Mace appointed for construction of University of Sussex's new Life Sciences facility

10 January 2018

Mace has been appointed to construct the University of Sussex’s new Life Sciences facility at the institution’s Falmer campus near Brighton. The project is part of the university’s £500 million expansion programme.

The University of Sussex is expanding its campus with a project bolstering the institution’s famous Life Sciences faculty. The university’s Life Sciences school has producted two Nobel Prize-winners, Sir Harry Kroto and Sir John Cornforth, and with the expansion, it aims at further bolstering its international standing. A new building will therefore be constructed at Sussex’s Falmer campus, near Brighton. The building is part of the university’s £500 million programme to modernise and improve its campus.

The new building will further enhance the school’s success in cancer and neurodegeneration research, as well as expand space for teaching facilities, including five stories, laid out to encourage and enable interdisciplinary collaboration though spaces. Molecular biologists, zoologists, neuroscientists, and chemists will be encouraged to work side by side in a ‘science without walls’ approach.Mace appointed for construction of University of Sussex's new Life Sciences facility Following a competitive tender process, engineering and consultancy firm Mace has been appointed in the construction role for the new facilities. The firm will draw on its own multidisciplinary capabilities to develop and deliver the building. PREACH, Mace’s public sector and education construction business unit, will be engaged for the construction, implementing a design in line with the vision of the wider campus’ founding architect, Sir Basil Spence. This will include judicious use of glass and concrete, while the building will aim to meet various environmental and sustainability outcomes.

Commenting on the appointment, Simon Neale, the University of Sussex’s Director of Estates and Facilities said, “Mace has clearly understood our ambition to develop a beacon of science and innovation excellence that will bring significant economic and social benefit to the South East and UK.  We will work together to create outstanding modern laboratories and high-tech teaching and research spaces that will inspire the scientists of tomorrow and our talented group of world-leading academics.”

Terry Spraggett, Mace’s Business Unit Director for PREACH, said, “We’re obviously very pleased that the University of Sussex has selected us to deliver their new Life Sciences facility, which will provide enhanced teaching and research facilities for students and academics. We are experienced in delivering world-class research facilities for institutions across the UK, and it’s always a privilege to be given the opportunity to work on projects that have such potential to transform our understanding of biomedical science.“

The firm has been involved in a range of university upgrades in the past, including the new Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, the Eastman Dental Hospital and UCL Student Centre.


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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.