Nuclear Theme Group meeting 11th March

Constructing Excellence

We had an interesting session at the Nuclear Theme Group meeting on 11 March, with a number of very informative presentations, followed by some lively discussion and debate. Our first speaker was Philip Isgar from Sunbeam Management Solutions on ‘Building Information Modelling & Data Management Nuclear Strategy – An alignment between Client and the Supply Chain’. He laid out how early collaboration (between the client and supply chain) is essential for the successful full implementation of BIM to Level 2 by 2016, as mandated in the Government Construction Strategy. Furthermore, we need to make the business case for BIM and show the benefits to encourage further uptake!

Following on from this was Maxine Symington from Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, who gave a presentation on ‘Collaborative Contracting Structures’. Maxine highlighted how Partnering / Alliancing requires long term commitment from the parties involved. For it to work, trust, common goals and mutual understanding of each other’s expectations is key. Setting up an integrated and co-located team, with jointly developed procedures and standards helps to create a ‘one-team’ culture.  This also facilitates the opportunity for exchange of best practice information and lessons (to be) learned.

Next up was Gareth Mills, who talked about ‘Developing High Performance Teams’. Gareth outlined how, when it comes to teamwork tracking performance is rare, with little understanding of how the team is performing against its targets. Often teams are competing rather than collaborating, leading to underperformance and missed opportunities. Gareth has created a system to measure team performance, which highlights areas where work is required and interventions and coaching are provided to address this. Gareth again talked about the importance of trust, and further highlighted how good leadership is essential for success. Gareth also ran a mini survey of the group, and initial findings showed a very healthy viewpoint!

John Pelton from CH2M Hill gave a presentation on ‘Crossrail: Innovation through Collaboration’. They have set-up the ‘Crossrail Innovation Programme’ (Crossrail Innovation Strategy), developing a strategy and a process for developing and managing innovation within and beyond the life of the project. Crossrail have made a big investment, with dedicated people out on site, pushing innovation and drawing it out from the workers. To date, 10% of workers have used the system and it is proving a great success, with innovations put forward being turned around and used on the project. This highlights how there is a strong link between innovation and performance.

Chris Savage from the Nuclear Industry Association gave an update of the UK Nuclear Market, and surmised that projects are progressing well. The new build programme poses a big challenge, and will require a huge increase in workers (over 4,000 per year) as it progresses. In UK we have public opinion on side and political support in place. Future priorities include investment stability; decommissioning; dealing with the plutonium stockpile; education, skills & employment

Finally, Charlie Bray from the Nuclear Skills Academy Nuclear gave us an overview of the NS4P Competency Framework System, see it for yourself at