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Dealing with design

The Environment Agency contracts are fully designed and detailed.

The Agency's lead consultant is Lewin Fryer & Partners. Landscape and planning consultant is Chris Blandford Associates, and mineral consultant is Geoffrey Walton Practice.

Where alternatives methods can identified at the tender stage, they can be taken on board. 'The advantage of that was that we get all the financial savings, and the contractor gets the job,' says Martin.

'With Balfour Beatty, we have a whole series of value engineering clauses,' he adds. 'These set up a method of operation which looks at design or construction changes, examined by a joint group of the contractor, site staff and the project team.'

Savings are shared. Lewin Fryer has however to accept changes, and take professional responsibility for them. 'We're recommending this for all of the upcoming contracts as well,' Martin says. It was particularly relevant on the Balfour Beatty contract as it has a great deal of highly specialised piling.

'Lewin Fryer's design is naturally more conservative. As an operator I love that, but if there are cost savings by using a safe but not so conservative design, then they can be taken up.'

The contracts let by Railtrack are design and construct, as is the motorway bridge.

Babtie is providing quality management services, supervising work on site, as EA's predecessor the National Rivers Authority was not allowed to take on additional staff even on a temporary basis. 'It is working very well. Construction manager Bob Park sits in this office, and you wouldn't know that he wasn't part of this team,' says Martin.

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