Three minute insights:
The constant quest for environmental excellence, led by our sustainability team, helped to drive innovation and create value for the client and community.”
Stephen Flanagan, group head of excellence
Excellence means being the best we can be for our clients, their customers and society.
Our culture and systems for excellence involve learning from every project and sharing and applying knowledge within and between disciplines. We grasp every opportunity for innovation to improve what we do and how we do it; our innovation process is industry-recognised and used by clients to support and scale innovation within their own organisations.
Our commitment to excellence is demonstrated in our projects. Here is a taste of how we were excellent in 2022.
Kidston renewable energy hub, Australia
We have harnessed global technical expertise and digital innovation at Kidston in north Queensland, to design and support delivery of a renewable energy hub at the site of a former goldmine. The mine pits are being converted into the upper and lower reservoirs for a 250MW pumped hydropower storage facility that will capture surplus energy from solar and wind energy generation at the site, then release it to the grid when demand outstrips supply. Construction got under way in November 2022.
Our project team refined the scheme design, which would have involved excavating one of the two reservoirs, rather than using the existing second pit. We also saw that the required performance could be achieved with a smaller pump-turbine than originally proposed, which significantly reduced civil engineering and equipment procurement costs. We created a digital twin of the project to visualise its carbon footprint. Combining carbon data and pricing with 3D design enabled informed decisions to be made about design development and delivery.
Thames Tideway, UK
Thames Tideway is the largest project underway in the UK water industry, with few others worldwide that match its size and complexity. The 25km-long tunnel will prevent overflow sewage from London’s 150-year-old sewers from polluting the River Thames. We’ve been involved since 2015 as designer for contracting joint venture Costain-Vinci-Bachy, which is delivering the east section – 5.5km of main tunnel and a 4.6km connecting tunnel, plus five large shafts.
The new super-sewer connects with a complex network of existing sewers, involving the design and delivery of interception chambers and shafts. Our multidisciplinary has drawn on technical expertise from across the Group to meet the project’s long-term performance requirements sustainably. Innovative design and construction have cut the quantity of concrete needed by a fifth – equating to an embodied carbon saving of about 4500t.
One of our many contributions was at Greenwich, in east London, where our design has enabled a connection into the side of a 10m-deep sewer chamber that was built more than a century ago. With only patchy archive records available, the key to success was digital coordination. We used 3D scans to create a virtual model of the existing chamber. We developed a digital design model showing how the new infrastructure would connect with the old, and how to strengthen the existing chamber while keeping it in operation.
Thames Tideway is due for completion in 2025.
Assam cancer hospitals, India
To dramatically improve cancer care in Assam, which is counted among the poorest states in India, we have helped deliver the maximum benefits from the available budget in the building of a series of life changing hospitals.
We led the master planning and project design, starting with the identification of the right locations for the new hospitals. Our work also included standardising designs to make them replicable and cost effective, with a template which included procurement and modern building methods that cut contractor costs by 20%. Meanwhile, our designs for isolated base foundations provided protection in a seismically active area and cut both cost and carbon by reducing reinforcement requirements by up to 20%.
The first hospitals opened in 2021. In 2022 we were appointed to build on and refine our successes with design work for a further seven hospitals.
Musaimeer Pumping Station and Outfall, Qatar
Lying 15m beneath the seabed, the 10.2km Musaimeer Pumping Station and Outfall Tunnel (MPSO) in Doha will prevent flood damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure by discharging ground and surface water offshore through the longest tunnel for this purpose in the world.
To meet the programme’s ambitious schedule, the riser shaft of the diffuser had to be constructed offshore before the tunnel boring machine had finished work on the outfall tunnel. The riser was constructed by drilling through limestone strata riddled with fissures, cavities and pockets of loose material. It was essential that the riser shaft was dry, to enable safe connection with the tunnel. We carried out design review to assure that the complex drilling and riser construction process was completed without water leakage. Our design advice was also critical in ensuring that the tunnel remained aligned throughout its 10.2km journey, so that it arrived exactly on target at its intended point of connection with the diffuser.
The constant quest for environmental excellence, led by our sustainability team, helped to drive innovation and create value for the client and community. All of the excavation spoil – a total of 506,589t – was reused for a regional coastal reclamation project with a total cost saving of QAR11.25M (US$3.1M) for client the Al Khor Municipality. In 2022 the project won a coveted CEEQUAL award for its environmental and sustainability performance.
Bay Area Rapid Transit – Silicon Valley Extension Phase II, US
The San Francisco Bay area’s 1.7M residents are getting better connected to the rapid transit metro system, thanks to the Silicon Valley Extension. Having completed the first phase, we are now – in joint venture – designing the $9.3bn Phase II. Comprising 10km of line and three stations, this section is almost entirely underground and features the third biggest single bored tunnel ever built. The construction contract was awarded in 2022.
Underground transit systems are traditionally built using twin bore running tunnels, with cut and cover for stations. But that would have been unacceptably disruptive in busy downtown San Jose. We developed alternative options including for construction of a single 14.6m diameter tunnel, capable of accommodating both tracks side by side, between and at stations. This solution is more efficient to construct – and reduces the footprint required for construction of each of the link’s stations.
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