Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Energy and Infrastructure

The Challenge

To install 1.3km of pipes for an 18 km district heating network in and around Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke-on-Trent City Council is set to play a key role in the UK’s district heat revolution – managing contracts worth more than £32 million over the next four years.

  • The second phase of the work was based on a different procurement strategy (reviewed payment mechanisms and risk balance).
  • The route ran past Staffordshire University, a mosque, a children’s play centre, small local businesses and houses: with the hope of connecting to these in the future.
  • “Probably the highest specified district heating system in Europe”. This is based on the quality of the pipes, thickness of the insulation and the testing/commissioning process.

Key Considerations

  • The impact of temporary road closures, taking into account the health and safety of the workers in completing the works as quickly as possible.
  • Communications to road users.
  • Active stakeholder engagement, incorporating weekly newsletters to retail outlets, and onsite representatives to provide direct contact regarding any discussion points.
  • The provision of value for money. We needed to ensure standards of delivery for the work based on quality, cost and deadlines.

The Experience

Delivery of this project required vision and the ability to overcome key aspects, including:

  • The use of BIM as a collaborative platform, making communication more effective.
  • Constant management and adjustment of the traffic as works progressed up the road, south to north, and away from/towards the retail outlets.
  • A target cost contract: proactive cost management and reporting at a forensic level. This included monthly interim valuations, cash flow forecasting, anticipated final account reporting and the provision of the agreement value of variations promptly.
  • Weekly progress meetings, regular health and safety meetings and commercial review meetings throughout the project’s delivery.
  • A weekly on-site presence to review first-hand any queries raised and overall progress.
  • The replacement of trees along the route.
  • A comprehensive and timely design change management process to respond to the underground conditions and unmapped findings, such as buried services.

The Outcome

  • All stakeholders were happy with our management of the project.
  • Road closures were kept to a minimum, leading to little disruption.
  • Regular accurate cost reporting to Stoke-On-Trent City Council – allowing key decisions to be made in good time.
  • We maintained a good professional working relationship with the contractor.
  • The client recognised that we were responsible for vast improvements in the project’s processes.

Results

  • The delivery of a high spec. district heating network, on time and under budget.
  • This project moves a step closer to the goal of a whole city’s district heating network (DHN).
  • The high quality DHN delivered provides confidence for Stoke-on-Trent City Council in its key role in the UK’s district heat revolution.
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