Case Studies

Stoke Maintenance Delivery Unit

Project: Stoke Maintenance Delivery Unit
Employer: Network Rail
Contractor: Cleshar
Contract: NEC 3 Option B Subcontract
Project Value: £350,000
Duration: 5 months

The Kilkern team were engaged by Cleshar to carry out a civils package to service the construction of two new buildings within the existing Stoke Rail Depot facility. The works were delivered in parallel with the new building works so needed to be planned accordingly.

The works involved the installation of the new ducting and water service pipework from the existing road up to the location of the new buildings. The project also involved the excavation, installation, and backfilling of a large attenuation tank in the very congested area in front of the new buildings.

Project Challenges

The project needed to be delivered whilst maintaining unhindered and effective operational access to the existing depot so that normal business operations could remain uninterrupted. This required a collaborative approach between Kilkern, Cleshar and Network Rail. The experienced Kilkern team proposed a value engineering solution that provided a time and cost benefit, this was to install the water and ducting in one combined trench rather the original design that proposed multiple trench routes across the live site. The proposal was accepted, and this enabled the works to be undertaken quicker whilst minimising disruption for network rail in the live yard.

The Kilkern team also developed various project delivery options highlighting the benefits and programme implications of each option. After discussing these at a workshop, the chosen option was to install the works in 5 phases which maintained the Depots ability to operate, as well as delivering construction output consistent with the main programme requirements.

The Kilkern team needed to plan and coordinate a large volume of plant and vehicle movements in and out of each of the phases whilst also ensuring that night shift rail access for other external contractors would remain unaffected.

The project was delivered during the Covid 19 Pandemic. The Kilkern team applied a robust series of social distancing measures designed around maintaining the safety of the site work force which also delivered effective site progress. These included additional separate site vehicles for travel to and from site, staggered breaks to reduce the number of personnel in the canteens and an enhanced and effective hygiene regime.

The project also included the installation of a large attenuation tank in a very restricted and congested area. The works required a large and deep excavation in close proximity to the new buildings.

The Kilkern team planned and developed the works to include a compliant temporary works design which maintained safe access to the site welfare cabins for the operational site delivery team. Despite the confined environment challenges the Kilkern team also developed an access ramp within the footprint of the works which delivered safe access into the excavation. The location and configuration of the ramp provided optimum access for the tank assembly speeding up the process ultimately resulting in an installation duration quicker than originally planned.

The existing depot is a congested and very busy 24-hour facility with very limited space. The Kilkern team needed to put a lot of effort into planning site deliveries, the temporary storage and subsequent removal of excavation arisings off site and plant movements around the works so that the depots operational requirements were always met and the night shift access onto the railway line was not affected.

Key metrics

  • 4000m of new ducting
  • 600m of saw cutting
  • 1200mᶾ of excavation
  • 380mᶾ of attenuation tank
  • 600m of HDPE water main
  • 300m² of trench reinstatement
  • 11 new concrete bases for new equipment

Project Success

The Kilkern team held a workshop during the lead in time for the project to emphasize the importance of working collaboratively with our client and the depot operators in the development of the planned project delivery. Our team were very aware of the challenges raised by the existing access constraints and developed an open and honest relationship with the objective of working collaboratively to overcome the many challenges on the project. This produced a successful working relationship which allowed the project to be delivered effectively.

The Kilkern team successfully planned, managed, and delivered the project despite the additional constraints which arose as a result of the social distancing measures dictated by the Covid 19 Pandemic. The Kilkern senior management team operated a process for regularly monitoring and assessing the latest guidance issued by the Government and the construction council to adjust working practises and effectively communicate any changes with the operational delivery team.

The pandemic caused some significant challenges to the project with the Kilkern team forced to react quickly to site resources not being available due to Covid infections or mandatory isolation requirements. The collaborative working environment fostered a one team approach and this was evident when, as a result of the clients resources having to isolate, the Kilkern supervisory and engineering team effectively stepped in and covered the daily management operations on site until isolation timescales had been satisfied.

The Kilkern teams effort in the planning the method and duration for the works through the live section of the depot were successfully executed with every phase delivered on time and disruption to the depot kept to a minimum.

The excavation and installation of the attenuation tank was challenging given the considerable access constraints. The Kilkern teams ability to identify this risk and plan a suitable alternative installation method mitigated this risk and effectively resulted in the installation being delivered ahead of programme. With very limited access for the backfilling operations and with only one small access point, the Kilkern team successfully planned a progressive backfilling method which mitigated the risk that backfill surcharge could cause the attenuation tank to move.

The Kilkern operational delivery team also managed to accommodate various additional scope items by increasing resources to ensure the original programme delivery dates were achieved.

The project was successfully completed in March 2022. Our team’s commitment to collaborate, 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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