Mace supports Sky Central with design and sustainability development

31 January 2017 Consultancy.uk

Sky Central, one of the developments of Sky's wider headquarter campus expansion, was recently completed. Mace provided a range of services to the development process, as well as consulting for key sustainability features – including the BREEM 'Excellent' standard. The building further focuses on improving collaboration, through flow design, between the more than 3,500 staff.

Sky is a UK headquartered telecommunications company, which provides a range of media services to more than 20 million customers across 5 countries. In a bid to improve its corporate headquarters, to, among others, create additional added value, the company launched a transformation project. The transformation initiative consists of the development of 41,000 square metres of mixed-use office, a studio hub, a health and fitness centre for staff, as well as a 3,600-square metre timber frame building which will house the Sky Academy.

One of the major buildings in the transformation project is Sky Central. The building is home to 3,500 people of the more than 7,500 staff on the campus. The new space is developed in such a way as to improve the flow of people between departments and teams within the company, allowing for additional channels through which collaboration and venturing can take place.

Mace supports Sky Central design and sustainability development

One of the parties that worked on the development of the new space is Mace, a professional services firm. The advisory firm provided a range of services to the development – including an initial review of the buildings’ internal space, allowing for improved collaborative working conditions between the architect and structural engineers.

In addition, the consultancy and engineering firm brought the new development up to BREEM ‘excellent’ standard, in line with Sky's wider sustainability goals. Sustainability features include the installation of a rainwater harvesting system, solar panels and high-efficiency lighting to minimise energy consumption. The firm also sought to reduce the concrete load, focusing on adding timber features that reduce the overall carbon foot-print of the construction process – electing to install 400 roof light cassettes in timber instead of concrete.

Mace has been under the commission of Sky since 2013, with previous work including the realisation of a transformed Sky Campus in Osterley, in west London. The Sky Central project has been three years in the development.

Graham Barter, Mace's Project Director at Sky, says, “Working on Sky Central has been a pleasure and great learning experience. The team worked hard together in response to the evolving brief and the project requirements for the highest level of safety, quality and delivery. Everyone who worked on the project brought a proactive, collaborative and open approach to the delivery of Sky Central. We took a flexible and sustainable approach to this project and the building is now an impressive structure on Sky’s campus which reflects its business of ‘finding a better way’.”

“Sky Central’s design provides Sky colleagues and visitors with an inspiring and energising environment in which to work and meet. The use of vast open floor plates, large atria and mezzanines with a multitude of interconnecting ramps and stairs provide a unique experience", comments Andrew Jackson, Construction Project Manager at Sky. 

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

11 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

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.