Laing O’Rourke has been praised for its work on Liverpool Street Station as part of the Crossrail project.
The firm was praised in the Future Skills Report produced by the Construction Leadership Council [CLC], which draws together business leaders from across the sector to promote industry best practice.
While recommending wider encouragement of smart construction methods through early design and procurement processes, the CLC report states: “Bid evaluation criteria reinforces the intention and expectations of the client and focuses the energies and efforts of a bid team to collaborate, embed digital technologies and leverage industrialised manufacturing techniques to benefit end users and reduce total expenditure.
“Further encouraging innovative solutions through procurement delivers significant value to clients and end users by improving quality, productivity and savings in both time and other areas such as carbon reduction. An example is the time saving generated on Crossrail by Laing O’Rourke at Liverpool Street Station.”
The report highlights the benefit of the off-site construction model used by Laing O’Rourke at Liverpool Street Station by comparing it to work the firm also did at Tottenham Court Road Station also as part of the Crossrail project. Work on both stations was of a similar scope but the similarly-sized 450m platforms were built using different methods.
Work on Tottenham Court Road Station relied on in-situ methods. By contrast, work on Liverpool Street Station applied design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) solutions, where 460 precast concrete elements were manufactured in a controlled factory environment at Laing O’Rourke’s Explore Industrial Park in Worksop .
Comparing the two approaches, the CLC report states: “The offsite approach delivered an 11-week programme saving, with a reduction in people required to work in an underground environment and the associated elimination and mitigation of occupational health risk. The comparison of the two approaches offers evidence of faster delivery, improved health and safety, and, ultimately, increased productivity.”
Work on Tottenham Court Road involved a 41-week construction period, while work at Liverpool Street only required a 30-week construction period. Meanwhile, the former required 57 skilled operatives to deliver the in situ station, as opposed to the later needing seven people on site and 27 people in the factory.
Another recommendation made by the report is the creation of a sustainable employment environment where increasing numbers of people are directly employed throughout the construction industry. It also highlights the need to update of industry qualifications as well as training content to include smart construction techniques and behaviours with funding made available to accelerate adoption.
How the industry changes skills needs in a post-Crossrail and Grenfell era is a prominent concern that was highlighted in New Civil Engineer’s Future of Skills special this month. In addition, to challenges around costs and delivery on major programmes, shocking bridge collapses in the United States and Italy have also brought the issue to the fore.
It has been argued that the industry has suffered from an inability to deploy the right skills to manage complex programmes such as Crossrail.
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