On 29th June, our Offsite Manufacturing & Technology Group Meeting took place. Infrastructure projects are providing some excellent examples of implementing MMC. We heard from Robin Lapish at HS2 and the Tilbury Douglas and Wood Group team about how they delivered the Award Winning Wolsingham Sewage Treatment works.
Here are some of the key factors:
Scale & Longevity – HS2 has both the scale and the longevity to push MMC solutions. Phase 2 in particular, has tremendous scope to transfer learning from Phase 1 to Phase 2a and Phase 2b. In Phase 1, MMC approaches emerged organically from the supply side driving innovation and solving specific challenges. For the next phase, there will be a more structured approach from the client side to drive MMC approaches, building on this success.
The Sewage Treatment works is a highly replicable asset, and the Tilbury Douglas team will replicate this approach across all of their water treatment projects, with three projects currently underway with Yorkshire Water.
Efficiency – There is also a key challenge around efficiency and the need to drive efficiency into the project – this is exacerbated by labour and materials prices and supply issues. MMC presents a great opportunity to deliver that efficiency. The Wolsingham project was the initial version of this approach to water treatment works and still managed to deliver four months ahead of schedule, a £650K saving to the client and a 47% reduction in person hours on site.
Health, Safety & Wellbeing– reduction in working at height and removal of the requirement for operatives working in hazardous environments are key drivers for the infrastructure sector. On HS2 electric plant is providing a better working environment. Operatives report that the preference to use electric cranes due to less vibration and greater accuracy offers a better user experience.
Minimise Disruption – disruption to the community, environment and economy can be significant due to the size and scale of infrastructure projects. On HS2, using MMC on the Colne Valley Viaduct reduces the time and disruption to the sensitive environment. The box slide bridge over the M42 minimises the length of road closures required on this important economic asset. The use of pre-cast concrete modules on Green Tunnels minimises the amount of enabling works required, benefiting local communities and the natural environment – this avoids the need to create a separate access road.
Quality – driving quality is a crucial benefit. The approach to the pumping station at Wolsingham meant that pumps could be installed and tested off-site, taking the time required on-site down from 35 days to one day and avoiding programme delays if M&E components aren’t working correctly.
Client leadership – client leadership is needed to drive standardisation. The buy-in and cooperation of the client on the Wolsingham project were critical to the success. On HS2, the client intends to take a more directional approach to MMC to enable the exploitation of the innovation in Phase 1. Ultimately the client benefits from consistency across their asset base and repeatability.