Arup provides support to Glasgow Govanhill Baths' restoration

20 May 2016

The Edwardian Govanhill Baths in Glasgow, the last of the city’s historic baths, was closed in 2001 to the consternation of the local community. In the years that followed, a range of protests against the closure resulted in the formation of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust in 2004. Work has since started on both renovation of the site – with additional amenities including saunas, Turkish baths and a fitness suite - and on creating a new community and art space for Glasgow. Arup and Hall Black Douglas are supporting the site’s redevelopment.

The Edwardian era, between 1901 and 1914, marks a relatively brief period of British culture with its own unique architectural style, fashion, and lifestyle. One of the period’s iconic buildings is the Govanhill Baths. The Baths, and last surviving one in Glasgow, is a grade B listed building that remained functional until 2001. The closure of the Baths by the local council, due to low use and excessively high costs for the needed refurbishment, resulted in significant community activity aiming for a reopening.

The Govanhill Baths Community Trust was set up in 2004 with the aim of organising a sustained campaign to save the Govanhill Baths. The Trust organised more than 325 events to support the refurbishment of the Baths, and, in 2013, the Baths reopened as a community hub. The organisation aimed at reopening the Baths themselves, with the addition of a range of new amenities - including a Turkish suite, theatre venue and an arts space. In 2015, the Trust received a £1.2 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant as an initial investment for the site's renovation.

The Edwardian Govanhill Baths in Glasgow

It was recently announced that Arup has been appointed as part of a design team led by Hall Black Douglas Architects, which has been tasked to refurbish and transform the Govanhill Baths into a community wellbeing centre. Arup will provide structural, mechanical, electrical, and public health (SMEP) engineering services to the Govanhill Baths Community Trust venture, among which the restoration of two of the three baths; the addition of saunas; Turkish baths; and a fitness suite, as well as to create a new community and art space for Glasgow.

Alan Walsh, Chair Govanhill Baths Community Trust says “After 15 years of campaigning, Govanhill Baths Community Trust is delighted that the local community will be swimming again in the historic Govanhill Baths. The refurbishment of the 100 year old Edwardian building into a wellbeing centre will help address the many health statistics in the area, which are some of the worst in the country. This is a good day for the local community and a good day for our beloved Govanhill Baths.”

Paul Johnston, Project Director, Arup says “Our building engineering team is thrilled to have been appointed to this project and we look forward to contributing our technical expertise to such a significant building restoration initiative for the city of Glasgow – and to working once again with Hall Black Douglas.”


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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.