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Networks Issue No.15

Spring 2014

Harlow Visit Optimise gives a lesson in community relations

Year 4 Target Triumph! Stop press page 3

> intro

View From the Top Developing working relationship pays dividends In this first of a series of interviews, Thames Water head of Network programme delivery Mark Taylor and Optimise contract director Ian Noble look at how the working relationship has developed during AMP5. A series of key developments have contributed to a change in the way JVs Optimise and MGJV have worked for Thames Water – and to the working relationship between the three – during the AMP so far. “When the AMP began we were all learning how to work together,“ recalls Mark Taylor. “We were all finding our feet, with no finalised Capital Delivery Programme in place. I believe we all did particularly well in that first year, with huge changes, setting up new systems and still achieving the outputs.” Ian Noble agrees: “We knew we had to get a good start if we were to get to £524m by the end of the AMP. That Year One delivery achievement was crucial.” But by Year Three changes were required. Ian Noble said; “We all realised that the Thames Water asset management team faced a complex process in deciding which jobs to release to the contractors.”

joint performance meetings were introduced by Thames Water involving both JVs. “Now we have one set of meetings with one group of managers. It’s less fragmented and much more efficient,” said Mark Taylor. Other successful initiatives have included the introduction of joint safety site visits, quarterly workshops, and a highlysuccessful utility management working group that has seen the level of JV service strikes halve within a year. The new approach has worked well, too, for work awarded under Baseload Light. “As we were called to carry out major emergency jobs, there is no doubt that both JVs became much fleeter of foot in our response,” said Ian. That flexible, rapid and joined up response from all involved has been tested, refined and enhanced during a series of challenging events. The 2010 Winter event, the 2012 Olympics, the drought and a number of major leakage events have all stretched the combined team.

“We knew we had to get a good start if we were to get to £524m by the end of the AMP. That Year One delivery achievement was crucial.” Ian Noble, contract director Most recently, the challenge has been the wet weather event. Daily conference calls were held to ensure Capital Delivery resources could be directed where they were most required. The three parties have recorded some remarkable successes and numerous commendations, despite the challenging conditions The change in the working relationship over the period of the AMP to date has been noticeable. Mark Taylor summarises: “It does feel different now. In Year One partner organisations were seeking to work together within their JV. Now it feels to us that we have two JVs that are working well, and that are working well with Thames Water and each other too.”

Programme Optimisation was the result - a new approach, with Optimise and MGJV playing a larger part in helping Thames Water identify the work programme. Mark Taylor said: “We achieved Programme Optimisation jointly between the three parties – Thames Water, Optimise and MGJV – and, crucially, it was the trigger for a new mindset of working much more closely together.” Further initiatives followed, strengthening the working relationship between the three partners. At Thames Water the previouslyseparate roles of head of programme delivery for Thames Valley and for London were combined, while new

Optimise contract dir ector Ian Noble and Tha mes Water head of Network pro gramme delivery Mark Taylor (right).

Front Page: Local schoolchildren visited the Harlow flood alleviation project – full story page 13.


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> health and safety updates

Stop Press End Of Year 4 Success for Capex As they say at the Oscars, to name names risks missing someone out … so thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to achieve or beat ALL Optimise’s Milestone Targets for CAPEX and deliver £102.7m Value of Work Done (VOWD) in Year 4!

• 15.1 Ml/d of leakage reduction achieved to date. • Lead Pipe Replacement : 804 outputs achieved in the year. Year 4 target increased by 1,650 to 6,804 and achieved (just).


Here are the headlines:


• Sewer Flooding: 80 internal flooding outputs achieved (properties removed from the at risk register through company action). Baseline target beaten by 11. • 9 Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), beating the regulatory target by 1.


• 14.2km of VMR mains replaced • 4.0km of DMR mains replaced

Year 4 and 5 performance will be looked at in more detail at a series of briefings after Easter, and in the Summer edition of Networks.



£120.0 £100.0 £80.0 £60.0 £40.0 £20.0 £0.0 YEAR 1




Health & Safety Update Policy statement feeds through to personal objectives Optimise’s ongoing drive to improve health & safety has entered a new phase, with the launch of an updated health & safety policy statement from April onwards. Supporting the policy is a new framework designed to translate that overall policy into a series of corporate and personal objectives for anyone with a responsibility for managing health and safety. These individuals range from a front line team leader through to contract director Ian Noble. Optimise health and safety manager Clare Hamment said: “The business has a series of six overarching commitments arising from the policy, including ensuring that everyone has a safe place to work, has the skills to do their job, understands what is expected of them and has the information and resources they need. “Associated with each of these commitments are a set of objectives which outline how we will achieve

the commitment, which in turn are supported by a set of targets to measure how well we are doing. Some of these objectives are set at a corporate level and some are more personal and linked to a job role.” The new approach was launched at a management meeting in March and is being cascaded down to all concerned.

that people are doing what is expected of them. “The alignment of policy, corporate targets and personal objectives has not been formalised in a joined up manner like this before,” said Clare. Those affected should receive the information in due course - but should contact their manager if they do not.

“All managers will be briefed on the new arrangements to make sure they understand what we are trying to achieve collectively and the role they have helping us to achieve our commitments. All managers will have their own personal objectives which vary depending on job role. It is our intention that progress against targets will be regularly monitored by line managers to ensure

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> health and safety updates

Site Supervisor Training New programme gives OPEX team leaders new skills Site supervisor safety training is being extended across all OPEX teams.

Those attending the training were given an exercise in which they were required to write a risk assessment for a scena rio requiring escalation.

HSEQ manager Nick Gilbert said: “We have made a commitment that every single Optimise job will have a supervisor who is suitably trained in safety matters – no matter how small the team may be. “And with OPEX teams often comprising just two people we have focussed on this part of the business to deliver additional training.” The two day Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) programme is a step up from the one-day safety training which all team leaders already undergo. Around 100 people are being trained in small groups, at two-day sessions. By the end of the course each delegate will have been trained in the main requirements of the relevant legislation and regulations, identified the main causes of accidents on construction sites, understand how to select the correct PPE when carrying

out a task, and know how to carry out a risk assessment. They will also have a much greater awareness of working at height, noise, manual handling, vibration, COSHH, asbestos, PPE, and first aid.

Nick Gilbert said: “This additional training will be vital in filling a gap in our supervisors’ safety awareness. The feedback from our Team Leaders so far has been brilliant.”

“This additional training will be vital in filling a gap in our supervisors’ safety awareness. The feedback from our Team Leaders so far has been brilliant.” HSEQ manager Nick Gilbert


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> health and safety updates

Zero Compromise Search is on for card use success

Martin Baggs, chief executive officer, Thames Water launched the zero compromise card at the Health and Safety Conference on 14 March 2013. Everyone working for Thames Water should have a copy of the card. The cards have a clear statement direct from Martin Baggs encouraging you to stop work if something is unsafe and assist in putting it right.

been used. That could be a reminder to yourself not to compromise your safety in a particular situation, or a time where you had to use it to remind someone else not to act unsafely. If you have any such examples, please contact Erica Fairhurst on 07939 947745 and we’ll pass on your experiences to Thames Water.

One year on, Thames Water is looking for examples of where the cards have

Best Near Miss Winner SDAC team wins award The award for the Best Near Miss Winner for October to December has been given for the first time to a whole team. In October, Adrian Bell was working on the SDAC project in East London when he spotted that the manhole they were scheduled to work on was located beneath some scaffolding, with operatives working overhead on a non-Optimise contract.

Adrian was not satisfied that the operatives on the scaffold were working safely and so decided to abort the work and return when conditions were safer. Adrian is now working on another contract but his actions reflect an excellent approach and it was decided to make the award to the entire team.

The winner of the randomly drawn Near Miss Winner for October to December 2013 was Owen Dennehy working on the Capex NL Lee Valley Reservoirs contracts. Owen also wins £50 in gift vouchers. Owen is seen below being presented with the vouchers by site manager Asiri Bamunu Arachchi (left of picture).

Charles Collings (SDAC planner, bottom left) presented the award of £50 in gift vouchers to the team at the Red House.

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> Spotlight

Innovations Networks takes a look at the projects entered by Optimise in the Innovation of the Year category of this year’s Thames Water Health & Safety awards. Aquaspira Optimise submitted a nomination for its implementation of an innovative Aquaspira pipeline for reservoir drawdown pipework at Hampton Sunnyside reservoir.

Jon said: “Apart from the clear health and safety benefits of reduced excavations and easier handling, the installation will be more efficient and provide significant cost savings against the original design.” The pro-active approach from Optimise and collaboration with Thames Water has allowed Optimise to introduce a new pipeline product to the supply chain.

5km potable water transfer main at Woods Farm, where its use created an estimated time saving of 125 hours.

SCADA Tablet Optimise submitted an entry for its use of new technology to manage safety at sole site visits on the SCADA programme.

Civil design engineer Rob Hearne added: “With the type of contracts Optimise is engaging in the emphasis is on us to promote innovation and build a sound case to present to the client for seeking alternative solutions.

Polyhorse When tasked with the project to re-instate disused pipes underneath the site access road adjacent to the reservoir and install a new section of pipework to make the final connection to the previous intake structure, Optimise altered the design in a number of ways to improve the health and safety aspects, as well as cost and constructability. Optimise collaborated with a new supplier - Aquaspira, a supplier of large diameter steel reinforced PE pipework which is significantly lighter than steel or concrete and is installed using a simple push-fit socket making for a faster, safer installation. Steel pipe would have required site welding and then recoating using epoxy based paint. Design team leader Jon Tong said: “This type of material had not previously been used by Thames Water and is typically used for wastewater and storm water drainage schemes. The supplier was introduced to Optimise via one of our regular lunchtime briefing sessions offered to Optimise, Black & Veatch and Thames Water staff.” The Optimise design team worked closely with Thames Water assurance teams to review alternatives and subsequently approve the Aquaspira product for use on the reservoir project.


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Optimise entered a submission relating to the PolyHorse, a simple pipe magazine that provides a new way of handling large diameter pipes entering a pipe fusion cradle.

Optimise and sub-contractor JRP are tasked with delivering upgrades to the electronic controls on remote sewage pumping stations. Technicians need to familiarise themselves quickly and accurately with information in the HSI14 pack (Thames Water’s document for sharing site specific safety information) and view up to date risk assessments and method statements. However there were difficulties in accessing the information required within the 100 page documents.

The PolyHorse dramatically reduces the number of excavator or crane lifts required to move heavy cumbersome large diameter pipes into place for fusion. Using traditional methods, welding 100 metres of 355mm diameter pipe would require 17 lifts, requiring an appropriately-sized excavator or crane to be available for the whole day. Using the PolyHorse, only one lift is required to place the 17 pipes on the PolyHorse, taking 20 minutes. The PolyHorse was used for the first time by Optimise on the new

The sheer volume of paper, the confusion caused by the completion of different forms, the risk of lost forms and the problems of rain-damaged paperwork were all significant. The introduction of SCADA electronic tablets has allowed easier management of current safety information both in the office and on site. It has helped to reinforce and integrate safety in the technicians’ minds as part of ‘how we do business’, rather than being seen as an additional exercise with separate paperwork. As the tablets are updated overnight, a technician visiting a site the day after can be confident that the latest information is available.

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> Spotlight

OPEX Update New forum to drive health & safety agenda The OPEX programme has recently introduced a new joint health and safety forum for Thames Valley and South London R&M. Chaired by senior contracts manager Alan Marshall and health and safety performance manager John Anthoney, the forum is also attended by area managers and a range of construction support staff. Alan Marshall said: “The idea of the meeting is to take away actions, resolve them and report back at the next meeting, as well as to communicate all information gathered to all members of staff and teams.”

determine root causes and identify any short falls in competence, equipment, training, and utility plans and to also to ensure that the correct processes that are in place have been followed.” Team members Carl Parker and Leigh Goode were involved in a recent conference call, and were also invited along to the forum meeting. They said they felt the conference call was a positive thing which had improved their understanding. Not only did it highlight the shortfalls but they also felt the commitment from the managers and understood their vision for making the job safer.

In other OPEX news * The use of CAT4 sensors has now been extended into Thames Valley too as part of the programme to reduce service strikes. *The OPEX Ambassador Training programme was a finalist in the UK Customer Experience Awards 2013. The team, which included performance manager Nikki Leeder, had to present to a judging panel – an experience Nikki described as “nerve wracking but a good experience”.

A different gang is invited to attend each forum meeting and feedback is that most have seen it as a positive experience. One of the initiatives that arose from the first meeting of the forum was the introduction of conference calls within 24 hours of anyone hitting an electricity cable. The conference call is hosted by John Anthoney and a wide range of managers and supervisors – as well as the team involved – are invited to take part. Alan Marshall said; “The purpose of the call is for all parties to understand and

The new OPEX R&M joint health and safety forum in session.

Triple Thanks at OPEX What a day as commendations pour in It’s always nice to receive praise for a job well done but it can be a tough job winning thanks from residents whose daily schedule is inevitably upset by the arrival on their doorstep of an Optimise OPEX team. So there was triple cause for celebration recently when teams received three commendations on the same day. South London subcontract team Jason Green and Tony Gore received an email compliment which read: “We recently had a major water leak outside our house which cut off our water supply. Your guys, the ‘Jay Green Team’, as they

called themselves, worked from 8pm until 2.30am in the morning to fix it. And they did. “We offer our gratitude and sincere thanks for their efforts. Please buy them drinks. Good job guys.” Thames Valley direct team Rob Hinchcliffe and Andrew Kirby received series of tweets complimenting them on their work, including “What a great job you are doing outside my house. Thank you”, followed later by “Water outside my house gone, path and road swept . Lovely job”.

Customers will choose Thames Water because of our performance

Thirdly, South London Direct team Jim Monaghan and David Cronin received an email which read: “Thank you for organising the reinstatement of my driveway. Yesterday morning, your manager Kevin and two wonderful workmen arrived (albeit a little later than expected) and proceeded to re-lay our paving blocks and re-align the drain new cover. “The two workers were a delight and as I was about to discover, were truly skilled and professional in their work ethic and the way they carried out what looks to be a fine job.”

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> Spotlight

Thames Water Health & Safety Awards Service Strike Reduction

The annual Thames Water Health and Safety Awards are an important milestone in the calendar. As well as giving awards and recognition to projects and initiatives, they also highlight best practice across the health and safety sector. Here, Networks showcases some of the submissions made for this year’s award s by Optimise.

The Optimise success in reducing the number of service strikes was spelled out in a submission for the Best Health and Safety Achievement category. By involving everyone at Optimise, the number of service strikes was reduced by 48 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012. A variety of techniques were used to achieve the reduction, including the use of ‘Smart’ cable avoidance tools (CATs) and an innovative approach to

Aerial view of Shirland Road

Maida Vale

‘Best category for entry in the an d te it e bm th am su work to keep le project te ion’ for its at or The Maida Va ab ll co . fety Shirland Road health and sa junction at practice in d busy road an x le mp co nt at a ways departme public safe thority high ep and local au de am e te tr me on ti 10 , s, construc tre diameter The designer tion, truct a 5 me way road junc ree and cons 6ag x , le gn mp si co de e th in th worked to wi cham bers ve connecting shaft and fi oroughfare. th in ing the ma g a site without clos ted, includin ger were implemen s on ti va no nd” Guided Au in e of the “Bli construction us of e th er , mb rs nu A crash barrie c signals. incorporated 4-way traffi configurable hoarding that y ll fu of e e, and the us Bore techniqu

Lee Valley Embankment Protection

The Lee Valley Embankment Protection Project Team ente red a submission in the Health and Safety in Planning and Design category for its use of Open Stone Asphalt (OSA) in the refurbishment of internal reservoir embankments. OSA reduced the health and safety risks associated with traditional designs. Investigation and tests in the use of Open Stone Asph alt showed many benefits, including ease of installation. The proposal was presented to Thames Water and accepted by the Reservoir Engineers.


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assessing the competence and confidence levels of over 550 people working around services, with follow up action where appropriate. In June, Optimise held stand-downs, attended by over 800 people. Regular monitoring of performance, and the introduction of a conference call within 24 hours of any electrical service strike have also been implemented.

Maida Vale Pumping Station An innovative Flow Control Design has resulted in a safer Pumping Station at Maida Vale, worthy of an award submission in the Health and Safety in Planning and Design category. The use of innovative modelling and design on the Maida Vale Flood Alleviation Scheme has enabled the reduction in scope of a new pumping station and a consequent reduction in maintenance over the asset lifetime. A 2-way throttle pipe design reduces calculated pump operating hours by 99 per cent and removes the requirement for carriageway maintenance.

SCADA Forum Collaboration The SCADA Forum was submitted as an entry in the Best Practice in Health and Safety Collaboration category. The Forum brings together the directors and safety managers of each contractor and aims to make sure that HSLT initiatives are taken forward across the entire SCADA framework The creation of a Charter was a landmark, and other headline achievements have included better reporting of unsafe conditions at remote pumping stations, increased near misses reporting, a separate portal for SCADA on Safeguard, and improvements in lone working processes. Interactive workshops at forum meetings have helped to identify priority areas for action.

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> Spotlight

Tunnel Re-lining Performance In the category of ‘Excellence in Health and Safety Performance’, Optimise submitted details of its £9.6m project to re-line the Queen Mother and Wraysbury Outlet Tunnels. The team has developed new safety procedures for confined space working and pumping, and embarked upon a programme to create minimum surface disruption and disturbance to the local community. Successes have included over 162,000 incident-free hours worked to date; the highest Considerate Constructor Scheme score ever achieved by JV partner Barhale - 45 out of 50; and 100 per cent audit scores from Thames Water.

Thames Valley CAPEX In the category of ‘Excellence in Health and Safety Performance’, Optimise submitted details of how the CAPEX Thames Valley Contract has maintained an industry-leading health and safety performance in AMP5, due to the topto-bottom commitment of all personnel. The Contract has delivered 1.62 million hours since the beginning of the AMP contract in March 2010 without a RIDDOR Incident. That performance begins with the priorities of the management team which has health and safety as the first item at every performance meeting. Other techniques have included the implementation of behavioural safety training backed by a series of engaging information posters, the enthusiastic adoption of the zero compromise cards, and an extremely positive approach to Near Miss reporting where there have been 3142 reports submitted to the end of 2013.

Tunnel Re-lining Project The Queen Mother and Wraysbury Tunnel re-lining team submitted an entry in the ‘Best health and safety achievement’ awards category for its focus on health. The tunnel re-lining team looked for simple solutions to support site team health and well-being and introduced a range of health initiatives.

Young Person of the Year

In the category of ‘Young Person the Year’, Optimise nominated section engineer Niall Byrne. The nomination said: “Niall challenges the norm and uses his initiative to drive high health and safety standards on his sites.”


Niall joined Barhale, working within Optimise, in 2012. His first role was site technician in Lea Bridge Road. Since then he has progressed to Junio r Engineer on the Notting Hill Gate Emergency Proje ct and is now a Section Engineer on the Harlow Network Upgrade. He leads by example and supports the site manager and technicians with their duties. Niall’s progress in Optimise has been impressive and he is committed to high standards in everything he does, including health and safety. He has a particular interest in the health of the workf orce and has been involved in encouraging site bike use and organising a charity 5km run in aid of WaterAid.

Temporary Works Collaboration

, Collaboration’ th and Safety actice in Heal Pr d t an es ng ‘B ni of ai Tr ry In the catego mporary Works ogramme of Te erning the pr an entry conc submitted. Awareness was lve eated to reso se team was cr nt of ter and Optimi me Wa ge na es ma am e Th th t r fo A join best practice of s es en ary ar or aw mp e Te issues with th and delivered has organised am te d e an Th f s. af rk st rance Temporary Wo es Water Assu ning for Tham ai tr s es en ar Works aw fety Advisors. Health and Sa ment on standards docu an essential s contractors. so developing it al d is an r am te te Wa e Th es ed across Tham su is be to s temporary work

They included the construction of an outdoor gym for site team use, supporting smokers who want to stop, and encouraging the team to refurbish a local children’s nursery garden.

Swindon STW Network Upgrade Planning & Design In the category of ‘Health and Safety in Planning and Design’, Optimise submitted details of how the Swindon Sewage Treatment Works Network Upgrade team exceeded the requirements of CDM Regulations through consultation with the public and key stakeholders to create a safer

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more constructible and operable solution. The Optimise design team undertook extensive reviews of the preferred Cheney Manor flooding solution, which enabled the the proposed pumping station to be re-located to a more suitable position and removed the need for 300m of sewer in a major highway. The key health and safety benefits included reduced work in a major highway, minimised road closures and conflict with existing services, reduced excavation depths, and safer access during construction and subsequent maintenance.

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Sewer Blocked by Concrete Team digs deep Optimise was called in to replace 65 metres of pipe after an unknown contractor poured concrete into a sewer in Shoreditch. The team, called in to deal with a blocked sewer, discovered that the set concrete was completely blocking the 375mm diameter pipe in Wenlock Road, north of the City of London. Optimise site agent Mark McGeady said: “We had to dig down 5m in the middle of the busy road to get to the sewer, and to add to our difficulties, discovered it had been laid inside a 1.2m by 1.5m brick culvert.” With overpumping and full traffic management in place, the eight-strong team was able to replace the blocked stretch with new concrete pipe. “There are a number of new developments being constructed in the immediate vicinity and one possibility is that one of the construction contractors involved was responsible for the blockage,” said Mark.

A 65 metre stretch of se wer was completely blocked by co ncrete (above) and had to be re placed (right ).

Tunnel Inspections Inspect and clean programme continues The Optimise tunnel inspection programme is set to tackle nine more tunnels during 2014. The eight-man team recently completed a 4km stretch of the Thames Water Ring Main tunnel – which provides drinking water to millions of Londoners – between Kew and Barnes.

Water carrying out structural integrity assessments. “During cleaning we remove a lot of silt, debris and freshwater mussels from the raw water tunnels,” said Steve.

“Progress on the programme is fairly good at present, although we are always dependent upon Thames Water being able to arrange the outages we need.”

“During the remainder of the year our targets are all raw water tunnels between reservoirs and water treatment works,” said general foreman Steve Best. In each case the programme requires Optimise to isolate, drain, inspect, clean and prepare the inside of the tunnels and mains, and undertake minor repairs, in advance of Thames


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Chlorine Dosing Ring in Kew to Barnes Tunnel

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> Projects

Queens Road Reading Flood project under way in town centre Optimise is undertaking a flood alleviation project in the busy centre of Reading. In all, five properties will be removed from the Thames Water Sewer History Flooding Database (SFHD), with the construction programme taking place at three separate locations in the town. In the first phase, FLIPS pumping stations will be installed in chambers at the front of a Georgian Terrace in Queens Road offering protection to four properties, and control panels installed within three of the affected properties, to prevent basements from flooding. Site engineer Sumit Chawla said: “A small gravity sewer diversion will also be constructed and part of the existing sewerage network that currently flows into Queens Road will be diverted through 50 metres of pipe to an existing foul manhole in Sidmouth Street.” The third phase of the programme requires the construction of an underground storage tank - split into two sections - and a small package pumping station in the rear garden of the 17th Century Watlington House, in nearby South Street.

carrying out continuous flight-augered piling in the corner of the gardens. Sumit Chawla said: “This will enable us to create the secant-piled wall up to 11m deep that will form the external perimeter. An excavation will then create the inner space to accommodate the storage tanks and an innovative wet well package pump station. “However it’s an extremely congested compound and working area, surrounded on three sides by Grade II listed stone walls.” The existing sewerage system serving flood risk properties at The Grove and other nearby properties will be redirected to this new pumping station via one half of the underground storage tank. The tank serves as emergency storm storage for the pumping station, and is approximately 4600mm wide by 2800mm long by 4000mm deep.

The pumps are specified to pump at 10 litres per second through a short 100mm diameter rising main to a new discharge manhole in The Grove. A new manhole in South Street will house a weir and flap valve arrangement with a single bidirectional sewer to the second section of the underground storage tank - approximately 4600mm wide by 2900mm long and 3000mm deep. This tank will fill during extreme storms as flows reverse from the downstream network. Sumit said: “In all, five properties will be removed from the SFHD. This includes two additional properties not on the brief which will be resolved by the proposed solution.” Mark Yates said: “I am very pleased with the progress made by the whole project team on what has been a particularly tight and challenging programme. This scheme had first been conceived in AMP 3 and until now had not been delivered due to its complexity.”

The building and its garden walls are Grade II listed. Today it is held in trust and provides accommodation for social and educational organisations. The Optimise team has been battling appalling weather conditions while

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Regent Street High profile project presses on Optimise is firmly in the public eye as it replaces a burst main running down the centre of one of the best-known streets in the world A 300m length of 9” main beneath Regent Street in central London is being replaced following a major burst, and Optimise is having to coordinate its activities with Crown Estates contractor West 1 who are remodelling the traffic flows in the street at the same time. Construction manager John Chambers said: “This is a strategic main in the distribution network, and the design team had to carry out complex modelling to establish the most effective way to replace it. “We are using line stops to control the main and limit disruption to the network, while we slip line the new main into place, make all the side

In the public eye…. Optimise teams undertake the high-profile mains replacement in Regent Street.

connections and then reinstate the flows.”

and to minimise inconvenience to stakeholders and the public.

The planning and implementation of the works have to allow for two major adjacent development sites

Work began on site in January and is set to finish in mid-April.

NOS Bridges Signs of the times go on show Users of The Greenway, the permissive footway used by pedestrians and cyclists in east London, are being greeted by signs like these as part of the Optimise programme to investigate and rectify defects on nine bridges on the Northern Outfall Sewer (NOS). The Northern Outfall Sewer generally comprises four parallel barrels, each around 2.7m diameter, and runs from the Thames Water Wick Lane depot to Beckton STW under The Greenway. The signs describe the work of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, one of the great engineers of the Victorian era, to create the NOS after an outbreak of cholera in 1853 and “The Big Stink” of 1858.


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Did you realise y ou are standing on Victorian indu strial heritage? Optimise is working with Thames Wat er to carry out repairs on the Working with us Northern Outfall to help us repair Sewer, which carries the entire and protect thes sewage of north historic sites are e London to Beckton Network Rail, Lon Sewage Treatme don Undergroun nt Works in east Doc klands Light Rail d, London. way, Environmen It was designed t Agency, Can al and Rivers Trus by Sir Joseph t, Lon don Borough of Bazalgette after Newham, London an outbreak of Borough of Tower Cholera in 1853 Hamlets, Crossrail and the and the Great London Legacy Dev Stink of 1858. elopment Corporation. A 7km section of We will be starting wor the Northern k in February 201 Outfall Sewer in expect to finish by 4 and east London March 2015. now forms the Gre enw public footpath rout ay, a e used by pedestrians and cyclists. We will keep the footpath open while we are carrying out this work. The sewer is buil t into the Victoria n bridges, many of which retain thei r original steel and structure. cast iron

Find out more abo ut

the Great Stink at .uk

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> Projects

Kids Visit Harlow Youngsters see shaft construction Local schoolchildren were given the VIP treatment recently when they visited the Optimise sewer flood alleviation project under way in Harlow. Some 30 seven and eight year olds from Fawbert and Barnards Primary School toured the construction site, and also tried their hand at an archaeological dig. Secondary school pupils from the nearby Mark Hall Academy also visited the site, with the two visits following presentations at each school by members of the Optimise team. (Site technician Charles Collis is pictured below with some of the children). Optimise is constructing a new pumping station off Gilden Way in the town to increase the capacity of the sewer network in the area. Site Agent Enda Murphy said: “We are laying two new 250 to 450mm diameter mains – 2.5km of pumped main and 800m of gravity sewer.

The project began on site in September and is due to be completed in April. The Optimise Harlow team also organised a fun run in Harlow which raised around £500 for Water Aid (with donations still coming in). The local Mark Hall Academy donated the use of their running track for the event along with plenty of willing participants. The link with the academy will continue with a football tournament planned to take place between teams from the Optimise Harlow site, the Mark Hall Football Team and a Mark Hall Staff Team.

“Some 30 seven and eight year olds from Fawbert and Barnards Primary School toured the construction site, and also tried their hand at an archaeological dig.”

“We have completed directional drilling in three locations and the work is going well.”

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Orchard Close Ware Narrow site puts the squeeze on flooding scheme Long and narrow – that is the only way to describe the working site for a £850,000 flood alleviation scheme under way at Orchard Close in Ware, Herts. The 300m long site occupies a narrow strip of land between the rear of houses and the Bourne watercourse, where Optimise is replacing an existing five metre deep 225mm clay sewer with new pipe, using auger boring, and adding 140m of box culvert to provide additional online storage. Five manholes are also being constructed. Site engineer Stephen Harrison said: “Work began last September and is set to be complete by April. The ground is 3m of clay then soft chalk beneath and the very wet weather has resulted in some very sticky working conditions.”

Site manager Jacques Deneys added: We are liaising closely with local residents to ensure our work causes minimum disruption, and also assisted the local authority with a fireworks display they held on land near our site compound.” Once work is completed the site will be reinstated to grass, with the playground and paths once again providing a valuable leisure resource for local residents.

Signaller Glen

O’Lear y and sit e engineer Step

hen Harrison

The team resulted to traditional solutions to the muddy conditions, and laid a straw path along the site to enable operatives to move around. Each 2m tall culvert section weighs 5.5 tonnes. Stephen Harrison said: “The programme requires us to lay two per day but when the conditions are right we can beat that.”

We are liaising closely with local residents... and also assisted the local authority with a fireworks display they held on land near our site compound.” Site manager Jacques Deneys

Site foreman Mickey Donnelly with Loretta Phillips of Thames Water


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Customers will choose Thames Water because of our performance

> Innovation

Flask Walk Conservation challenges face mains replacement team For its residents, Flask Walk, off Hampstead High Street, is a pleasant street in which to live and shop. But for the Optimise team working to replace a main there it presents a series of hurdles to be overcome. “It’s in a conservation area with lots of trees, York paving and narrow cobbled streets, and traffic flows are congested, so working in the area poses difficulties,” said John Chambers, construction manager. His team was called in after a burst on an old cast iron water main left a

“It’s in a conservation area... so working in the area poses difficulties,” John Chambers, construction manager

The mains replacement project in Flask Walk included working in a pedestrianised area outside shops.

3m x 3m x 3m void beneath Flask Walk. Work began in early December to repair the leak, and now 500m of the main is being replaced with 125mm PE. “In addition, we are replacing around 100 customer supplies, making around

1500m of pipe to be replaced in all,” said John. Despite the challenges and poor weather the project is on programme, and expected to be completed by mid-April.

Haydon End Go Ahead Swindon flood alleviation to make start Optimise is to undertake a £4.7 million flood alleviation programme in the Taw Hill area of Haydon End, Swindon. Optimise will build two large underground storage tanks and the pipework necessary to connect them, in order to increase the sewer network storage capacity to help

reduce the risk of sewer flooding and to allow for future housing developments in the area. Delivery manager Justin Seely said: “The scheme has two different sites – with a 500m3 tank planned for the Queen Elizabeth Drive North (QED North) and a 1000m3 tank for QED South.

Customers will choose Thames Water because of our performance

“While the two tanks and associated connections do not require planning permission as they will be underground, we will be applying for planning permission for the control kiosks at each site.” The bulk of the work should be completed by Christmas.

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> People

FACE to FACE In this first of a new series of face-to-face features about the way Optimise and Thames Water work together, we take a look at the CAPEX customer communications teams. The three-person Asset Investment Communications Team in Thames Water is headed by communications team manager Lucy Brewster. Among many other duties it is her team’s role to manage customer-facing communications for the capital delivery programme, with Optimise customer experience manager Chris Hoggart and his three colleagues providing the Optimise half of the effort. She said: “We’ve produced the best practice guidelines which defines the communication process and activities to ensure we have a consistent approach with our communications. For Baseload projects Optimise submits a customer risk assessment and completes a tailored communications plan. Our role is to approve this and suggest any amendments or additions. “Also, Thames Water has a great design team which Optimise is able to use where appropriate.” Chris Hoggart said: “Much of the customer consultation is done during the planning phase. We try to get site teams along to the early dropin meetings to enable them to start to build a relationship with local residents.” The communications techniques used are tailored to suit each project’s individual requirements and almost all available options were utilised for the high-profile Maida Vale project currently under way. Stakeholder meetings, hoarding information, newsletters, press releases, social networking, emails, letters, the Thames Water website, Open Door sessions, and SMS text messaging were all brought into play. “The text messaging option is proving effective,” said Chris. “Hundreds of


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people have signed up to receive regular updates to their phones.”

Left to right: Od

essa Cooper, Ch ris Hoggar t, Astrid Bowman and Rachel Gr oves

The early use of Ambassador training for Optimise site team personnel is another important step in achieving good relationships during the construction phase. “We have been giving frontline staff training and support to encourage them to take responsibility for answering queries on site so that customers do not call Thames Water with a complaint. “We also encourage them to go the extra mile for customers and residents,” Chris said. “Optimise is now very much better at getting its customer issues right and the number of written complaints we have received has practically halved each year in recent years. Telephone complaints are also at a much lower level.” Lucy Brewster added: “Our work is all about getting the key messages across to explain why we are in their street – then keeping that information up-todate while always looking at new ways to improve customer service.” Key to the success of the programme is the ability to work together effectively. Lucy Brewster said: “We have a close working relationship with all our contractors and our door is always open. It is a two-way process. “We have a good relationship with Optimise and it feels like they are just another department at Thames Water. We find Optimise very approachable and we enjoy working with them.”

wster , Lucy Bre Chinbuah ie n n A sset A r t: h te Left to rig hames Wa e of the T am . e h te s cG n o M ti a and Lisa communic t n e m st Inve

NETWORKS EDITORIAL & PRODUCTION TEAM EDITORS: Erica Fairhurst, Optimise communications manager, Tel. 01189 251755 Ken Harrison, Tel. 07801 649045 DESIGN & PRODUCTION: Anthony Hughes, MWH, Tel. 01925 845000 Contact Us: If you have any comments or suggestions for the Networks Magazine or would like to contribute, please email Networks is printed on recycled paper

Customers will choose Thames Water because of our performance

Networks Spring 2014  

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