Professional services firms to resurface RAF Northolt runway

21 November 2018 Consultancy.uk

Construction firm Lagan Aviation and Infrastructure and engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald will work on the resurfacing of an RAF runway near Ealing. The Defence Infrastructure Organization (DIO) announced that Lagan has won the overall contract, while Mott MacDonald will be principal support provider for the project.

As the Royal Airforce looks to prepare its facilities for modern defence activities, it has commissioned a string of refurbishments in bases across the world. These have included the successful completion of work on RAF Gibraltar’s facilities, and a £46 million retooling of Cyprus located base RAF Akrotiri, along with a project nearing completion at RAF Marham.

Now, the RAF has embarked upon a major improvement process for its strategic site near London, RAF Northolt. Home to the last remaining military airfield within the M25 area, the flying operations that take place at the base provide a vital contribution to defence, wider government and the United Kingdom. Northolt is home to 33 supported units from all 3 armed services and wider government. 32 (also known as The Royal) Squadron are the resident flying squadron at the unit, who provide air transport to UK government and military leaders on official business.

Professional services firms to resurface RAF Northolt runway

The facility will now undergo resurfacing work, extending the life of the runway by 10 to 15 years. The work is expected to take around six months with the runway being closed for renovation from the spring of 2019 until that autumn. During this time, military aircraft will operate from RAF Benson in South Oxfordshire and civilian aircraft will operate from other civilian airports.

In order to initiate the project, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) issued a tender for a contract worth £23 million for a company to oversee the upgrade of the existing runway, improve drainage and install new arrestor beds to improve safety. Eventually, this saw Lagan Aviation & Infrastructure awarded the contract. The construction firm helps facilitate the development of airport infrastructure and buildings internationally, often in remote parts of the globe, and will be assisted by consulting firm Mott MacDonald, which has been tapped as Lagan’s principal support provider.

DIO Project Manager for the work, Clement Adekoyejo, commented on the news, “We are pleased to have successfully awarded the contract for this vital project for military capability to Lagan Aviation & Infrastructure as the main contractor, and Mott MacDonald as our principal support provider. DIO plays a crucial role in maintaining infrastructure to allow the armed forces to live, work and train. We appreciate the public support for the station and will endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum.”

James Aikman, Operations Director, Lagan Aviation & Infrastructure, added, “Lagan Aviation and Infrastructure are delighted to have been awarded the runway refurbishment contract at RAF Northolt. We are pleased to be afforded the opportunity to continue our collaborative working relationship with the DIO, which has proven to be successful over the years. Our experienced and dedicated team look forward to delivering yet another interesting project safely, on time and within budget.”

Related: Mott MacDonald appoints Graham Bolton global head of aviation wing.

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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.