out the £35 million modifications. Halcrow has designed a ‘propped gate’ to enable new sections to be lifted inside while works are taking place. The entrance will be widened to 42m after the existing walls have been demolished. With 25m deep foundations, the new structure will safeguard the dock’s operational capability. Ensuring a dry dock working environment for ship assembly, Halcrow designed three widened caisson gates and a new intermediate gate to hold back 15m of water pressure. Halcrow is also designing foundations to support a goliath crane. Withstanding the relentless North Sea winds, this structure has a span of 120m and a 1,100 tonne capacity, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world.

In brief Celebrating excellence

g n i p p o St ot the r ia

i Arab

hreeon a t w s a ent ow h greem Halcr a k r o ramew Basic year f rabia A i d au ation with S Corpor s ic e i r t cathod Indus rovide p o t ) IC (SAB ltancy consu n o i t protec es. ein as servic assan H a a l A in With e team tor, th c e r i d dvice project vide a o r p l l wi ection Dubai n prot o i s o r nd s cor arsh a on thi se in h u r o f d ents. metho ironm v n e e ssiv e aggre e of th al C is on hemic c SABI petro n e t p to argest world’s d the l n a s e ni pany compa il com non-o e Middl in the East.



Awards g alore in

Edmonton Edmonton Green Sh opping C picked u entre p a hand ful of a at the r ccolades ecent En fi eld Desi in Londo gn Award n. s A superm arket, l eisure c bus inte entre, rchange, office un resident its and ial flats c oexist o ambitiou n the s mixeduse site Halcrow’ , for wh s proper ich t y business provided group mechanic al, elec engineer trical a ing serv nd ices. In addit ion to t he entir project’ e s ‘highl y commen in the n ded’ sta ew resid tus ential c bus term ategory, inus and the S t George park gra ’s car bbed ‘hi ghly com ‘commend mended’ ed’ stat and us respe the comm ctively unity bu in ilding s ection. Cross Valley honoured, UK The Cross Valley Link Road (CVLR) llent’ project was recently branded ‘exce l Civi ing and dem sly riou noto the by lity Qua tal men iron Engineering Env . The Assessment Awards (CEEQUAL) and g nin plan the accolade recognised es. stag gn desi Hopes remain high that the construction management and site supervision elements will garner similarly positive platitudes.


Vox | issue one

Digging deep


Deep beneath the River Tyne, a ne w tunnel will soon Newcastle and ne link ighbouring Gates he ad , wi th Ha lcr by consortium-h ow appointed ead Bouygues Tr avaux Publics to design the mechanical and electrical system s. The team will ta of design challen ckle a number ges, including ve ntilation, fire an detection, traffic d incident control, electrical supply arrangem and lighting. Fa ents, drainage thi Tarada is Halcr ow’s project director .

s t c oje ief


in br

NaFRA again

UK n Agency flood risk commissio A £1 million Environment w’s cro Hal of k ting-edge wor is due reward for the cut up. gro ll ski l tia spa geo ’s red the Environment Agency Having successfully delive the 7, 200 in ) FRA (Na t men National Flood Risk Assess build comed back to the fold to Halcrow team has been wel on its previous work. ther a solid foundation for fur As well as establishing ment ess ass the , nge cha e mat work on flood risk and cli ion ork for insurance provis underpins the UK’s framew estment inv g oin ong for ge era and will also provide lev in flood risk management. has l head up the team, which Halcrow’s Rob Deakin wil 4. 200 project since been entrusted with the

gration Driving transport inte

UK ion, settlement patterns and tionship between populat rela the into e delv nsport will w Halcro mmission for Integrated Tra par t of a study for the Co and ent artm the demand for travel as sity’s planning dep h Oxford Brookes Univer (CfIT), in par tnership wit . unit rt studies Oxford Univer sity’s transpo hin the wider development ding transport planning wit bed em of e anc CfIT is ort imp The of UK government, and the rper focus at every level process is coming into sha best practice. how heavily involved in shaping t environment influences the ways in which the buil on in e hon will y The stud er. nag ma ject pro w’s Robin Hickman is Halcro people get from A to B.

) d risk (UllK o o fl g in g ing the a ow n Ma the UK fo in d approach to de ce st re bu

waters a more ro As the flood of 2007, calls for pitch. n deafening io a at to st se deva vernmentro go nt e me th manage s made by on ti ency called flood risk da Ag en t en recomm e Environm th flood risk , Supporting ew ed vi at ed Pitt Re lop integr on ve si de is to mm co ce s experien could on Halcrow’ lution studies. Yorkshire so nt me nd Ripon in t, enabling the ou ar manage s te ion si projec Demonstrat ing ground for the delivering ntial for test te level. a po e e id th ov e pr or catchment pl at ex e to us am nd d te la an w h y ro ug it Halc thro water qual natural management iversity, od as flood risk bi e , ag on otecti centre st Resource pr unities will take rt po op ss ce details. d. ac se ve further are harnes e Pygott ha processes in er th Ka or Jo Cullis

STOP PRESS Halcrow wins UK Excellence Award Halcrow’s consulting business group has been named a winner at the 2008 UK Excellence Awards, run by the British Quality Foundation at a glittering awards ceremony on 14 October. The award follows an ‘exemplary’ business model submitted for assessment in July. It recognised the team’s excellent client relationships and its relentless focus on process improvement. Mark Brown, managing director of the business group, praised his team’s hard work, adding: “This award acknowledges our commitment to business improvement and our desire to place excellence at the heart of Halcrow’s strategy.”

Princess Ann e with BBC pr esenter Louise presents the U Minch K Michael Fairey Excellence Award to Halcrow in , Mark Brown ’s and Andrew Ba ll

Batty about the enviro


A-one – Halcrow’s joint venture with Colas – has won the Highways Agency-sponsored ‘health and safety at work’ award for its recent use of the ultra light Durakerb product. At 6kg, the product dramatically reduces the risk of accidents by allowing it to be laid by hand. During the awards ceremony, A-one received a clutch of accolades – more than any other organisation – for its marked and positive contribution to the health and safety of both employees and professional users of the transport network.

Highways heroes, UK corridor in Liverpool The Horrocks Avenue le Award for App en Gre has received a e. ctic pra t bes l nta environme cked bitumen, the cra by ted ina dom ce On lcoming, aesthetic area is now a more we and users. nts ide res space for local winning team, the of t par s wa w Halcro ils. Civ which was led by Birse rits, UK Masterplanning me m blitzed the field tea ape dsc lan Halcrow’s 2008 Designing at Homes for Scotland’s plaudits in the top ing Places Awards, tak category. ing ann rpl ste inaugural ma project at ne ezo hom g rin nee The pio erp und in future Greendykes North will guidance. pe Edinburgh streetsca


Halcrow’s Polish team has secured a commission to deliver a 24.5km expressway. Connecting Jezewo and Bialystock, the £4.5 million project is an integral component of the Warsaw to Bialystock arterial network. The expressway is the third contract won this year by the team and was awarded by the general directorate of public roads and motorways. The tender was led by project manager Rafal Szwedowski, while Bob Diffin will head up the scheme with Brian Johnstone providing technical and contractual advice.

A-one for all, UK ual A+ by the A-one was given a virt Engineers ting sul Association of Con ering ine Eng ual ann (ACE) at its ony. It em cer s ard Aw nce Excelle outstanding recognised the team’s structure er wid work creating the over the A66 the s rie car which now of England. River Tees in the north



rge, UK A barnstorming cha 2008 south tion of Civil Engineers titu Ins the Halcrow left mended’ ner with a ‘highly com west annual awards din ject. pro aple Western Bypass accolade for the Barnst l nta me the environ The award recognised rt of the Devon County hea the at s tion considera lcrow tractor Nuttall and Ha Council scheme – con the minimal disruption to worked closely to ensure protected Taw Estuary. £27 million project Completed last year, the support, relieving earned universal public gestion woes. con Devon’s chronic traffic

in b


A-nother-one, UK

Powering ahead


If they could speak, the bat population adjacent to South East Water’s Wichling Pumping Station would be thanking Halcrow pro fusely. The project team’ s mitigation measures – led by Charl ie Dwight – ensured mi nimal impact on the bats’ hab itat, which was recogn ised through a Green Apple Award for environmental best pra ctice.

Predicting the future and how international events will impact on business is no easy task, as recent events in the global financial markets illustrate. But Halcrow’s risk sub-committee is committed to doing just that – ensuring that Halcrow is prepared to successfully navigate through any looming crisis.


Expecting the

Events and issues that buffet the global economy rarely spring out of the blue. Ripples in the water – portending turmoil ahead – are frequently visible to those scanning the horizon.

stablished five years ago, the risk sub-committee (RSC) assesses the strategic risks to the company’s success. Arising from internal or external sources – or a combination of both – these key risks are held, evaluated and monitored on Halcrow’s risk register.

oil or gas prices and a fluctuating US dollar. A pandemic disease outbreak and ageing population fall beneath the headline ‘social instability’. And extreme weather conditions caused by climate change and dwindling fresh water supplies are filed under ‘sustainability’.

For the last three years, the RSC has anchored its work to that of the World Economic Forum, using compiled lists of major global risks as a starting point.

Exercising the universal axiom that ‘one man’s risk is another’s opportunity’, the group works to the premise that a potential snagging point in one part of the world may open doors in another.


In 2008, nine topics were initially selected by the committee as being most relevant to Halcrow – from a tally of 31 outlined in the forum’s report: Global Risks 2008: A Global Risk Network Report. The RSC then narrowed the list further, honing in on the six themes liable to have an impact – positive or negative – on Halcrow’s future. Three broad headings emerged, within which the six topics can be categorised. ‘Economic instability’ covers steep rises in 22

Vox | issue one

And as a global company, Halcrow is able to respond in a positive, proactive manner to the peaks, troughs and proverbial spanners in the works that appear in the marketplace. Rising energy prices are a clear-cut example of the thought process: as oil and gas costs skyrocket, demand for renewable generation and energy conservation services will shoot up. Informed by the RSC’s report, the business planning process can focus its

attention on the areas of potential growth – as one door closes, the business is striding through another. This heightened engagement with global issues is intended to inform and shape every level of the business – from group strategies to individual project plans.

As well as pre-empting potentially damaging scenarios, the committee’s findings highlight where Halcrow could contribute to decisionmaking processes at a global level. This recognition mirrors the board’s keenness to tap into the wealth of knowledge simmering beneath the company’s surface.

Evading the financial maelstrom

Halcrow will focus its attention on the areas of growth – as one door closes, the business is striding through another Les Buck, group board director and committee chair, outlines the thinking: “The RSC’s findings can be taken on at any and every level. Rather than simply expanding upon last year’s business plans, we need to be looking ahead, and trying to judge how world events will affect each element of our operations.”

Les points out: “We’ve always just quietly got on with what we’re good at. I believe that we can – and should – be offering considered, impartial advice to policy makers and begin to influence the influencers. “Free of political shackles, we are in a great position to provide expert, objective support

ected Group board director Les Buck

– it’s just a question of raising our profile in the broader context. Policy-makers can come to us for the same reasons that clients do. We don’t just tell people what they want to hear – we use our skills to assess available evidence and arrive at a sound decision. Now we’re looking to our senior thinkers to step outside their offices and carve out positions of prominence.” Les highlights the appointment of Andrew Kluth, group sustainable development director, as a step in the right direction. Andrew’s recognised expertise and niche knowledge will present Halcrow as ers a voice of authority RSC memb on sustainable Les Buck oates development issues. Alasdair C “This is just a taste Ken Mair of things to come,” Nigel King ham rn e W says Les. “We’ve w e Matth ler w o F l got the skills and e ch a R tzinikoli a the people – now we h C ia n e T just need to make a David Birch s bit of noise about it.” Aaron Burn

As global markets implode, what is Halcrow doing to mitigate the crisis? Quite a lot, as it turns out. An advantage of Halcrow’s international reach is the ability to move its metaphorical eggs around many baskets, pumping additional resources into regions less affected by Wall Street’s woes.

Halcrow is hedging its bets as it hedges its funds In the Middle East, for example, Halcrow’s profits for the first eight months of 2008 were 16 per cent above predicted levels. And while the property business group is experiencing understandable challenges, Halcrow’s multispecialism set-up allows it to shift focus towards areas of growth. More specifically, Alan Saffer, group finance director, has been spearheading a drive across the company to push down debts and reduce outstanding invoices. A critical review of Halcrow’s payments has shed light on areas where significant savings can be made. Halcrow is hedging its bets as it hedges its funds, and while dark clouds gather over companies worldwide, Halcrow can look forward to a bright future.

Sustainable solutions It’s in our hands


thinking IN ACTION

Taking a lead on sustainable development sustainable development and climate change has reached a deafening pitch. But what can we do to make a real impact?

Despite a sea-change in public awareness, we’re still consuming the world’s resources and belching out carbon emissions at an alarming rate. If each of the world’s six billion residents adopted a typical American lifestyle, we’d need five planets to meet our demands. And while ‘green’ concerns have been on environmentalists’ radars since the 1970s, sustainable development has only recently become a mainstream concern.

Several months in, Andrew gives us his take on Halcrow’s attitude to the issues. “It’s clear from speaking to people across the business that sustainable development features strongly in Halcrow’s methodology. But due to the diversity of sectors and skills, this means different things to different people.

With calls for individuals and businesses to cut their energy consumption and curb their travel, and governments under pressure to initiate lasting change, the noise around

As an organisation, Halcrow has a major role to play, both in its own operations and in the advice it provides to clients. With the recent appointment of Andrew Kluth as the director – and Nick Murry as the group manager – responsible for sustainable development, the company is taking a more focused approach.

“There are pockets of good, even best, practice – sustainable development silos – dotted around, but not as much awareness of how to link with other parts of the business.” Companies’ sustainable development strategies are increasingly coming under

scrutiny from all directions. The recent client survey brought external expectations to the surface, highlighting the services demanded by Halcrow’s partners. Candidates are also picking through potential employers’ attitudes to everything from climate change to ethical investment. Sustainable practices are clearly becoming a differentiator, and Halcrow is subjecting itself to critical self-appraisal. Andrew outlines the thinking to date: “We’re aiming for a more holistic approach, integrating social, economic and environmental elements, both in what we offer clients and how we operate as a company. We can guide clients through the decision-making process to ensure they arrive at a solution that both fits their specifications and is ultimately sustainable.” The seeds of change have been sown and the flurry of recent activity around the business heralds major progress. We will be judged by future generations against our commitment to collective action – a mammoth responsibility certainly, but Halcrow intends to prove itself equal to the task.

Bagging good ideas for sustainable development Halcrow’s latest green initiative is winging its way around the world, sparking new ideas and sharing knowledge

Andrew and Les Buck entrust the bag to Phil Hughes to take on its maiden voyage to Melbourne

Launched at this year’s group seminar, the ‘good ideas’ bag aims to share Halcrow employees’ thoughts and experiences – from solutions developed for clients to commuter cycle schemes. Carried to offices by travelling employees, the bag will maintain a zerocarbon footprint, returning to the UK in time for next year’s seminar.


Recognising the wealth of inspired ideas bubbling away within the company, the initiative – managed by Sally Sudworth and Amy Shoesmith – allows employees in the US or UK to share their thoughts with those in China or Pakistan. The team will periodically look inside the bag, posting updates on Halnet’s sustainable development pages. Vox | issue one

Above: leading from the front – Andrew Kluth and Nick Murry

ustainable development. It’s the topic on everyone’s lips; an epochal challenge facing the global community. The looming global recession will doubtlessly throw the split between ‘window dressers’ and organisations truly committed to action into sharper relief. Placing itself firmly in the latter camp, Halcrow has embedded sustainable development at its heart, and will continue to invest in, develop and refine its approach to this core value.


Sick and tyred quarry revived Halcrow defuses environmental time bomb alcrow’s Glasgow-based waste team averted an environmental crisis in a quarry-full of illegally dumped tyres, creating a rare ecological paradise in the process – with highly acclaimed results.


Until a year ago, the Old Hampole Quarry in West Yorkshire was one of the UK’s biggest stockpiles of used tyres. Over 3 million had been dumped in the limestone quarry between the 1970s and 1990s, weighing an estimated 23,000 tonnes. Finding an appropriate way to deal with this risky situation had been causing the UK’s Environment Agency – which took on the issue five years ago when Doncaster Council declared the site to be contaminated land – concern for some time. The main risk was the potential for the tyres to be set on fire by vandals. This could have caused a conflagration that would have burned for days, spreading vast clouds of highly toxic fumes over a wide area, as well as poisoning local water supplies. The team, led by Lindsay Renfrew and managed locally by Iain Edmonds in Leeds, was appointed under the National Engineering and Environmental Consultancy Agreement (NEECA) to review the options for remediation, prepare designs, and manage and supervise the construction works.


their instability. This had the added advantage of acting Before as a filter separator to allow rain to percolate through the various layers, preventing surface ponding or run-off that would have required a further drainage system. A layer of shale topped with a layer of the same kind of magnesium limestone that was quarried at Hampole completed the new look.


to say? Something iding ov pr you’re

Halcrow made a guest appearance at CIRIA’s clients’ sustainable development club, where highprofile construction clients meet to bounce around ideas on sustainable development and share their experiences.

If The surface of quarry lutions to ainable so st su fines allows the area to t to share an w clients and regenerate naturally part in the ideas, take to create a flourishing oup on the gr discussion ent limestone habitat. This e developm sustainabl ail em or te type of magnesium Halnet si limestone grassland is murrynja@ incredibly rare, with perhaps only a few hundred hectares in England. Plants of classic limestone grassland have been introduced from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Sprotbrough, along with seeds from its magnesium limestone meadows. These include some of the more common orchids, as well as unusual species like fairy flax, yellow-wort, black horehound and squinancywort.

As well as providing a better understanding of key sustainable development issues through knowledge sharing and informal benchmarking, the working sessions help members to find practical methods and tools to embed sustainable development within their organisations. Club members jumped at the chance to try out an asset management model developed by Halcrow for a client-facing joint venture. Steve Faulkner was on hand to demonstrate its benefits, created and directed by Charles Oldham and David Pocock.

The Halc row -d e

va t





s inc

Unusual habitats

yre et th

Completed two weeks early and within budget, the project Reinforcing the links between came runner-up in the financial and environmental Instead of spending millions of pounds on ‘most sustainable remediation benefits, Steve also illustrated shifting the tyres, the resulting plan was project’ category at the the gains to be made through to transform the site into one of the rarest Brownfield Briefing whole life costing within g s ol u tion appin habitats in Britain – limestone grassland. Remediation capital investment c d for Innovation programmes. ne g si Based on Halcrow’s options appraisal it was Awards a 1m-thick layer concluded that the tyres should be covered earlier this of recycled waste in the Representatives with a special geogrid/geotextile to manage year. form of colliery shale from BAA, Crossrail, the a 0.5m-thick layer of limestone Environment quarry fines designed to encourage Agency, the the development of a calcareous Highways grassland habitat Agency, Network Rail The Old Hampole site is home to some unusual creatures, a geogrid/geotextile and British including lizards lounging on the tyres to soak up some rays. A covering Waterways colony of pipistrelle bats and a pair of nesting kestrels roosting attended. in two old limestone kiln chimneys were also discovered. For details on how to Some suitable rocks were soon found for the lizards – and the team engage with the club, managed to work around the other wildlife, which is now flourishing in contact Nick Murry. its new calcareous grassland habitat.

io t ive solu

Sustainable solutions It’s in our hands


change Pakistan’s first wind farm operational by end of 2008 iven the scale of Pakistan’s looming energy crisis – an estimated 5,300mw deficit by 2011 – 700mw may not seem like the answer to the country’s electricity woes. However, Halcrow believes that even if it does not satisfy Pakistan’s immediate energy requirements, the Gharo Wind Corridor is a definite step in the right direction.


Halcrow will provide environmental solutions for the project which links 14 wind farms, meandering alongside the fertile Indus River. The team has already completed a series of environmental impact assessments and regional environmental assessments for the client partners – a joint venture between leading Spanish companies Taller and Eolic Partners SA. Expected to supply energy directly to the national grid, Pakistan’s first wind farm will breeze into operation by the end of 2008. But building a wind farm in the middle of nowhere is no easy task. Unlike Pakistan’s major cities, most inland regions are still without electricity and roads. According to the Asian Development Bank, only 50 per cent of the population in Pakistan has access to electric power. The remaining half of the population lives without electricity in isolated rural areas, and project sites are typically barren, remote landscapes. Rising to the challenge, the Halcrow team – made up of botanists, soil specialists, wildlife experts and various environmental scientists – was able to navigate its way through the rough terrain. Neither an absence of roads nor the abundance of snakes was enough to hinder the team’s rampant progress. The Gharo Wind Corridor will have minimal effect on Sindh’s wildlife, benefitting surrounding

Lights out – why Pakistan is low on power Having traditionally relied on fossil fuels, Pakistan currently imports 85 per cent of its oil, placing it at the mercy of fluctuating prices. Demand for the country’s energy reserves is rapidly outstripping supply, threatening to push Pakistan’s energy deficit to 5,300mw by 2011. May 2008 saw a potential taste of things to come – an enforced switch to daylight saving time to maximise natural light and reduce energy consumption. Pakistan’s summer season also brought power cuts as air conditioners were cranked up to full blast.

communities through the construction of basic infrastructure, such as roads and water wells. The project will boost the local economy, bringing new jobs and enterprise right to residents’ doorsteps. Clean and renewable, wind energy will make a muchneeded contribution to Pakistan’s future power supply. As Ajmal Abbasi, Halcrow’s environmental specialist, points out: “Wind energy is by far the best available option to meet our energy requirements. Zero emissions, zero waste: wind power clearly has the least environmental consequences.” With increasing pressure on fossil fuels, a global interest in renewable energy and a heightened demand for electricity, it appears that betting on air could just be Pakistan’s best investment yet.

Halcrow in Pakistan: fast facts • Largest Halcrow operation outside the UK, North America and the Middle East • 800 per cent employee growth – 222 people, up from 25 in 1999 • Key markets include: transportation, water, environment, rural and urban development, and oil and gas • Offices in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Islamabad Indus River – home to Pakistan’s


Vox | issue one

groundbreaking energy project

Full of (renewable) energy ive employees from the renewable energy team presented papers – based on Halcrow projects – to an international audience of 2,000 delegates at the Glasgow-hosted tenth World Renewable Energy Congress (WREC) in July.


WREC’s biannual conferences boast a strong academic flavour in which to impart the transfer of renewable energy knowledge. The event attracts a wide audience of world experts, policy makers, manufacturers and those interested in the supply, distribution, consumption and development of energy sources. Halcrow’s speakers considered the potential of wave, solar, combined heat and power (CHP) and fuel cell technology to address the energy crisis. Donna Munro related Halcrow’s experience as the UK partner in a European Union-funded programme, which aims to increase the mass urban uptake of solar photovoltaic technology. John Simmons based his observations on the potential energy and carbon savings that can be achieved through CHP based on a West Midlands Regional Development Agency project, which mapped heat demand across the region. The findings of a Highways Agency project formed the basis of Inma Andina-Pendas’ thoughtprovoking presentation. It looked at the potential savings achieved through the use of fuel cell technology for roadside power applications.

Wave energy surges forward Two Halcrow experts were invited to share their experiences of developing wave power at the WREC. Iain Mowat presented a paper on Halcrow’s ongoing study into the wave energy potential of the Western Isles of Scotland. He explored the available energy resource, as well as the technical, environmental, economic and social challenges and benefits inherent in implementing wave power projects. Developing an effective wave energy project was the focus for Peter Croll’s paper. It covered all the major stages from concept design and marine developments through to planning consent and preparing for construction.

Tartan transition Scotland on target for 80 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050


cotland’s determined bid to become one of the world’s first nations to make the transition to a low carbon economy has seen it enlist the help of Halcrow to realise its green dream.

While Scotland only contributes 0.15 per cent of total global carbon emissions, it still emits a disproportionate level of greenhouse gases in relation to its size. This initiative also dovetails into the recently devolved government’s policy priority of sustainable economic growth. Halcrow was commissioned by the Scottish Government to conduct a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of its proposals for the Scottish Climate Change Bill (SCCB). Such is the importance of the SCCB that it will effectively sit at the heart of all Scotland’s future policy and decision making activities.

While Scotland only contributes 0.15 per cent of total global carbon emissions, it still emits a disproportionate level of greenhouse gases In essence, the bill aims to create a long-term framework to ensure that by 2050, it will have delivered an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to 1990 levels. As one of the first SEAs to be conducted on draft policy in the whole of the UK, Halcrow’s Scottish-based environment team applied some innovative thinking and methodologies in undertaking the assessment. With direction from Nick Murry, the team assessed the potential environmental impacts of a range of possible future emission reduction measures across nine key economic sectors. The team also made recommendations for further increasing the net environmental benefits of policy proposals. Specialists from AEA Technology provided support in several specific technical areas. Consultation on the bill has attracted over 21,000 responses and the team is now working towards the final phase of the SEA statement – expected to be submitted to the government with the draft bill by the end of 2008. Glasgow-based environmental scientist and SEA project manager John Fox said: “This has been an extremely challenging project as it was the first SEA of its type carried out in Scotland, coupled with the wide ranging implications of climate change and emissions mitigation.”

Sustainable solutions It’s in our hands

A first for

Lond n Halcrow blazes a trail with its new travel plan alcrow has become the first business in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to have successfully completed a travel plan under Transport for London (TfL)’s ‘A new way to work’ corporate scheme.


Developed in partnership with TfL and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Halcrow received a welcome £15,000 of financial support from TfL to assist with the cost of improving sustainable options. Halcrow’s travel plan is a long-term management strategy that seeks to deliver sustainable transport objectives. It involved identifying an appropriate package of measures to promote sustainable travel, with an emphasis on reducing reliance on single occupancy car journeys. In the current climate of upwardly spiralling oil and petrol prices, eco and cost-conscious employees are looking to switch to alternative modes of travel wherever feasible. Thanks to the capital’s excellent public transport network, over 90 per cent of employees based in the Vineyard House and Shortlands offices already travel to work by alternatives to the car.

Additionally, the London travel plan will inform and support the development of a template for preparing or updating similar travel plans across other UK offices. This is one of many proactive strands of the company’s emerging sustainable development agenda, headed up by Andrew Kluth, Halcrow’s new group director for sustainable development.

Action plan Improve cycle parking and shower facilities Provide information on travel options for all new recruits Provide an on-site car club facility (or in the local vicinity) in partnership with neighbouring businesses Make better use of video and tele-conferencing facilities Provide dedicated parking spaces for moped/motorcycle users Improve office directions and maps on

Vineyard House-based travel plan coordinators, Paul Holloway and Edward Jackson, welcome any comments or queries relating to the plan. Laura Williams, Halcrow’s smarter choices technical leader, should be approached for any other queries relating to Halcrow’s wider travel plan capabilities.

Current modes of travel to Vineyard House and Shortlands Vox | issue one

2011 targets Raise the number of employees walking to work from 23 per cent to 28 per cent Increase the volume of cyclists by 3 per cent to 11 per cent Increase video-conferencing uptake by 10 per cent to 38 per cent Raise home-working numbers by 5 per cent to 32 per cent

Find out more For further details of the travel plan check out the sustainable development pages on Halnet.

per cent


Key objectives Increase the number of commuter journeys made by sustainable modes of travel and improve the choice of transport made available to employees Reduce unnecessary business travel Raise awareness of sustainable travel Promote our corporate social responsibility activities Reduce business travel costs

Following feedback from last year’s first travel plan survey a number of measures have been implemented to encourage employees to cycle to work. In August, several employees took advantage of one-to-one cycle training sessions and in October, two folding bicycles were made available for business use.











New milestones for Scottish transport he Scottish Government is embedding sustainable development at the heart of its transport strategy, and has commissioned Halcrow to initiate a comprehensive review.


Park-and-ride facility puts sustainable development at its heart n innovative £3.5 million park-andride scheme in Edinburgh – set to ease congestion and speedily whisk users into the heart of the Scottish capital – has been completed.


The Straiton park-and-ride facility is one element of the Leith to Straiton/Ferniehill Quality Bus Corridor scheme – taking shape around Edinburgh as part of the city council’s local transport strategy.

laid and the striking, steel-framed terminal building is taking shape. This closely resembles its sister building at Hermiston that Halcrow helped design.

Breaking the link between economic growth, increased traffic and rising emissions is a key challenge laid down in Scotland’s National Transport Strategy. Halcrow will develop approaches and tools to help integrate climate change considerations into Transport Scotland’s management and technical procedures.

The whole site is intelligently screened from surrounding properties and roads through a series of strategically placed and landscaped bunds.

During construction, a family of oystercatcher birds roosted in a partIt is the sixth such constructed parking bay. facility encircling From within their fencedA family of oysterEdinburgh. off exclusion zone, the catcher birds roosted Halcrow was feathered creatures in a part-constructed involved in two of raised a brood of chicks the existing sites in the heart of this busy parking bay – Hermiston (A71) construction site. and Ingliston (A8). Both opened in 2005 and proved extremely popular with the public. Security played a key role in the scheme’s planning and design. The whole site will The project includes the construction of a be securely fenced and covered by CCTV bus-based, park-and-ride car facility for linked back to the City of Edinburgh’s 600 vehicles, a high-quality terminal building, central monitoring facility. It’s just this a new signalised road junction, significant sort of insightful forward-planning that landscaping, cycle and pedestrian facilities, should ensure the facility is approved by sustainable drainage and general road the police and awarded a ‘Park Mark’ improvements. accreditation.

Building on existing relationships and experience of completing similar work for the Highways Agency, Halcrow will assess the scope for sustainable development within Transport Scotland’s infrastructure and network management processes. A customised carbon accounting tool will be developed as part of the review, enabling evidence-based decisions aimed at reducing a project’s carbon footprint. Covering both roads and rail, the project will focus on making sustainable development an operational reality rather than simply an aspiration. A whole-life approach to transport infrastructure is a central feature of the review, which evaluates new build, improvement and maintenance projects.

Work began in October 2007. The block paved car park is being

Market sector director Mark Baynham commented: “This is a milestone project which fits superbly with the company’s aim to become the lead consultant in sustainable development.”






st passenge

t their fir lanes awai





 he Team T Design and supervision – Halcrow, contractor – Graham Construction, sub-consultant – Gillespies Architects, project manager – Neil Stewart, detailed design team leader – Scott Grant, site team – Stuart Smith, John Gillogley and Vicky Bache

The team celebrates the terminal’s official opening















Sustainable solutions It’s in our hands

Enthusiasts from every business group attended the first meeting of Halcrow’s carbon collective to debate arguably the most pressing and contentious issue facing Halcrow, its clients and the planet. Coordinated by Mandhy Senewiratne and Sue De Rosa, the workshop evolved from research sponsored by Will Williams and the water and power business group’s asset management team. The day’s activities were kicked off by Les Buck, group board champion for sustainable development, who outlined Halcrow’s current position and future intentions.

Mandhy Senewiratne

Case studies of Halcrow’s work dominated the morning session, with examples ranging from carbon accounting for water companies to the use of ground source heat pumps at the award-winning Churchill Hospital. Interactive sessions facilitated by Nick Murry and Paul Conroy involved analysis of Halcrow’s skill sets and market engagement. Looking inwards, a handful of presentations considered Halcrow’s own footprint, with Nick outlining plans for managing the company’s progress against a range of key performance indicators. Invited guests joined the afternoon session, with presentations from Dan Green and Tony Sudworth providing insights into carbon management at Wessex Water and Companies House. Andrew Kluth talked about the approaches taken by Alliance Boots and Virgin Media, having worked with both. Ever conscious of carbon emissions, attendees were quizzed on their travel arrangements, and prizes – kindly donated by Fiona McLay and David Cross – were dished out for low carbon travel. Participants were also able to offset their carbon footprint via a tree planting partnership with Tree Appeal. The event was followed up with a questionnaire, helping to establish the group and keep the momentum going, ahead of the next workshop planned for March 2009. To get involved or for more information, visit the carbon collective page on Halnet’s sustainability gateway. 30

Vox | issue one

chip A

off the old block

d An interview with Max Bloomfiel

Powering a car with chip shop oil sounds like a recipe for disaster, but the theory that a diesel engine can work perfectly well when burning a recycled, cleaned vegetable oil has been put to the test – successfully – by a number of Halcrow employees. here did you first hear of the possibility that a car can be run on vegetable oil? “Many people don’t realise that the diesel engine (developed by Rudolf Diesel in 1895) was originally designed to run on a form of peanut oil, as demonstrated at the World Exhibition in Paris, 1900.


“Most impressive, though, are the environmental benefits. Essentially, vegetable oils take CO2 from the air and return them when burned, so if you ignore for the moment the collection and processing of the oils, there is a net zero addition of carbon to the atmosphere.

“From a pollution perspective, biodiesels “Alternative fuels come produce 100 per cent less Biodiesels produce under a range of sulphur than regular diesel headings including and reduce exhaust smoke 100 per cent waste vegetable oils, emissions by up to 75 per less sulphur than straight vegetable cent. They also degrade regular diesel oils, pure plant oil and about four times faster than unused cooking oils. Once purified, many of petroleum diesel after spillage, with most of a these can be used as biodiesel.” spill broken down after just 28 days.” So where do you get your chip shop diesel from? “I buy my fuel from a small organisation, run from the back of a farm in rural Sussex. It’s becoming a lucrative business – restaurants that used to pay for their waste oil to be taken away are now selling it via collectors to buyers as far away as America. Collectors clean the waste oils of impurities, from bits of chip and batter to free fatty acids.”

So what does the future hold? Will we all be driving around with chip oil in our tanks? “I’m thoroughly investigating the methods of creating my own biodiesel, and one day perhaps I’ll be doing the rounds of local chip shops in Brighton.

That’s it? You just sift out the fried junk and it’s ready to go? “Residual contaminants should be removed, as these will cause a number of defects within the engine, including corrosion of the fuel injectors, seal failures, injector blockages and fuel pump seizures.

“I know three other Halcrow employees – all ecologists – who also run their cars on the same fuel as me. I recently drove to the south of France on holiday and a single tank of my old chip shop oil got me 1,200km to my destination. It was just a shame there was nowhere to fill up again once down there!”

“In winter I would suggest adding 10-20 per cent regular diesel to help the fuel flow better through the engine when it is still cold.” What are the benefits of using biodiesel? ”The vegetable oil actually has a cleaning and lubricating effect throughout your tank, lines and engine, so much so that you need to change your fuel filter after the first 15,000km or so as it cleans out the years of accumulated gunk. This also helps to reduce that classic diesel engine ‘knocking’ noise.

Biodiesel guru Max Bloomfield

Launching the carbon collective

Cementing reputations As president of the Concrete Society, Halcrow’s Peter Robery delivered the opening address at the University of Dundee’s recent congress – ‘Concrete: Construction’s Sustainable Option’. Held over three days during July, the event evaluated and sought to promote the merits of concrete as a sustainable material.

LEEDing the way Mechanical engineer Firas Atiyeh has become Halcrow’s first Dubaibased employee to attain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation. Firas developed an interest in sustainable design while working on a farmhouse project in Dubai. “The client wanted a ‘green’ design that would include grey water recycling, renewable energy and absorption chillers,” said Firas. “While I was researching this, LEED kept coming up as a desirable qualification, providing the best way to learn more about sustainable design.” With his wedding pending, Firas crammed in his studies, passing the test just days before he tied the knot.

The regional director for Birmingham’s presentation focused on effective asset management. He set out some of the challenges facing the industry, where owners are trying to simultaneously achieve longer lives and reduced maintenance costs for their concrete assets.

The third Middle East employee to gain the LEED qualification, Firas is now working on registering Halcrow’s Dubai office as an approved sustainable consultant with Environment, Health and Safety (EHS).

His speech was broadcast online and attracted a large remote audience. Firas Atiyeh

Firas’s achievement and that of his LEEDaccredited colleagues will help position the company to take a leading role in the region’s growing commitment to sustainable design.

Burn baby burn he construction industry has long been a sustainability minefield, with battles raging over materials, energy and pollution. Cement – so often cast an environmental pariah – is taking a step towards a greener future, thanks to a partnership between Halcrow and global cement supplier Holcim.


In the spotlight Halcrow helped to paint the town green at the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s recent awards, recognising action taken on sustainable development issues by local businesses. Over 200 attendees piled into the Four Pillars Cotswold Water Park Hotel for the trust’s inaugural Corporate Green Awards. Halcrow took home ‘highly commended’ honours in the environmental impact category, winning plaudits from the judging panel for its work with Swindon-based companies. Bankrolled by sustainable development adviser Envirowise, Halcrow’s project tied environmental benefits to cost savings – a compelling dual motivator for any ethically-conscious corporation. Swindon’s regional director, Chris Kearns, was on hand to accept the award. As one of the event’s sponsors, Halcrow was then invited to present an award. Group sustainable development manager Nick Murry did the honours. As a corporate member, Halcrow is planning further collaboration with the trust, including looking at potential joint initiatives at Burderop Park.

A major international player in the aggregates market – 90,000 employees in 70 countries and counting – Holcim’s Asian kiln empire blankets the region, with plants dotted around Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Fired up to reduce its carbon footprint, this leading manufacturer has invested heavily in alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR) in a bid to minimise its consumption of finite resources.

Enclosed convey

or belts transport

alternative fuel

The trend towards burning waste products has gained traction in recent years, with used tyres, plastics and oil sludge among the materials ending up in the furnace rather than buried deep within a landfill. These wouldbe fuels’ volatility, toxicity and potential for unexpected explosions mean that production plants and kilns must be assessed within rigorous safety standards … enter Halcrow. Led by Ali Adam, regional manager, Halcrow has undertaken a raft of risk assessments, hazard and operability studies and ‘fit for purpose’ surveys over the past two years, enabling Holcim to comply with strict safety obligations. Melbourne’s Stephen Anderson has flitted around the region, managing structural, electrical and safety reviews of operational cement plants. Sharing his depth of experience, Stephen also delivered risk assessment training to key Holcim staff in Vietnam and Thailand. The Halcrow/Holcim juggernaut is rolling on unabated, with India firmly in its sights. Halcrow’s Ashok Sharma in Delhi, Jim Haile in Tees Valley, UK, and Stephen Anderson are at the helm, tasked with coordinating potential projects. It’s clear that the partnership is blazing a trail towards more sustainable aggregate production with safety at its heart.

r rry with forme and Nick Mu Hann Chris Kearns enter, Judith es pr d orl W Tomorrow’s

State of the


An interview with chief executive Peter Gammie t’s a well-accepted premise that the advertising industry is one of the first to feel the effects of a recession – the canary in the coal mine. Engineering, with extended lead times and protracted contracts, is one of the last to be hit.


And while businesses around the world steady themselves to face the same economic quagmire, not all organisations are equally equipped, prepared or positioned to respond. As billions are wiped off share prices and global heavyweights stumble, how will Halcrow fare? How has it been affected so far? The answers to these questions are “pretty well” and “not too badly”, according to chief executive Peter Gammie.

recording a profit over £23 million – and has outpaced 2007’s performance by £4.1 million already. As can be expected, some business groups and regions have been harder hit by international events than others. New opportunities have opened up for several sectors, including transportation – £3.1 million ahead for the year to date – and maritime, which has amassed a £1.4 million lead on its budget.

Predictably, the property team has borne the credit crunch’s brunt to a greater extent than other business groups, resulting in a downturn in a number of its sectors. Despite the unfavourable climate, property’s global While the media paints performance is still For the year to date, the slump as the worst well above budget, collapse since the with North America the company is 1930s, Peter is quick in particular, making £7.4 million ahead of to point to economic impressive headway. downturns lurking in Although the UK budget recording a recent memory – and has suffered from profit over £23 million Halcrow’s response developers delaying to these pressures: or halting projects, “During the last recession in the UK in the the Middle East has recovered from a early 1990s, and during the Asian crisis difficult start to the year and is hitting at the end of that decade, Halcrow grew its targets. as we globalised our market portfolio. We responded positively and successfully to an Halcrow’s breadth, depth and flexibility adverse situation – and I am confident we will insulate it from the full weight of the global do so again.” crisis, enabling the company to shift its attention to its most promising prospects. Although many commentators predict that the crunch will bite in 2009, it is 2010 Reiterating that closer client relationships that Peter predicts will be Halcrow’s most are integral to its ongoing stability, Peter challenging year. “We have a bulging order points to the client survey as an important book that should see us safely through next tool in garnering clients’ opinions: “Client year,” he says. This, coupled with the fact that focus is critical. We’ve invested money and government agencies are often slow to claw effort in gathering client feedback. Now is the back spending, means that Halcrow shouldn’t time to use it. Let’s raise the industry norm feel the pinch until 2010. and differentiate ourselves.” Despite the cataclysmic headlines dominating the media, Halcrow’s performance has exceeded budgets since the wreckage of US sub-prime mortgage markets first signalled serious trouble ahead. For the year to date, Halcrow is £7.4 million ahead of budget – 32

Vox | issue one

As twilight sets on 2008, there are plenty of reasons to be confident about the future, and many more to resist complacency. The last word goes to Peter: “If we pull together, focus on our clients and respond flexibly, we can emerge as an even stronger company.”

y e “sursvays…

n from i e r a s t l u The res T ever S E G G I B Halcrow’s y ve client sur , 269 clients arlier this year ed across the were interview America to UK and North cture tiv presenta e pi help form a re w’s ro lc Ha ve percei of how clients ce an rm rfo pe y service deliver s. its competitor compared to


ring 172 sample – cove The huge UK clients m 52 separate respondents fro ding an st er s that ‘und – demonstrate single e th is ’ re d cultu client needs an bracing t factor. By em most importan an even er lcrow can deliv this tenet, Ha ance. better perform

r u o d An

When asked to rate the importance of sustainability, the mean score for UK clients was 8.98 out of 10

g the petitors – ratin that of its com red to a pa g m rin co 96 out of ten risingly, ‘delive 6. rp ss su ne un si s bu ap Perh budget’ was erage of 6.77. adline and to h undertaking competitor av projects to de nt The mammot ca ifi gn s si w’ the most part of Halcro was deemed lt conducted as eadth of rector Neil Ho pment lo ve ‘depth and br de ile ns wh tio t, Group board di en em el e e. id ac pr strategic rela pl key e depth of e’ took third also proved a summed up th levant expertis re ke ta ld programme. It ou ny sh mpa oyees how far the co Halcrow empl r his “T be m litmus test of s: nu ng a di to d fin te al ey demonstra m the survey’s towards its go rv d fro su le e el av Th tr in y s ha r ever clients s shown that are crucial fo nsultant that year’s study ha tified of issues that become ‘the co en and wh st t ge ou di our clients iden ek a to ic se ee er naturally North Am lcrow employ ga in Ha be as t . and partners s’ e’ os m ed ng t perhaps the greatest challe ipating their ne bu r ic , ei nt on th ‘a up ng t e. e si ac th ov es pr addr of all is ich we can im ear message key area in wh consistently cl ng the gi an at ch th is y te lit ra nabi demonst fact that sustai of And the results we are ahead put in across business. rk do wo s nd nt ie ou “Nevertheless, cl gr y wa erall ov of the solid s to rm d te te mpetitors in s already star co r ha ou ss ne s si by nt d bu the Halcrow are perceive scend all clie ends and put ntiments tran tisfaction and vid se sa di r ch de Su ntly wi g te in ap is ify re st its being a cons monstrably te k to deliver on our clients as and sectors, de ne in or yo d er fa firmly on trac Ev g . provider is not a passin ients. strong service oud of that the issue pr to ly st ns promises to cl ju io at be or ld by corp business shou e th nical attempt cy a t thou ients ’ credentials wi , Halcrow’s cl ese results.” tack on ‘green Across the UK its heart. th at ts s en wa em ny el pa e m th co on e g th in at er deliv reported th to – its ore at least equal e Find out m on Halnet ahead of – or s. or ct base felt ther fa e nt ic ie rv cl nt survey page e se ie rs n cl te e ve l di th al t s si in w’ Vi s ro or lc tit Ha e pe th com een ent on nts/SRD rentiation betw cant improvem under our clie was little diffe This is a signifi and s re wa he w ro ce lc an Ha rm rfo ngs when company’s pe the 2006 findi ors. ct fa ur fo on behind

Business beat Setting the agenda

A decade of

decisive direction

2018 strategy sets out bold ambitions for growth everal months ago the group board set out to ask a series of challenging questions concerning the future direction of the company.


Their findings – based on strong empirical business drivers – informed and ultimately led to the creation of the 2018 strategy. This practical template defines the vision and cultural landscape that will fuel Halcrow’s direction and ongoing evolution over the next decade. This will be achieved through a number of factors, but will primarily be driven by employees fully embracing the tenet that Halcrow ‘will become the consultant that clients and partners naturally seek out when addressing their greatest challenges’.

income derived in the UK, and the remainder spread out across the rest of the world – will shift fairly dramatically. Peter’s vision encapsulates the future scenario that around 70 per cent of Halcrow’s income by 2018 will be derived from outside the UK’s diverse market share.

“But to achieve our longer-term goals we do need to be a larger company with enough critical mass in the right places”

He stresses that the UK’s input will still grow, but the potential for expansion in this most mature of its markets will not be as great as in other regions where Halcrow still has a long way to go. Ultimately, the UK share will be 30 per cent of a much larger business.

A more diversified, internationally interspersed portfolio will reap many dividends, not least the ability to weather geographical shifts and turmoils in the economic cycle.

Closely allied to this is the company’s commitment to ‘live our values and code of conduct, maintain our independence and exercise leadership in everything we do’.

“With competitor consolidation and growth in our underlying markets, we took the position that if we are not growing at least as fast as the market, we would be going backwards. Instead, we want to take advantage of the markets we intend to operate in.”

Central to the wider thrust of the new refreshed strategy is the drive to become a

This means that the current level of operations – with around 50 per cent of

Current predictions place the US as accounting for some 20 per cent of turnover, with an equal proportion of the contribution emanating from the Middle East.

The increasing global currency of sustainable energy presents a number of exciting opportunities for Halcrow to pursue over the next ten years, driven by the resurgence of political support for nuclear energy.

Although the current generation of nuclear power plants are intended to be standard designs, there are still huge opportunities for Halcrow to supply the needs of such a complex undertaking.

One key caveat is that neither the UK, nor the US, has built a nuclear power plant for over a quarter of a century. This has led to a massive global skills shortage in this sector.

This includes planning and environmental services, transportation links, maritime studies and geotechnical advice, alongside plant and wider civil engineering openings.

Powering up... 34

much larger global player with an annual turnover of £1.5 billion by 2018. As chief executive Peter Gammie is quick to point out, there are sound and compelling reasons for this: “We do not want to become a bigger company simply for the sake of it, but because the environment we are working in is rapidly changing.

Vox | issue one

PEOPLE POWER At Halcrow’s heart are its people. Employees are the company’s most important asset – those who not only deliver on its promise to sustain and improve the quality of people’s lives, but are the living embodiment of its culture and values. A key focus of Halcrow’s long-term strategy is to become the most sought-after employer in every market and field in which the company operates. Halcrow is proactively looking at a number of programmes to develop the business. The new employee recognition scheme, for example, aims to recognise – and reward – the sterling contributions made by employees at every level.

Peter’s vision encapsulates the future scenario th at around 70 per ce nt of Halcrow’s incom e will be derived from outs ide the UK’s diverse mar ket share

The increasing importance of India will see the vast Asian sub-continent contribute around 10 per cent. The remaining fifth will be supplied through Halcrow’s other core operations in Australasia, the Far East, Eastern Europe, China and Latin America. Planning for the long-term means looking at new ways to achieve the company’s goals. Major projects and global clients will also be key drivers for the 2018 strategy’s ambitious growth plans.

Pairing up Working with partners has already proved its mettle through an agreement with CH2M Hill on the UK’s hugely ambitious Thames Tideway project. This challenging scheme – designed to make the tidal River Thames cleaner and healthier – is one of the most challenging feats of engineering undertaken in modern-day London. The project features the deepest tunnels ever constructed in the capital – up to 75m below ground level – while the diameter of each tunnel will be wider than three London buses placed side by side.

2018. The huge business benefits emanating from such complex, long-term projects as High Speed 1 – which delivered self-evident stability and profitability over a lengthy period – are indisputable.

A clear opportunity exists in the power sector as governments proactively seek out new and more efficient ways to close power gaps and tackle ever-more pressing energy requirements.

A further elemental tool in the strategy’s armoury will be developing new – and enhancing existing – markets.

In order to take advantage of these potential opportunities, resource and market intelligence pooling will become a key

An oft-mooted question centres on Halcrow’s proud history of independence and whether that status quo is now under review.

crisis and that will be a serious concern for their boards that have to answer to external shareholders.

“I can categorically state that there are no plans to float the company,” said Peter Gammie. “It is simply not on our agenda. Many of our competitors have seen their share price halve in the current financial

“It’s a great time not to have any debt on our balance sheet – now is the time to look after your money. As long as we make money we can continue to return a dividend to our employee shareholders.”

Major projects will account for some 30 per cent of the business’s anticipated workload by

Abu Dhabi skyline

Stock market floats away


Business 2018 Strategy beat / Business Setting the agenda Michael Della Rocca

through new partnering agreements >> factor with other professional service operators, contractors and suppliers. Tenders now being submitted for CrossRail – London’s new underground line – and the Qatar Bahrain Causeway are a case in point. But partnering choices will always be informed by Halcrow’s values and principles, as Peter is quick to point out. “If our partners are not aligned to our values we won’t succeed. We have learnt hard lessons about working with others and if you don’t have that alignment, it simply doesn’t work. It costs the business money and impacts negatively on our reputation. “While making a profit is important, making a profit at any price is not the way we conduct our business. If a potential partner believes that that is the most important thing, then you can be sure that other values will go out the window.” Peter also points out that the target figure of £1.5 billion by 2018 is exactly that – a target. “It’s important not to get hung up on targets in terms of the exact amount – all it says is that this is the direction of travel, and that’s what we are striving to achieve, much in the same vein as our values and conduct are always aspirational. “But to achieve our longer-term goals we do need to be a larger company with enough critical mass in the right places to deliver and win the big projects. This will also help us to attract and retain the best people.”

Downtown Manhattan skyline

And while the world faces up to the swirling economic winds of fiscal turbulence, Peter has comforting words of optimism. “In terms of the current global recession, we are planning for the long term – it’s not just about today or tomorrow.


“If we have to be prudent in the early years because of the state of our markets, then we can afford to do that. When the upturn comes, it will be strong and there will be a huge pent up demand to replace, redevelop or build new infrastructure. We will be ready for that day.”

Vox | issue one

Strategy showcase US operation targets ambitious growth he US has a key role to play in helping Halcrow achieve its bold 2018 targets, responsible for 20 per cent of the company’s turnover within a decade.


Some five years ago, Halcrow began to build a viable business in North America through a series of strategic investments. This, fused with organic growth, has led to over 600 employees driving a £44 million annual turnover business today.

On a practical level, this means utilising the world-class coastal, climate and sea-change work developed in the UK – and bring it to the US. This has borne fruit with coastal defence work in Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina.

Significant opportunities exist in the US’s mass transit and goods movement markets. This includes sectors such as shipping, ports, trucking, rail and freight, aviation, The business is focused highways, roads on increasing its annual and tunnels.

Headed up by Michael Della turnover Rocca, the team has now forged its long-term US growth strategy. Closely aligned to Halcrow’s wider Strategy 2018, the business is focused on increasing its annual turnover to £370 million within ten years – driven by an employee-base of some 2,000. The US operation will position itself as a strategic multi-specialist, proactively targeting niche markets that will benefit from Halcrow’s exacting global skills base. Growing at a steady pace, the US will seek to leverage Halcrow’s best practice credentials to its growing client base.

to £370 million

Another key target is the public private partnership arena – a niche area in its infancy in the US, and one in which Halcrow has already begun to showcase its credentials. The hugely diverse field of asset management is another core market that Halcrow can bring immense experience to bear – and one in which no other player has, as yet, claimed as their own. Overall, the US operation aims to become an even more dynamic and diverse business that delivers value to its clients, partners and people.

Two heads are better than one any a famous person achieved greatness thanks to mentoring – take Martin Luther King, or even T.S.Eliot. Would they have been such a success without their mentors, Benjamin Elijah Mays and Ezra Pound? Maybe…


Inspired by successful examples of mentoring around the world, Halcrow is prepping its emerging talent for a rewarding career as an expert. Technical Excellence is Halcrow’s business improvement programme providing the framework for this mentoring and tutoring scheme. Alan Warren and Robin Wood are one example of the growing number of mentoring partnerships signing up for this challenge. Now seasoned Texperts, they have recently been giving a feasibility study for a flood storage reservoir the benefit of their combined brainpower. “Not all of my work is with Alan but the main advantage of having him as my mentor is that he is there for any technical questions I have,” says Robin.

Find out more Visit the Technical Excellence site on Halnet under knowledge/staff development programmes

What’s NEC? NEC is a suite of standard contract forms that promote partnership between employers, designers, contractors and

For him, one of the most valuable aspects of Technical Excellence is how it ties in with other professional development objectives and provides a framework for reviewing skill levels. “Alan acknowledges the skills I have developed and is very encouraging – but it’s when I sit down with him as my mentor that I realise just how much I am learning,” he said. Burgeoning workloads restrict face-to-face meetings to a six-monthly catch-up, but Robin calls on Alan for advice whenever he needs to. Alan’s role as mentor is to help Robin identify the gaps in his knowledge and skills – at the moment he is tackling hydraulic structures and embankment design, which Alan is more than qualified to help with. But the experience is clearly also about the human side of development, and Alan finds being a mentor extremely rewarding: “The satisfaction of seeing people grow in their knowledge and experience – and the self-confidence that this brings – is a really fulfilling way of contributing towards Halcrow’s Alan Warren and Robin Wood future.”

It is widely used on UK civil engineering projects by government departments and local authorities.

Over 450 delegates converged on the University of Manchester in early July to discuss the UK’s evolving flood risk management strategy and plan for the impact of climate change. Halcrow’s technical experts delivered 16 papers at the event, more than any other body. Designed specifically for the event, Halcrow’s cutting-edge exhibition stand visually reflected its credentials as the UK’s number one consultancy in flood and coastal management. Plasma screens and backing graphics set against an innovative S-shaped stand gave delegates an easilyaccessible, engaging insight into Halcrow’s achievements.

UK software put to the test Halcrow’s contracts and procurement team is testing an exciting new contract management tool, stuffed with benefits that promise to give project teams the edge.

project managers on engineering and construction projects.


Exhibiting ex

Contract Event Management and Reporting (CEMAR) is a web-based application owned by software company Client Managers Toolkit. Developed with Halcrow’s assistance it helps project teams achieve the good management practice required by the UK’s NEC3 family of contracts. The software’s benefits include automating the NEC3’s early warning, ‘compensation

events’ and technical query processes, saving everybody time. It also controls contractual timescales and the approvals process, even issuing reminders to alert users to pending responsibilities. The project team can also configure the system to include key elements such as approval authorities, specific contract clauses and document templates for a tailored management system. Volunteers among Halcrow’s project leaders are now testing the product in a wider environment, remote from developers.


STOP PRESS Investors in People success for UK Having visited 11 of Halcrow’s offices throughout October, the assessment team from Investors in People (IIP) declared the company to have performed excellently in its third accreditation. Employees successfully demonstrated Halcrow’s values and identified its strong ethical corporate culture. They cited the main advantages of working for Halcrow as being the variety of work, the range of personal and technical development opportunities, and its supportive culture. When asked to rate how good Halcrow was as a place to work, the average response was 4.6 out of 5.

Glasgow knocks up a century One hundred new highly-skilled jobs have been filled ahead of schedule at Halcrow’s UK Glasgow office, marked by the appointment of transport economist Janine Graham. Halcrow now employs over 600 employees in Scotland in a wide range of engineering-based disciplines. Janine Graham with regional director Donald Bell

Business beat Setting the agenda

Financial fluency

Stronger financial assets will safely carry Halcrow through to 2018 and beyond


ince Alan Saffer took over Halcrow’s financial reins in January 2007, he has initiated – and driven – a number of group-wide efforts to help the company achieve its goals.

The primary thrust of these more commercially-savvy disciplines is the need to ensure that greater financial and commercial awareness can be leveraged to support Halcrow’s 2018 strategy. “We have already made great strides toward improving project capital and cash flow,” said Alan. “We have witnessed better regional reporting and a smarter approach to financial management.”

“The underlying net cash position is breaking even after borrowings, drawn down in 2004, of £10 million to finance two acquisitions in North America” Today, the underlying net cash position is breaking even after borrowings, drawn down in 2004, of £10 million to finance two acquisitions in North America. “The group’s recent results have been stunning – exceeding target almost across the board,” says Alan. “Team Halcrow’s response to improving cash flow has been fabulous. This is a radically different position than a number of our competitors that still have significant borrowings on their balance sheets.” As the bottom-line improves, so does Halcrow’s ability to fund key strategic acquisitions, such as Masson Wilson Twiney in Australia. “So despite the credit crunch and the straitened economic times we find ourselves in, we are infinitely better placed than we were. Even after including our pension deficit of £52 million – which new accounting rules compel us to include on the balance sheet – Halcrow

Finance teams are working ever more closely with project managers and directors, supporting them to meet clients’ needs. Project Portal is one of the most recent tools designed to support the entire lifecycle of a project, developed by different areas of the business. It facilitates project management both commercially and technically. “Project managers now have a far better understanding of their scheme’s finances with more real-time information available to them. Project Portal has empowered teams with more sophisticated means to better manage their project portfolios,” says Alan. The valuable lessons learnt through this process will be rolled-out and implemented across the major projects programme. Allied to this, Alan and his team are in the process of implementing a number of changes to support local managers, supporting regional empowerment throughout the business. The first phase of this was rolled out in June 2008 with the global overhead codes initiative. The next improvements, phased over the coming 18 months, will provide even more consistency and reliability for regional planning and reporting and for assessing project profitability. Such a backdrop of enhanced financial awareness will underpin the company’s wider drive and ambition. This includes not only surviving the current economic maelstrom, but emerging stronger on the other side, positioned to take advantage of the inevitable upswing when it arrives.

Who do you admire most? Fast-food chains display theirs on the wall. Oprah Winfrey showers hers with sparkling cars and jet-set holidays. The people in question? Employees who have demonstrated outstanding talent, dedication and drive. Positioning itself in the middle of this spectrum, Halcrow has launched its new recognition scheme, rewarding employees who make their mark. The new programme replaces all existing recognition schemes, barring oneoff discretionary awards. 38

Vox | issue one

It is open to all employees, regardless of grade or location. The nomination system is equally universal and unrestricted – anyone can put a colleague forward. Encapsulating Halcrow’s values, the criteria for selection include inspiring confidence, rising to the challenge and exceeding expectations. Full details will be communicated over the coming months.

Fluent in finance – Alan Saffer

He supported Halcrow’s 2007 decision to reduce its reliance on the banks for borrowing – in 2006, Halcrow paid more than £1 million in interest. Given the current parlous state of the global economy, this foresight proved to be a delightfully canny move.

has positive net assets of over £8 million at 31 December 2007,” Alan enthused.

Act now!

Gaining EXPOsure in Bucharest

Recycling record – Edinburgh’s Natalie Cunningham and Lauren Fenty

does it again

Worcester and Burderop Park West First have become the latest Act now! teams to celebrate exceeding the £100,000 savings mark. And Edinburgh – the other location in this second stage of the revised programme – is also seeing strong results.

orcester realised £103,000 of savings by improving its processes, particularly increasing awareness of how to log changes on projects. “We’re doing things now that we didn’t do last year… and it works,” said Mark Teague, a design team leader.

to reduce travel, and has worked with LEEP Recycling to halve the amount of waste sent to landfill since July 2008. “We have been greatly encouraged by everyone’s enthusiastic response and their increased awareness of practical sustainability measures,” said team member Ellie Mills.

Simon Casey, who heads up the Worcester team, added: “We’ve been able to perform above target thanks to the engagement of employees and their increased awareness of change control and commercial issues.”

These sustainability measures are set to net £10,000 in savings by the end of 2008, with more savings achieved through project delivery and cash flow improvement. So successful have these measures been that the team k Take a loo has upped its lio fo rt o P at the target savings n the o ts fi e n e b of figure to a alnet site Act now! H staggering ed account for a detail £150,000. savings


West First’s £120,000 of savings have been achieved through improved project performance, with project contribution up by 26 per cent from the same time last year, and an upswing in the number – and value – of project extensions.

se of how the . were made

150 120


Act now! office savings 90

Bristol £119,429 (realised) Crawley £97,000 (realised)


Exeter £99,000 (realised)

Halcrow rubbed shoulders with Romania’s most influential water industry decisionmakers at the Romanian Water Association’s (ARA) recent annual exhibition. Now in its tenth consecutive year, EXPO APA attracts the country’s biggest names in water supply and management. Representatives from government departments, regional water companies and authorities, consultancies, contractors, academia and equipment suppliers mingled in the stately surrounds of Bucharest’s Parliament Palace. EXPO APA serves as an ideal forum to review, benchmark and set targets for Romania’s infrastructure development. Having gained European Union (EU) member status, Romania is facing a looming 2018 deadline to implement European regulations and water quality standards. Over £12.5 billion will be pumped in to the water sector to modernise and upgrade the country’s drinking and wastewater facilities. A third of the population stands to benefit directly from improved access to better services if the 2018 targets are achieved. Above: Halcrow’s team – Andreea Pana, Ara Krikorian, Andrei Iorga, Paul Constantinescu, Jeni Ionita and Gheorghe Pana

manage more...

Worcester £120,000 (projected)

30 0

Burderop Park West First £120,000 (realised) Edinburgh £150,000 (projected)

This success has been driven by better project communications with enhanced planning, regular reviews and applying lessons learnt to other commissions.

And when the offices complete their yearlong programme, these improved behaviours will become part of everyday working life, bringing ever increasing efficiency savings.

Aligning itself to one of Halcrow’s top priorities – and in response to feedback from employees – the Edinburgh team has focused on sustainability as a way to slash costs. One of its most popular measures has been its ‘switch it off’ campaign to ensure that computer screens are turned off when not in use. Edinburgh has also promoted video and tele-conferencing facilities

Following the recommendation of consulting’s operations director Tony van Emst, the transport planning team in London’s Vineyard House has become the latest group to take up the Act now! challenge. In October, the team began a fasttracked, four month cascade programme to improve cash flow management, building on the experiences of other Act now! teams.

As Halcrow grows, so do the opportunities for employees. Manage more is the latest leadership and management development programme offered by Halcrow to fine tune managers’ skills. The full programme leads to internationally recognised qualifications with the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and also provides an opportunity to brush up on specific aspects of management with a series of modules open to all. The courses provide practical skills to managers, improving performance, focus and effectiveness. Find out more on Halnet under people / group training or email

Moving on up New Warrington office to tap into UK’s nuclear new build programme Halcrow’s presence in the north west of England recently doubled with the opening of its Warrington office.

Major boost for UK’s nuclear ambitions fter an uncertain summer and several false starts, nuclear development in the UK is making emphatic progress. EDF’s £12.5 billion takeover of British Energy – although yet to pass competition hurdles – heralds a projected £20 billion investment plan by private industry. The twin spectres of climate change and energy insecurity are driving nuclear development, and Halcrow is poised to play a leading role.


EDF’s £12.5 billion takeover of British Energy heralds a £20 billion investment plan A new office in Warrington provides a dedicated regional base from which Halcrow can cement its place at the heart of the UK’s nuclear industry. From this strategic position, Halcrow has launched itself into the nuclear debate: undertaking preparatory studies, supporting industry bodies in engaging with government, and injecting measured opinions into the wider dialogue. As part of this initiative, operations director Colin Robertson took centre stage at two formative events – Building’s ‘Gearing up for nuclear new build’ at the end of June and ‘Nuclear: the next generation’, held in September by New Civil Engineer. Britain’s capacity and capability to meet proposed generation targets formed the crux of both conferences, ahead of the 2017 timeframe for energy supply to the grid. Well-placed to discuss the supply chain and available skills pool, Colin reiterated the potential snagging points that could derail the UK’s progress. Limited worldwide capacity for very large forgings may yet result in a shortage of critical components – although there are signs that global capacity will increase – while a flurry of global activity could create competition for technical skills. These concerns reflect the international dimension of the UK market – a potential abundance of work, with a shortage of skilled people and resources to call on. But Colin anticipates a central role for Halcrow, drawing on extensive international experience and a substantial skill base across many aspects of nuclear development. 40

Vox | issue one

The nuclear renaissance • 14 million tonnes – anticipated CO2 emissions saved per year • eight – number of sites currently operated by British Energy • five – number of British Energy sites scheduled for decommissioning within the next ten years • 13 per cent – estimated proportion of the UK’s energy demand generated at EDF-run sites by 2020 • £20 billion – forecasted level of investment in Britain’s new build infrastructure

With floor space becoming an increasingly scarce commodity in the existing Handforth office, additional room was required to accommodate planned regional growth in the water and power sector.

With a cluster of power clients in the area and a pool of highly skilled people to draw on, the business case for Warrington was highly persuasive Already a nuclear stronghold, the region is likely to see increased activity in both decommissioning and generation as the UK presses on with its nuclear new build plans. With a cluster of conventional power clients based in the surrounding area and a pool of highly skilled people to draw on, the business case for Warrington was highly persuasive. A modern, aesthetic space was sought to showcase Halcrow’s skills and differentiate the business from the pack. Recently awarded a British Council for Offices accolade, the impressive 1,200m2 office is designed to the highest specifications. The flexibility to adapt to future growth across all business groups was a key priority for the new building, which was designed for up to 135 employees. Company directors mingled with clients and employees to celebrate Halcrow’s new outpost at the official opening of the Warrington office on 30 September.

Regional director John Daly with chief executive Peter Gammie at the launch party

L to r: Cathy Stubbs, Alison Mort, Dianne Parrington and Damaris Pitcher

Business beat Longbridge Birmingham: Development Setting the agenda begins...

L to r: Cathy Stubbs, Alison Mort, Dianne Parrington and Damaris Pitcher


with delight

Australian acquisition cements transport planning team’s growing reputation


alcrow recently seized pole position in the Australian transport planning market by acquiring highly respected consultancy Masson Wilson Twiney (MWT).

The deal, signed on 8 September, gives Halcrow a leading position in one of its priority growth sectors, strengthening its global traffic modelling and software development capability. Sydney becomes one of the company’s largest transport planning offices and chief executive Peter Gammie declared it “an outstanding achievement for everyone concerned”. Sydney and Brisbane-based transport planning consultancy MWT has a robust domestic reputation as a high-end leader in transport planning, strategy modelling, microsimulation and software development.

Established in 1994, MWT has a large share of the regional traffic market, and brings Halcrow around 35 seasoned professionals. The firm has worked on a range of high-profile projects across many different disciplines including the £850 million Brisbane Gateway upgrade, for which it provided strategic modelling forecasts and microsimulation operational analysis. Other impressive projects include Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tunnel Toll Booths.

MWT and Halcrow celebrate: l to r – Chris Wilson, Bruce Masson, Kim Hannan, Stephen Moore and Bill Austin

Royal assent for planning team alcrow has recently been recognised as a ‘learning partner’ by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). Applicable to both UK-based employees and those working overseas, this prestigious accolade recognises Halcrow’s commitment to professional and personal development for its planning and design team.


team’s community of practice and its annual strategy day were also highlighted. Learning Partner status provides a firm foundation for future partnership with the Royal Town Planning Institute, placing Halcrow at the leading edge of the profession and in a key position to influence its future development.

Halcrow employs 43 chartered planners and a number of graduates working towards chartered status. Specific areas singled out for praise by the institute included Halcrow’s business principles, Project Excellence programme and approach to career progression. The planning

Chief executive Peter Gammie congratulates Iain Paton and Stefano Smith

Halcrow in the driving seat at transport conference Halcrow’s transport planning team delivered a number of papers at the UK Transport Practitioners Meeting (TPM) in July and European Transport Conference in October. Halcrow presented topics ranging from emissions policies to demand management. Liz Eccles, Astha Balwani, Annabel Bradbury, Robin Hickman, Olu Ashiru and Elizabeth Chandley gave talks focusing on distance based charging, appraisal guidance and promoting mobility. Specialists from Halcrow also chaired 15 sessions, making it one of the most prominent consultancies at both events. Alan Shirley and Robert Jones were joined at TPM by their clients – Transport Scotland and City of Swansea respectively.

Commenting on the move, the consulting business group’s managing director, Mark Brown, said: “MWT has achieved an exceptional level of technical excellence in the critical field of traffic modelling and development, which will greatly add to our global potential in this area. The acquisition also establishes Australia as one of the transport planning team’s main global markets.”

Yes, minister With increasing numbers of women re-entering the workforce after starting a family, demand for flexible working is greater than ever. Highlighting the contribution that working mothers make to the UK’s economy, chancellor Alistair Darling hosted a Women Like Us reception at 11 Downing Street on 25 June. Halcrow’s Mandy Clarke and Dawn Morton joined GMTV Today’s Fiona Phillips at the chancellor’s official residence.

Longbridge Birmingham: Development begins...



striding 2008 has seen Halcrow tic forward with characteris ked vigour – but it also marthe the 50th anniversary of iam death of founder Sir Will ny’s Halcrow and the compa 140th birthday

rowof quiet brilliance Ha–lca portrait ir William was one of the most notable British civil engineers of the 20th century, with a career that spanned the height of the British Empire, two world wars and the ‘second industrial age’.


Born in Sunderland in 1883, William Thomson Halcrow began his career in 1900 as a trainee with the London-based consulting engineering business, PW and CS Meik. The origins of the firm date back to 1868, when it was founded by Thomas Meik in Edinburgh. It specialised in maritime work – mainly docks and harbours – and in transportation, predominantly railways. Both disciplines remain major sectors of Halcrow’s business today. Thomas Meik’s son Charles, a civil engineer, inherited and expanded the firm with projects in India, Burma and Mozambique. In Scotland, the company distinguished itself with the design of the first major hydroelectric scheme at Kinlochleven. During World War I, Sir William was involved in the construction of the King George V Dock in Singapore, followed by the causeway between Malaysia and Singapore. He also designed and constructed the submarine and land defences at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys. After the war, Sir William briefly returned to the Far East to lead the construction of the Johor Causeway.


Vox | issue one

In 1926 – the year of the General Strike – he returned to work on Scotland’s ambitious Lochaber hydroelectric scheme. The same year he became a partner in the renamed firm of CS Meik and Halcrow.

Sir William was one of the most notable British civil engineers of the 20th century But it was during World War II that Sir William’s reputation was secured. Protecting London from flooding, building air raid shelters and saving works of art were just some of his more high-profile achievements. And his contribution to the success of the Dam Busters’ mission and the Allied offensive demonstrated the pivotal role engineers had to play supporting the front line. After the war, Sir William’s attention turned once again to Scotland, supporting a new generation of hydroelectric schemes. In Wales the firm contributed to a number of dams, while railway tunnels were designed at Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, and work began on a new Victoria Line underground route for London.

Overseas, the company took part in a wide range of engineering projects, including roads, bridges and harbours in Ghana, Libya and Mozambique, and dams in Venezuela. The company’s workload expanded to such an extent that Sir William appointed a number of partners. In 1941 the firm was renamed WT Halcrow and Partners and then in 1944, Sir William Halcrow and Partners in recognition of the knighthood bestowed upon him that same year. In the late 1950s, Sir William retired. He subsequently died in Folkestone, Kent, in 1958 leaving behind a thriving business to carry on his name. A decade after the Victoria Line work, Halcrow Ltd was appointed joint consulting engineer on the London Jubilee Line (1971-78) – a project that involved delicate underground manoeuvres below Trafalgar Square around Nelson’s Column. The 1970s was also the company’s Middle Eastern era – when capital works were being designed, contracted and built at a rate exceeding £1 million a day for more than four years. At its peak

in 1979 Halcrow’s work in the Middle East represented around 95 per cent of annual revenue, and employee numbers swelled to 2,700. The early 1980s saw engineering investment in the region fall dramatically, and Halcrow was forced to significantly reduce its workforce. By 1990, the UK accounted for 79 per cent of the firm’s earnings and employee numbers started to rise again. When the British government embarked on a major programme of road building, Halcrow was awarded years of motorway building work. The business was also involved in the Queen Elizabeth II bridge building project at Dartford and the major second Severn Bridge.

In 1979, Halcrow’s work in the Middle East represented 95 per cent of annual revenue

World War II

Britain’s finest hour was also Sir William’s Among its high-profile global successes, Halcrow helped construct one of the 20th century’s greatest engineering feats – the Channel Tunnel. Its key role in managing the scheme involved fielding more than 50 engineers at the tunnelling and maritime sites in Dover. In the last five years the company has successfully expanded into the North American market, with one tenth of its 8,000-strong global workforce now based there. An achievement of which its visionary founder would be justly proud.

A member of the War Cabinet’s engineering advisory committee, Sir William was also consultant to the secretary of state for war on ports and adviser to Bomber Command.

To help shield London’s residents from the forthcoming horrors of the Blitz, eight new deep-level air raid shelters were built under stations such as Goodge Street and Camden Town. Goodge Street, designed by Sir William, became the most important of the shelters – it was from there that US president Eisenhower directed the D-Day Normandy landings.

His tunnelling knowledge helped London Underground construct floodgates at strategic stations to protect the city from flooding. He also became a hero of the arts when he identified the Manod slate quarry in north Wales as a safe haven from war-torn London for the National Gallery’s treasures. And Sir William’s knowledge of dam construction was used by Barnes Wallis to help perfect the bomb used by the Dam Busters in 1943.

Elsewhere, the company was involved in designing the reinforced concrete caissons that made up Mulberry Harbour – a vast prefabricated port built in Britain. This was towed across the channel after D-Day to create two great harbours – Arromanches and St Laurent. Their construction allowed the Allied armies to be supplied by sea and ultimately liberated France from the Nazis. The towing operation moved King George VI to remark that this was “the greatest combined operation the world has ever seen, perhaps the greatest it will ever see”. In 1946, Sir William became president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a fitting recognition for his wartime contribution.

Sir William’s knowledge of dam construction was used to help perfect the bouncing bomb used by the Dam Busters

People parade Longbridge Birmingham: Development Taking a breakbegins...


ng a

Captain Pugwash hits Latvia

Pirates ahoy! The Riga team gets into the spirit of things

There was a clear whiff of brine in the air as Halcrow’s Riga office hosted a special photo-based orienteering event with a distinctly piratey flavour. The goal was to find stolen treasures and return them to the ‘old pirate’ through examining pictures of the Latvian landscape. Held in the western region of Kurzeme, the Breton-shirted hearties were tasked with taking photos of their finds. Other challenges included some fiendishly difficult questions worthy of a fox with a degree in cunning – log-rolling, crossing a river via a rope, puzzles and singing – all of

which led players to the stolen treasures. Once the motley crew had finished the tasks, the winners were announced. At sunset, competitors ‘returned’ their stolen bounty by burying it on the beach. A barbecue and convivial chatter lasted well into the night. The event is one of several planned by the Riga office throughout the year, as a way to unite employees and demonstrate that good teamwork conquers all. Fortunately, the perilous one way ticket to oblivion – walking the plank – did not feature, much to the relief of all.

It was a case of up, up and away for several employees at Halcrow’s Brisbane office when they took to the skies in a Cessna 172 aeroplane at a recent Redcliffe Aero Club event.

Ready for take off – the intrepid team take to the skies View of the Glass House Mountains at 300m

Employees and their families hired aircraft and an instructor pilot for the day to undertake a series of trial flights, where they were able – under supervision – to take the controls and fly like a bird.

Connections Vox | issue one | July 2008

Halcrow’s Leeds-based employees enjoyed the perfect combination for summer fun – or a visit to accident and emergency – barbeque, beer and three-legged racing.

Inspired by the Beijing Olympics, employees and their families competed in egg and spoon races, ‘wellie whanging’ – hurling rubber boots to the uninitiated – and tests of football prowess. Prizes for the winners and runners-up ensured a gentle sporting rivalry.

Everyone was unanimous in agreeing that it beat the ‘usual golf day’.


Summer fun in Leeds

A regional staff survey workshop held in April highlighted the desire for more social activities, and regional director Neil Grant obliged with an impressive spread.

Those not wishing to embark on such a hands-on role could simply sit back and feast upon the visual delights unfolding below them such as the iconic Glass House Mountains, north of Brisbane.

Surf’s up for the Inverness team

Leeds employees tuck into the barbeque spread

Beach party

Among the many activities enjoyed by all – and bolstered by the breezy conditions – were dinghy sailing, sail boarding, canoeing and numerous examples of falling into the loch with varying degrees of style.

A party of over 70 Halcrow employees from Inverness, their partners and offspring enjoyed a family day and barbeque at the edge of a windswept Loch Morlich in the Scottish Cairngorms in August.

The children were captivated by the timeless wonder of making sand castles on the beach, while a decidedly wet and somewhat frantic surfboard relay race concluded the afternoon’s frolics.



There was some serious monkeying around for a number of the York’s signalling and telecomms engineers when they swung into action at the ‘Go Ape’ adventure course at the Dalby Forest visitor centre in Yorkshire.

The Go Ape attraction saw the team fooling around on rope bridges, Tarzan swings and zip slides all suspended from the forest treetops. Once back on terra firma, they enjoyed a range of other activities such as mountain biking and walking.

In 2007, Halcrow won both an award and a commendation at the British Construction Industry Awards for the Halcrow Yollesdesigned Dalby Forest visitor centre, also scooping the prime minister’s better public building award. The visitor centre serves as a learning facility to enhance awareness of the environment and the forest itself.

Monk ey bu sines s

On yer bike

Burderop Park (BP) employees dragged their bicycles out of storage and dusted off their lycra shorts to win the Swindon Workplace Cycle Challenge. Open to all organisations in the area, the competition aimed to get the largest number of people on two wheels. Halcrow’s employees ditched their cars in favour of bikes in impressive numbers, with 13 per cent leaping into the saddle – a grand total of 65 hardy riders.

Swindon rises to the challenge

The Swindon Workplace Cycle Challenge got 850 people out of their cars and into the saddle. Participants collectively cycled 56,500km, saving 3,157 litres of fuel and £3,630 by leaving their cars at home. Some 35 million kilojoules of energy were burnt – that’s roughly equivalent to 1,060kg, or the total weight of ten heavyweight sumo wrestlers.

Many participants were reacquainted with their bicycles after long absences, with the challenge serving to coax people back to leg-power. Efforts ranged from a one-way slog from Bristol to four keen riders from the geotechnical team who each clocked up over 160km. One brave cyclist took to the road on a 50-year-old relic, wheeling into the BP car park after a bone-shaking commute through Swindon’s streets.

Burderop Park’s two-wheeled crew

(Table) Socc it to ‘em Visitors to Burderop Park on 15 August could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled down a rabbit hole, ending up in C S Lewis’s Alice in Wonderland. A life-size table-football pitch – with humans replacing the traditional plastic men – dominated the outdoor space, and the shrieks of teams frantically kicking the ball towards the opposition’s goal pierced the air.

Make mine a pint Selfless souls at Halcrow’s Glasgow City Park office have donated almost 200 pints of blood in the last year, following several visits from the Scottish Blood Service’s mobile units. Organiser Mary Love said: “So far this year, we have donated a fantastic amount of blood and the response has been overwhelming. We started off sharing a bus with another company, but now there are now so many of us willing to give, we get a dedicated one.”

Connections | July 2008

With Ian Roland wearing the captain’s armband, ‘Smelly Trainers’ passed and shot superbly in the closely contested match. But it was ‘Damage Limitation’ that took top honours in BP’s table football tournament, with skipper Alan Warren leading the charge. Winners: Alan Warren, Tom Bryant, Robin Wood, Matt Scott, Alex Lane, Charles Grice and Sam Warren Runners-up: Ian Roland, Laura Thompson, Gemma Harris, Annie Virgilio and Claire Mackenzie

Glasgow team-mates roll up to help others

Donating blood takes just 15 minutes. Three different patients could be helped from a single donation and just three teaspoons of blood can save the life of a premature baby.

People parade Longbridge Birmingham: Development Taking a breakbegins...

an Clabon’s signature jostled for space with Nelson Mandela’s scribe when he received the Freedom of the City of London on 27 June.


With his wife and father proudly looking on, Ian joined an illustrious list of Freemen as he accepted the title in the Chamberlain’s Court at Guildhall. Reflecting on seeing Mandela’s signature, Ian said: “If I had been told about that before signing, my scribble would have gone all over the page! It made the hair on the back of my head rise and it made me feel very humble.”

Ian celebrates the honour with his wife, Heather, and father, John

One of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence today, the Freedom of the City of London is believed to have begun in 1237. Traditionally, it gave recipients the freedom to earn money and own land – a privilege usually reserved for feudal lords. Today, the title is largely ceremonial as the bulk of the privileges associated with the freedom – to drive sheep across London Bridge, be hanged with a silken cord, go about the city with a drawn sword, be married in St Paul’s Cathedral, and to be drunk and disorderly without fear of arrest – have long since disappeared.

Himalayan heights Roopkund, the mysterious Himalayan frozen lake, has yielded its secrets to Varsha Agarwal from Halcrow’s Delhi office. As summer beckoned, the senior bridge engineer and her party of six hardy climbers – including her adrenaline-charged son Tanmay, aged just seven – set off on the glacial climb. With Roopkund Skeleton their destination, the seven day ‘vigorous’ trek sent Lake the group meandering along the Himalayan ridge, nearing an altitude of 4,800m. Nestled in India’s te, Roopkund Uttarakhand sta resting place le ib ss After walking through meadows ablaze with is an inacce n remains. wild-flower colours, they approached for 300-600 huma 42 by a park Kaluvinayak Pass, the gatekeeper to Roopkund. Discovered in 19 e bottom of th Thirty melting glaciers now stood between Varsha’s ranger, those at tween be ed liv e group and the semi-frozen lake. After an exhausting the lak th th walk plodding across the ice sheets the group arrived the 12 and 15 . centuries at the impenetrable spring and its ancient temple.


Connections Vox | issue one | July 2008


Nominated by fellow rescuers, Roger has been an active member of the organisation for six years and is currently its surface rescue leader, responsible primarily for incident coordination.

Gaining the Freedom of London brought Ian’s acceptance as a full member of the Worshipful Company of Farriers within grasp, and he slipped on his liveryman’s robes for the first time on 25 September. Ian is the latest in the Clabon’s farrier lineage, following in his father, grandfather and great-grandfather’s footsteps.

Four degrees centigrade gave way to 40 degrees as the weary but jubilant trekkers descended and worked their way back to Delhi.

eeds-based engineer Roger Swainston recently found himself in front of Graham Maxwell, the chief constable of North Yorkshire in the UK. His audience with the county’s top police chief was not for any legal transgression or minor misdemeanour – but to receive an award for his selfless work with the Swaledale mountain rescue team.

Rescue me

Let freedom ring

Roger – also trained in mountain rescue advanced casualty care – attended the ceremony at Solberge Hall, Northallerton, alongside a number of local dignitaries, such as the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and chair of the county’s police authority. Like all UK mountain rescue teams, Swaledale is run entirely on voluntary contributions. The team works within the 999 emergency system to deliver timely help to those lost and in distress across some of the remotest parts of the North Yorkshire Dales. Recent call-outs include large scale searches for missing persons, a helicopter crash and the rescue of a climber who fell into an isolated gill.

Recent call-outs include large scale searches for missing persons, a helicopter crash and the rescue of a climber who fell into an isolated gill

Having received the award and a £3,000 donation, Roger said: “Being part of mountain rescue gives a great sense of belonging. It is the teamwork that has produced the high standards that have been recognised and developed over the last 75 years. The award is a credit to all those who give their time, effort and dedication in difficult circumstances.” For more information or to make a donation, visit

Soapbox scribe In order to give the numerous letters and emails we receive a suitable forum, we’re launching a letters page to coincide with the first issue of Vox. Write in and share your thoughts – anything from your take on a Halcrow project to your opinions on the US presidential election. Whatever you’ve got to say, this is your chance to get it off your chest. Each edition, the best letter will be printed and will win a £25 book token for its author.

We’re kicking things off with a letter from 83-year-old Dave Smith. The Halcrow pensioner gives us a fascinating insight into his life prior to joining the company.

Roger, over and out Stuffed with residence visas and adorned with a customs stamp rainbow, Roger Hoad’s passport has rarely been out of action for long.

ve Smith, Lily and Da 46 19 ay M 21

Dear editor

I was born in Chiswick, London, to a modest family, with a younger brother and three sisters. We lost our mother to cancer when we were all quite young. My father brought us all up on his own – I realise how difficult it must have been for a man to do this. Then came the war, up-rooting countless families. When a raid started one night, my dad sent us all to the air-raid shelter in his sister’s back garden, along with our grandmother. As it was quiet, I went to visit my friend, promising I would be back later. But the air raid got worse: his family made me stay until it quietened down, so I stayed the night with them. They said they would explain it to my dad in the morning. But as it turned out there was no explaining to do as the shelter received a direct hit, killing most of my family. When I was allowed to go home my father must have thought I was a goner, as he had no idea I had left the shelter that night. My dad had my family buried in five individual coffins – what was left of them. That wasn’t to be the end, as on the day of the burial there was a raid and we were machine gunned at the grave-side. As I got older – I suppose I was seeking revenge – I put up my age and joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, not telling my dad. I was still just a boy. I gained a bit of experience during my years of service: Atlantic convoys; Russian convoys; mine-laying at Norway; D-Day landing, then on to the Pacific when the war finished. I was based in Australia, and visited Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped – I was in Tokyo Harbour when the war peacetreaty was signed. When I got home I got married. What made me come out of the navy after all that was that I could not claim marriage allowance as I was under 21 – this is after 11 campaign medals! Otherwise I would have made it my career – I loved every minute of my service. I suppose I can’t grumble: I have had 63 years of marriage, and congratulations from our Queen. We have ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren, so life ain’t that bad. I only wish England was the same as before the war – it seems we are losing all our traditions and heritage. I did enjoy the years I spent working for Halcrow. I met some very clever people – it proves it by the way the company has progressed over the years. Yours truly

Dave Smith

Rapid transit schemes pepper his CV – passengers shuttling around Bangkok, Cairo, Manila and Singapore now come into close contact with Roger’s work during their daily commute. A raft of senior positions followed, namely regional managerial roles in Europe, Asia and the Gulf. Officially signed off on 2 October, Roger received words of thanks from Peter Gammie, Halcrow’s chief executive, at a gathering of colleagues. Reflecting on his time steering parts of the Halcrow ship, Roger said: “Over the years I’ve worked with a great bunch of people, who have demonstrated huge personal commitment to ensuring projects were won and then delivered on time and to budget.”

To remember... Robin Goodwin died on 23 May, aged 65. Robin was an associate director of Halcrow Fox and worked as a project director and transport planner on major transport modelling projects in the UK and overseas between 1986 and 1995. He is survived by his wife, Linda.


ima –

Naming a Calcutta sewer-cleaning pilot among his toughest projects, Roger contemplates the iconic schemes that didn’t quite make it off the drawing board: “Baghdad Metro, the original Jubilee Line, and Birmingham tunnel network come to mind.”

Mrs Violet Stares passed away on 29 May at the age of 80. Violet was a postroom supervisor at Burderop Park from 1976 to 1987.

Ex Halcrow maintenance department


After spending more than half his life at Halcrow, Europe and Central Asia’s regional managing director has retired, bringing to a close a distinguished career spanning three decades. Not one to sit still, Roger’s career has taken a steady trajectory – and a distinctly international flavour – since he joined the company in 1977.

ays la two d

Dave with his frie nd, Fred, in Hyde Park, Syd ney

Lynne Harbin died on 21 April 2008, aged 49. She worked in the transportation team from 2003 to 2005 in Darlington. She is survived by her adult children, Christopher, Jonathan and Kathryn. To send condolences, email

Giving generously Spread a little happiness

Musical efforts in Scotl and help rebuild New Orleans Glasgow-based health and safety adviser Lorraine Johnston was moved to action by the plight of friends in New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina pummelled the city in August 2005 with catastrophic floods that left thousands homeless.

Surviving Katrina – the facts • over 1,800 people lost their lives • the devastation covered a 160km

Three years after the hurricane flooded 80 per cent of the city, many of its homes and businesses still sit abandoned and blighted. Over 60 per cent of those made homeless by the hurricane are still living in temporary trailers which lack water and electricity.

radius from the storm’s centre • it was the world’s sixth strongest hurricane ever recorded • it was the costliest US hurricane

The Wilders, Lorraine and a guitar winner bust out a tune

causing £45 billion of damage Source – the Discovery Channel

Show your support To donate from the US, visit www.

New Orleans has always been famous for its music. NOAHH is currently working hard to re-house its homeless musicians in a purpose built village, and has recently opened a music school. “There’s a fierce love of music in New Orleans that’s reflected in Scotland. There’s nothing like music for moving people to take action,” said Lorraine on a recent local radio show, where she highlighted the ongoing plight of the city’s residents. Three guitars were donated by RGM music shop in Kilmarnock, which Lorraine raffled over three events, the first held at Halcrow’s City Park office. Another raised £415 at a gig with Kansas City’s renowned bluegrass quartet, The Wilders. And world-famous New Orleans blues musician, Chris Smither, gamely took part in the last raffle held at Brookfield Hall – his signature on the guitar emptying the ticket book.

org/donate/donateonline.php and select ‘Lorraine’s project’. Or send a NOAHH project-addressed cheque to Lorrraine at City Park, 368 Alexandra Parade, Glasgow, Scotland, G31 3AU.

Wanting to show her support for the city’s recovery, Lorraine has hosted a number of fundraising events in support of the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity organisation (NOAHH), which builds affordable houses in the area. Painted by Lorraine’s sister, Aileen Dickie-Adams, the Saltire-embossed violin – decorated with signatures from Scotland’s finest musicians and conductors – will be gifted to NOAHH to help its fundraising

Together these efforts have raised over £1,200 for Lorraine to deliver to NOAHH, along with generous online donations, when she visited her friends in New Orleans for Thanksgiving.

Lorraine and blues legend Chris Smither hand over the signed guitar

At a cost of £20,000 each, NOAHH is building basic family homes that meet Florida’s hurricane standards.

For Lottie, with love Environmental ecologist Max Bloomfield was inspired by the plucky determination of his friend’s five-year-old daughter Lottie and her relentlessly cheerful approach to fighting leukaemia. So much so that he decided to get on his bike and cycle over 2,000 gruelling kilometres, the length of the UK.

The Crawley-based 29-year-old’s solo twowheeled bid to raise £2,000 for Leukaemia Research kicked off in Land’s End, Cornwall – Britain’s most south-westerly point. Max arrived somewhat lighter and leaner in Scotland’s John O’Groats ten days later. His parents – who live in Inverness – were on hand to receive him bearing plates heaving with smoked salmon sandwiches and a bottle of thoroughly deserved champagne.

Max trained for the event by ditching the booze and taking part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride on a tandem bicycle. Max riding for Lottie


Connections Vox | issue one | July 2008

eople hobble down the mud tracks dissecting the Naivasha slum in Kenya’s Rift Valley on spindly, malformed legs that buckle under their weight – evidence of excessive fluoride in the region’s water. Other symptoms include mottled tooth enamel and warped bone joints, causing sufferers considerable pain and discomfort.


In February, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) – a not-for-profit organisation of which Halcrow is a founding member – launched a project to reduce fluoride levels in the drinking water to internationally-recognised safety standards.

Given the lack of established infrastructure and prohibitive maintenance costs, the fluoride removal processing plant had to tick price, simplicity and sustainability boxes, in addition to fulfilling mandatory performance requirements.

Intended to eventually provide water, sanitation and hygiene services for 600,000 residents of the Mirera-Karagita district, the initial rollout will serve a pool of 5,000 locals. Halcrow’s David Best – working closely with the UK-based WSUP project team – was called in to support the on-site project manager, shouldering technical responsibility for reviewing and recommending treatment options.

Crushed cattle bones were recommended as an ideal filtering media

Currently water is pumped via a borehole to storage tanks, then collected and sold to villagers on donkey carts

Naturally occurring and readily available, crushed cattle bones were recommended as an ideal filtering media for use in the treatment plant. As the water passes through this media, the fluoride is absorbed onto the ‘bone char’, making the water safe. With clods of red earth turned to lay foundations for a pilot plant and Halcrow’s ongoing support, Naivasha will soon turn on the tap to clean, fresh and safe water.

A basic right Over one billion people worldwide live without clean drinking water and twice as many lack basic sanitation. As a founding member of WSUP in 2004, Halcrow pledged to help meet the United Nations’ Millennium Development goal to halve these staggering statistics by 2015.

Healing hands The dreaded ‘C’ lurks in every family, in every genetic history. Few have escaped cancer’s reach – most of us have relatives and friends who have battled with the disease.

Some 27 Halcrow employees from Glasgow donned their trainers for a Sunday morning workout, courtesy of the Mens Health Forum Scotland 10km run.

Halcrow’s Ranjit Nair is one of the lucky ones, having undergone treatment for leukaemia several years ago. Now recovered, he has been working unrelentingly to raise money for the Christian Medical Mission Hospital’s Cancer Foundation in Vellore, India.

The sponsored race took place in the city’s Bellahouston and Pollok parks in June. Leading the pack was Stuart Andrew who completed the course in a highly impressive 39 minutes.

Acute health care is prohibitively expensive in India. Without an adequate state-funded service, treatment for leukaemia and other blood conditions typically runs into tens of thousands of rupees – more than a lifetime’s wages for India’s labourers.

The other 26 runners all finished in respectable times – given their varying levels of fitness – raising well over £3,000 for Cancer Research.

Ranjit’s close contact with the hospital proved the impetus for his fundraising quest, after witnessing families’ excruciating struggle to pay for life-saving treatment.

When the Cancer Foundation’s work blipped across Halcrow’s radar, local employees stepped in to the tune of £640. This contribution will help the haematology department continue to perform free and subsidised bone marrow transplants and other specialist treatment to some of its poorest patients, many of whom are children. But it’s only the start of Ranjit’s mission to raise funds for this most worthy cause. Those wanting to contribute should contact him at:

Ranjit presents a cheque to Dr Mammen at the hospital

Achieving ambitions Raising the bar

r a e y p Ga glory

Emma Math


hile some of her peers spent their gap year backpacking around Brazil or slumped in front of daytime television, Emma Mathias-Jones was hard at work in Halcrow’s Burderop Park office, UK.

Business Awards finals. Emma made it through to the semi-final stage – one of three held to pick out the regional finalists – where she was pitted against five other students on 26 June.

A former pupil of Godolphin School, Salisbury, Emma improved on an existing model for a water supply reservoir feasibility study using the MISER software package – a new release for Halcrow. From the results of the model runs undertaken for the schemes, Emma was able to determine the ideal reservoir size and estimate the optimum scheme’s carbon footprint.

Burderop Park hosted the event – which celebrated the achievements of young people on ‘year in industry’ placements – with Halcrow’s Kunle Akande delivering the welcome address.


Recognition for her efforts came in the form of a chance to represent the south west region at the national Contribution to

A panel of independent judges sized up the contestants’ written entries and listened to a five minute presentation from each semi-finalist before ten minutes of probing questions. The judges were impressed with the quality and professionalism demonstrated by the entrants.

Budding captain of industry

Michael McCulloch

Michael McCulloch flew the proverbial flag for Scotland at the national Contribution to Business Awards finals – held on 11 September – having blitzed the competition at the regional heats. The UK-wide regional heats celebrated young peoples’ first forays into the business world and marked the culmination of a ‘year in industry’ placement.


Identified as a ‘future captain of industry’, Michael completed the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) course in business management at Perth College, in conjunction with an in-house project at Halcrow’s Edinburgh offices.


Glasgow-based assistant structural engineer Steven Hoffin has passed his MSc in structural engineering and mechanics at Glasgow University. Steven completed his course, funded by the Halcrow awards programme, on a parttime basis over three years while keeping up his Halcrow day job.

Vox | issue one

Michael pocketed £500 prize money in recognition of his outstanding flood risk assessment appraisal of development sites. His work explored various options to safeguard areas while minimising any detrimental environmental impact. Michael was thrilled by his ‘excellent’ experience and the tangible rewards of his focused and driven approach to his work. Although he did not go on to win the ultimate prize in the UK final, Michael’s Edinburgh-based colleagues are proud of his impressive achievements to date and look forward to seeing him again following the completion of his degree.

Bristol-based senior structural engineer Tong Sun has gained chartership with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Tong was presented with his award by David Orr, president of the ICE, at an award ceremony in September.

Glasgow’s water and power business group’s Lindsay Renfrew and Kirsteen Nixon have both successfully passed their chartership interviews for the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management. Both are now chartered wastes managers (correction from Connections issue 26). Transport planner James Purkiss, based in Bristol, celebrated gaining chartership to the Royal Town Planning Institute in June.

Katherine makes a Pitt stop Katherine Pygott – the water and power business group’s chief scientist for catchment processes – has been elected to the national rivers and coastal group of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environment Management (CIWEM). Katherine has already been invited to take up a role as its national consultations coordinator, and has since drafted the group’s response to the Pitt Report – the government’s study into the 2007 floods that wreaked havoc across the UK. The group provides a professional voice for flood risk management practitioners, as well as responding to government consultations and producing policy position statements.

Protecting our rivers and coasts Formed over 50 years ago, CIW EM’s rivers and coastal group boasts over 1,000 members. Organisations such as the Department for the Environ ment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency and the Scot tish Environment Protection Agency have joined forces with consulta nts, contractors, local authorities and the academic world to promote exce llence in the sustainable management of rivers and coasts.

The complete Worcs The UK’s Worcester office has shown itself to be a hotbed of academic and professional industry with its latest crop of personal achievements. Studying at GLOSCOL in Gloucester, highways technicians Matthew Holliday, Sam Ihle and Leigh Palmer passed their BTEC higher national certificate (HNC) in civil engineering. Leigh and Sam each gained a distinction and Matt secured a merit. Monitoring engineer Natalie Jones passed her HNC building studies at the University of Wolverhampton, bridges engineer Jinliang Zhu achieved a merit for his MSc in construction management from the University of Birmingham, and highways technical assistant Jenni Bridgens passed her NEBOSH construction certificate in health and safety with credit.

ICEing on the cake sgow The Gla d Scotlan f o t s re and we ers mo v o c E sents of the IC re n p io re g It re otland. ous lf of Sc ws, vari than ha 00 fello ,5 d 3 n f a o s te rests gradua the inte a mbers, g e in m f id o v pro grades ck e area, feedba ts in th on and studen ti a rm fo in in rs r e fo rt eadqua conduit n ICE h regions betwee e other th d an n o try. d n n Lo the cou around

Graeme Forsyth’s time within the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) corridors of power is set to continue, having risen to the heady heights of honorary secretary of the Glasgow and west of Scotland regional committee. From his Glasgow base, the water and power business group director has served on the committee since his election in 2005. The exhibition and archive sub-committee also attracted large chunks of his attention, and he ended his three year term as its chairman.

When invited to take on the role of honorary secretary, Graeme leapt at the chance to influence the institution’s workings from an infinitely more strategic position. A Project Excellence mentor, Graeme also heads up the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s client team. Graeme Forsyth

Senior bridge engineer Mike Green from Swindon gained a credit for the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) national certificate in construction health and safety. It covers managing and controlling hazards in construction activities, as well as the areas required for a competent construction, design and management (CDM) coordinator.

Transportation engineer David Wells is swapping the delights of Halcrow’s York office for the sunnier climes of Australia, having graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with a BSc in railway operational management. Having been sponsored by Halcrow in his studies, David is now based in the Sydney office, helping to develop the rail business, in between sampling the Antipodean delights of Vegemite and Christmas on the beach.

Isam Zaheer from Halcrow’s India team has scooped a ‘gold medal’ for an outstanding performance in his M.Tech structural engineering course at the Aligarh Muslim University. His dissertation on predictions of wind loads earned him an honours degree, presented by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Longbridge Birmingham: Sporting success Development begins... Field of dreams

Life’s a beach t first glance, Glasgow’s unyielding concrete surfaces may not seem an obvious choice of venue for a beach volleyball tournament.


But first impressions often deceive. After truckloads of sand transformed the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre into a passable replica of Copacabana, Halcrow’s team stepped up to do battle in the Urban Beach Tour. With abilities ranging from those who had never set foot on a court to former national league players, nine representatives from Halcrow’s City Park office took on all-comers in the four-a-side competition.

The confidence of Halcrow’s two teams took an early battering on arrival, having discovered that their rivals had enlisted the help of ex-Scotland and UK national players. Proving that experience is no obstacle, Halcrow’s outfit brushed aside any lingering doubts to dig, set and spike its way through the group stage.

Halcrow’s outfit brushed aside any lingering doubts to dig, set and spike its way through the group stage Having faced each other in the opening round, the crew reformed for the semi final bout. After a bruising last-four encounter, the eventual tournament winners triumphed over the City Park battlers.

pa, in Hall i Pap v Elen and Ga ded y n lu o c in th n s r A e an nn ol ru ebvu, Ry Brist The yi Muny a d Ten

They shoot, they score

Hot on their heels Bristol’s streets resounded with the rhythmic thud of 15,000 runners winding their way through the historic city on 14 September. Amongst the throngs of athletes competing in the Bristol Half Marathon were seven uber-fit Halcrow employees, trading their work shoes for trainers to complete the 21km course. They dug deep to finish the route in unseasonably balmy conditions, each raising donations for their chosen charities. 52

Connections Vox | issue one | July 2008

Friendly office rivalries have been transposed to the football pitch, with a Burderop Park (BP) 11 a-side team taking on all-comers over the British summer. The BP outfit triumphed 2-1 over a well organised side from the Reading office before coming up against an Oxford-based House of Fraser team. After 90 action-packed minutes the scores stood at 3-3, with penalties to decide the match. After a nail-biting shootout, BP sent all of its five spot kicks into the back of the net to prevail 5-4. A 6-1 drubbing of a spirited Bristol side capped off a successful season for the BP team, emerging proudly unbeaten from its three encounters.

Urban Beach Tour cessfully The tour has been suc t three years las the r established ove wing sport of to make the rapidly gro accessible to the beach volleyball more British public. the beach to the Tonnes of sand bring courts springing city, with man-made UK. up in towns across the ctacle – elite Alongside the main spe for the coveted athletes fighting it out sessions and ng tour title – kids’ coachi give locals n itio pet a beach fours com join to the chance the fun.

To Tahiti or bust Halcrow’s seafaring Jill Morgan braved the Pacific Ocean’s vast expanse to take part in the revived Los Angeles to Tahiti yacht race.

Jill Morgan

Returning after a 14 year hiatus, the 3,700 nautical mile race surged into action on 22 June. Part of the 15m-long Fortaleza’s hardy crew, Jill encountered a cornucopia of sea creatures. Shoals of giant tuna rammed the hull, while flying fish and squid launched themselves onboard.

King Neptune made a customary appearance as the sloop powered across the equator, and five pollywogs re-emerged as shellbacks. Seventeen days after bidding farewell, Fortaleza’s intrepid crew disembarked at Papeete to regain their land-legs.

The longest day Humble marathons pale into insignificance next to the latest feats of endurance by John Sreeves

A 28 hour, 153km test of stamina saw runners traversing the full stretch of the West Highland Way on 21 June (the UK’s longest day), linking the starting line at Milngavie, Glasgow, with the finishing tape at Fort William. John finished the gruelling race 69th out of a field of 132. This achievement came hot on the heels of a 483km bike ride, with pedal power taking hardy riders through three European capitals in three days.

Beginning in London, the bridge engineer and his fellow participants rode to Harwich, then from the Hook of Holland to Amsterdam before heading to Brussels. John’s two-wheeled adventure and Scottish mega-run raised money for the Mines Advisory Group (www., a humanitarian organisation that clears post-conflict zones of landmines. John will happily accept any retrospective donations – email

Stuart Innes, David Clee, Norman Johnston and Katie Courtnadge

Strapping on their helmets, Halcrow’s Dave McCulloch and his England team-mates stormed to victory in the European Lacrosse Championships.

Four to the fore Forty-four budding Tiger Woods from Halcrow’s Scottish offices teed off on 13 September in pursuit of golfing glory. Callander golf course’s slopes and greens played host to thrilling drives and precision putts from singles handicap winner Stuart Innes and scratch victor Graeme Young, while Kate Courtnadge swept the ladies’ field. The afternoon saw new alliances form in the pairs’ competition. Iain Salisbury claimed first place with partner Stephen McCarron.

Get your motor running With petrol fumes wafting around Dubai’s Al Ain raceway and the squeal of tyres on tarmac providing an appropriate soundtrack, 30 teams screamed towards the chequered flag in the EMC Summer Karting Challenge. Racing under the moniker ‘Roadkill’, Halcrow’s Colin Morris and Fadi Azzam sped to second place in the endurance event, organised by Evolve Motor Club. A four hour final came hot on the heels of six hours of solid racing, broken into three heats. Roadkill finished the event on 85 points – a bumper’s width behind the winning team. Colin and Fadi on the podium

Nessie takes centre stage in Monster Challenge Four hardy Halcrow employees took on the Monster Challenge – a mammoth 120km test of endurance circumnavigating Loch Ness – on 13 September. Representing the Glasgow office, Kyle Wilson, Brian McCrear, Mark Welsh and Scott McMillan completed the gruelling run and cycle combination in a respectable time of 7 hours 53 minutes, finishing 78th in a field of 185 – well ahead of the stragglers, who limped home 11 hours after the start gun.

Hawks kick Hustlers into touch Braving a tropical downpour, Halcrow’s Edinburgh and Glasgow counterparts did battle for the unofficial title of Scottish Touch Rugby Champions on 31 July.

Lahti, Finland, reverberated with the sound of clashing sticks and body checks between 6-16 August, as 18 well-drilled teams competed for the title. The English men’s team blitzed the field in the group stages, trouncing Switzerland 40-0 to open their account. Wins against Ireland, Latvia, Spain and Wales followed as England topped group A. England surged past Finland and Sweden in the next rounds to book its place in the final against the Netherlands, which it won 14-4.

Office pride and bragging rights were at stake when the Halcrow Hawks, hailing from Glasgow’s City Park, faced off against the home team – Edinburgh’s Hustlers. With the game tied three-all and eight minutes left on the clock, Glasgow’s secret weapon and the slowest winger in modern rugby – Keith Bodel – made a barnstorming charge for the try line from 1m out, diving to the end zone for his first try of the summer campaign. The Hawks capped off an impressive

Hawks and Hustle

rs maintain their

friendly rivalry

display with an additional try, Glasgow ending the match triumphant at 5-3. Players and supporters adjourned to the welcome shelter of the Cumberland to relive the match highlights, celebrate and commiserate. Light refreshments preceded tales of Keith’s try and how he ran the length of the park to score.

Dave basks in well-deserved glory

Star (la)crossed in Finland

Wedding wishes Longbridge Birmingham: Development Tying the knotbegins...








1) Lucy Bishop (nee Harris) from Swindon married Simon on 24 May 2008 in Dorset. They started their married life by touring the west coast of the United States and relaxing in Hawaii. 2) Gill Bright, training manager for the consulting business group, and Ian Ross jetted off to Venice to get married on 12 July 2008 after 20 happy years together.

3) Ludmila Fadejeva from Halcrow’s Riga office married Vasily Postnov on 5 July 2008 amidst family and friends. 4) On a sunny 5 July 2008, Amanda King became Mrs Harris when she wed Martyn in a ceremony held at the Aerodrome Hotel in Purley. The couple then jetted off to the Seychelles and Dubai on honeymoon. 5) James Hawthorne, associate director at the Reading office, was showered with petals after marrying his beloved Alida Casey on 15 August 2008.


Connections Vox | issue one | July 2008


6) Christopher Hoskin and Amy Carolan were joined in matrimony at the King’s School Chapel at North Parramatta, Australia, on 16 August 2008. 7) Helen Jackman from the Worcester office married Stuart Vale in a ceremony on 23 August at St Stephen’s Church, Worcester. The happy couple honeymooned in Hawaii and the US. 8) Kate Knight of Inverness married Andy Courtnadge, a fellow engineer, on 24 May 2008. The sun was out as they left St Mary’s church in Monmouth to celebrate with their guests.






9) Julia Krohn from London’s Vineyard House office married Kushan Nammuni in a traditional ceremony complete with three Halcrow bridesmaids, dancers and a dressed elephant. They tied the knot in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 8 August 2008. 10) On 16 August 2008, London’s Anna Mann wed Ben Fowler at a chateau near Paris, France. Their son, Orlando, muscled in on the action as they made their vows in a sunny courtyard before a French mayor and a large Anglo-American contingent.

11) Paul Mulvany of Halcrow’s Crawley office married Yuliana Huseynova on 11 April 2008. After tying the knot in the English seaside town of Brighton, the honeymooners enjoyed a trip to idyllic Borneo. 12) Paul Reid of Edinburgh’s Performance Audit Group married Donna on 29 August 2008 at Luss Parish Church.


13) Vijesh Sequeira, from the Dubai office, and Lavina Britto were surrounded by family and friends when they celebrated their engagement on 18 August 2008. 14) Jim Westcott and Laurina tied the knot on 29 August 2008 at Linlithgow Palace. Jim is a member of Edinburgh’s Performance Audit Group.

Baby boom Birmingham: Longbridge Development New arrivals begins...








1) Dinesh Ahuja from India and his wife, Pooja, celebrated the birth of their second son – Shubham – on 31 July 2008. He tipped the scales at 2.93kg. 2) Swati Garg, from the Delhi office, and his wife, Priyank, are the proud parents of baby Arnika, who celebrated her first birthday on 28 November 2007.


Connections Vox | issue one | July 2008

3) ‘Busy little man’ Finlay Thomas Baines was born on 25 March 2008 to Andy and Julie in Winchester, weighing 3.2kg. 4) Bilal Mahmood and his wife, Ambreen, were delighted to welcome a baby girl into the world on 28 August 2008. Little Ayesha Bilal was born in Islamabad, Pakistan, weighing 2.4kg. 5) Isaac was born to Exeter’s Richard Brooks and his wife, Rebecca, on 17 August 2008, weighing 3.8kg.

6) James Dudfield from Birmingham and his wife, Ruth, became proud parents to their daughter, Linnea, who arrived in time for tea on 3 March 2008, weighing just over 4kg. 7) Danielle Renee was born on 20 July 2008, weighing 3.13kg, to happy parents Rami Eid of the Halcrow Yolles Toronto office, and his wife, Souheir.

8) Kelvin Foo from Halcrow’s Kuala Lumpur office and his wife, Huiqing, celebrated the birth of their baby girl, Fion, weighing 4kg, on 25 June 2008. 9) Little Sydney Gray was born a healthy 3.6kg on 28 August to ecstatic parents Laura and Steven, who works in Toronto.

10) Vicki Hart recently introduced her new baby, Bethany, born on 1 August 2008, to the Glasgow office. 11) A smiley Chelsea Margaret Kaw was born on 30 June 2008 to proud parents Ednalyn and Alexander, from the Dubai office.

13) Matthew Powell was born to Marc and Laura on 20 June 2008 in Reading. His sister, Ella, found his 3.1kg to be ideal to cuddle up with. 14) Andy Wallace, from the Bristol team, and his wife, Jo, are the happy parents of baby Isla, born on 17 June 2008 and weighing just about 3.5kg.

12) Trent Miller from the Las Vegas office and his wife, Krista, are still rejoicing after the birth of their son, Christian Trent. He arrived on 19 August 2008, weighing 3.7kg.

15) Susan Teoh from the Kuala Lumpur office and her husband, Sam Lee, celebrated the birth of their baby girl, Zoe Lee Yeau, on 3 March 2007.

8 9




12 14


Out of officeBirmingham: Longbridge A day in the life Development begins...

When he isn’t working as part of Halcrow’s nuclear environmental team, Jon Dolphin’s activities are rather more challenging than a game of footie or a night in front of the television.

Life in the

terror zone

Tackling the Taliban in Afghanistan’s deadliest region n October last year, the 29-year-old environmental consultant swapped his Warrington desk for the hellish heat of Helmand province – Afghanistan’s bloodiest and most dangerous region.


Before his call-up papers arrived, Jon had spent six years in the British Territorial Army (TA) – successfully ‘passing out’ of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in 2004. He then completed his training as a specialist infantry officer and then as a demolition officer and assault pioneer – the latter being the engineers of the infantry.

between the UK and Afghan national armies which had left the base uninhabitable. Jon’s platoon spent Christmas Day filling sandbags to provide some protection against attack. He patrolled the countryside, talking to locals through an interpreter and finding numerous signs of the Taliban. “We had a couple of close shaves with road side bombs,” he remembers. “One device was unfortunately triggered by a local on his tractor. Hearing the explosion from some distance away, we were able to save his life, but he was badly injured.”

“The only comfort left is in comradeship, confidence in your own abilities and a sense of moral courage to do the right thing” “On mobilisation, I joined a 146-strong infantry company of both regular and TA soldiers,” Jon explains. “I commanded a platoon of 31 soldiers, with a secondary role as media escort which provided some interesting moments.”

During his six month tour of duty, there were 12 fatalities. “I was in Camp Bastion for one of the repatriation ceremonies,” said Jon. “The memory of the coffin, covered by the Union Jack, being carried onto a C130 Hercules plane will stay with me forever.”

The company was deployed to Afghanistan in October 2007, and the platoons were soon dispatched to patrol bases in the notorious ‘green zone’ and forward operating bases (FOBs) around the province.

In one violent example of the Taliban response to British workers assisting the Afghan government to rebuild infrastructure in the city, a local man was found beheaded. The £3.50-a-day construction worker had been warned by the Taliban to stop working on one of the development schemes and had refused. “The Taliban are a pretty nasty bunch and in many cases the only way they can control the local population is through fear,” says Jon.

On Christmas Eve, Jon’s platoon was sent to FOB Edinburgh on the outskirts of Musa Qalah, a city in the north of Helmand. Days before they arrived, the city had been retaken from Taliban control in a joint operation


Connections Vox | issue one | July 2008

Local Mullahs – religious leaders – showed Jon threatening letters that had been nailed to the doors of mosques by the Taliban, warning locals not to assist the British. “It’s a difficult situation out there,” Jon explains. “Although the locals see improvements to their quality of life as a result of our intervention, it’s a daily struggle for them. Without going deep into the reasons why we’re in Afghanistan, I think we need to be there. I saw and did things so far out of my usual comfort zone that the only comfort left is in comradeship, confidence in your own abilities and a sense of moral courage to do the right thing.” Escorting BBC and ITN news teams and journalists around the province was a risky proposition. “On one occasion, I took a journalist on a battle group clearance operation, riding in the back of a Warrior armoured personnel carrier (APC). During the mission, the APC in front was blown up by a mine, and we were shot at with air burst rocket propelled grenades,” says Jon. Returning to work after seeing action was an understandably strange experience. “My colleagues have been very supportive,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve changed much, but my time in Afghanistan has certainly made me realise what’s important in life.”

Who do you admire the most?

If you think one of your colleagues exemplifies Halcrow’s values, put them forward for the employee recognition scheme. It’s universal – anyone can nominate, and everyone’s eligible.

Our values Live them. Share them. Celebrate those who personify them. • Bring imagination to all you do • Deliver on our commitments • Advance your skills and experience • Enjoy what you do

Halcrow employee recognition scheme – coming soon!

What would you do with £10,000?

Help Halcrow discover the hottest talent, find your friends new jobs, and earn yourself some extra cash in the process. If you’re a permanent, UK-based Halcrow employee, take part in the revised candidate referral scheme and you could be sunning yourself in the Caribbean. Payments range from £500 for grades one to three to £5,000 for grade nine and above. These amounts will double for ‘hot’ jobs – especially hard-to-recruit positions – leaving you plenty of spending money.

Bon voyage – and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Further information • Visit Halnet under support services/personnel/vacancies and recruitment/UK candidate referral • For information on referral schemes outside the UK, contact regional human resources teams

Vox - December 2008  

Meaning ‘voice’ in Latin, Vox is your place to champion successes and achievements. It’s the forum for business groups, regions and manageme...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you