Ramboll supports £46 million refurbishment of RAF base in Cyprus

16 May 2017 Consultancy.uk

Engineering consultancy Ramboll have completed overseeing the refurbishment of the Royal Air Force base in Akrotiri, Cyprus. The project, which included a range of auxiliary features, was completed in 21 months at a price tag of £46 million.

Built in 1950, RAF Akrotiri is located in the south of Cyprus, where the station plays a key role in region as a staging ground for UK and allied forces, largely due to its proximity to the Middle East.

Recently however the base had come into need of repair, and the runway in particular was earmarked for redevelopment. With construction beginning in 2015, the airfield refurbishment project, budgeted for £46 million, lasted under two years, and saw the old runway completely relayed with a new surface and featuring the latest in lighting and safety designs. Remarkably, the work was completed during a period in which the airfield was on active duty, with work limited to a 7-hour window each day.

Engineering and consulting company Ramboll was drafted onto the upgrade project, which included the overlay of the existing runway; construction of a new taxiway; reconstruction of 3 No Dispersals; 2 No turnpads; installation of a new AGL system; installation of a new drainage network to entire scheme including petrol interceptors and emergency fuel storage tanks to cater for spillages and Runway Hydraulic Arrestor Gear (RHAGs). 

Ramboll supports 46 million refurbishment of RAF base in Cyprus

For the project the UK arm of Ramboll provided management, technical and financial services to the project – aiming at fortifying the runway for the coming 20 years of service for the British Forces stationed at RAF Akrotiri.

The runway was formally opened last month, at a ceremony hosted by RAF's Station Commander Group Captain M. J. Blackburn, which along with base personnel was attended by a range of high-ranking officials, including the governmental Defence Infrastructure Organisation Chief Executive David Mitchard. Also amongst those in attendance were dignitaries and stakeholders from the Republic of Cyprus; along with Ramboll’s project team who worked on the project.

According to Ramboll, in 2019, British Forces Cyprus will become the largest permanent joint-operating base and permanent deployment of British troops overseas, with this latest upgrade aiming to ensure it is ready to support operations for the next two decades.

Related news: Consultants support upgrade of Bandaranaike International Airport.

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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.