Case Studies

Bucknall New Road

Employer: Stoke City Council
Principal Contractor: GallifordTry
Contract: NEC 3 Option B Subcontract
Project Value: £1.9M
Duration: 9 months

Project development

During the design phase of this project, GallifordTry asked the Kilkern team to help plan a scheme to widen the existing road at Bucknall New Road in Stoke-on-Trent. The project had to be delivered in a live environment ensuring traffic and pedestrian flow to the area was maintained without disrupting access to local residents and businesses.

Our experienced team held a series of workshops to outline a programme solution that would produce an efficient construction delivery method whilst adhering to the client’s strict budget requirements.

The project involved a full reconstruction of the highway including the widening of the carriageway throughout. The key elements of the scope are summarised on the table of key metrics.

The chosen delivery solution was to establish a one-way traffic management system travelling southbound which facilitated the space needed to construct one half of the road, but also provided enough access elsewhere to begin to develop the service diversion works needed across the whole site.

The Kilkern team identified that the critical path for the works was dependant on the large quantity of service diversion works necessary to widen the road. The majority of these service diversions were required on the eastern side of the road. By planning to deliver the western side of the road first, whilst developing enough access on the eastern side to start the service diversions works concurrently, the construction programme period was kept to a minimum.

Key Metrics

  • 4500mʒ of excavation
  • 1600mʒ of vacuum excavation
  • 5400m2 of new road formation
  • 90m of 1200mm diameter concrete drainage attenuation installed 5m deep
  • 450m of site drainage varying from 150mm to 300mm diameter
  • 22 new drainage manholes
  • 3 new flow control chambers
  • 1000m of new ducting
  • 300m2 of new paving
  • 270m of new pedestrian guardrail

Project Challenges

The project involved installing some large diameter deep drainage within a congested environment. This was identified as challenging during the planning stage, so our experienced team phased the delivery of materials to reduce congestion and planned the temporary works around the capabilities of appropriately sized zero tail swing plant.

During both phases of the works various unchartered existing services were uncovered. The time needed to identify each service and arrange for them to be diverted or removed effectively delayed the works. This resulted in a risk of seriously impacting the target end date.

The Kilkern team worked with the GallifordTry team to mitigate these delays by modelling various operational delivery options with the objective of reducing the construction programme. Each programmme option was costed and presented to our client so that we could decide which option provided the best value.

The chosen option was to immediately accelerate the works by working extended 12-hour shifts, 7-days a week to get to the point when we could initiate the mandatory notice periods for booking statutory service outages. Once these fixed notice periods were activated, our team effectively reduced the resources on site and reverted to a normal 5-day week working pattern. As soon as the service diversions were completed, our team increased resources and resumed a 7-day working week with extended 12-hour shifts to complete the works as soon as practically possible.

This programme modelling effectively reduced the construction programme by 3 months with the works completed during September 2021. Without this mitigation the project completion date would have been the end of December 2021.

Where Kilkern added value

Throughout the development of the project our team used their extensive experience of similar works to alter the original design to develop a solution which remained compliant but was more cost effective.

Our team sourced and promoted the use of alternative compliant materials which were more competitively priced and quicker and safer to install on site.

One of the advantages of having our own internal fleet of vacuum excavators was that we could react quickly when unchartered services were uncovered during the excavation phases of the works. Our ability to prioritise our vacuum excavation resource to safely expose the large number of services quickly helped to mitigate programme risks.

The project was an excellent example of the benefits that can be realised from involving an experienced contractor in the planning stages of a complex scheme. Our teams collaborative modelling and costing of the various delivery options gave our client good visibility of their budget liabilities and programme completion options. This helped them assess the various project challenges and make informed decisions.

The project was successfully completed in September 2021 and handed over defect free. Our team’s commitment to always be positive and actively find a way to overcome challenges in a safe manner was a great example of the culture at Kilkern.

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