The Middle East continues to provide a rich vein of construction project opportunities, with a third of the shortlisted companies in the global firm of the year category working on mega-infrastructure projects in the region.
One such is the Doha Metro and it is charging ahead apace with Jacobs very much at the fore. Nine TBMs have now successfully bored 45km out of 53km on the project’s Red Line on time and schedule with world class safety performance. But most significantly, the project has changed the entire culture and approach to worker welfare in the country and driven the introduction of new standards and laws, the impacts of which are now being felt on similar projects throughout the region. It’s a great example of how UK expertise and best practice is being shared globally.
But there are many others, whether it is Aecom designing the complex E4 Stockholm Bypass in Sweden through digital engineering, or Amey establishing a high performing highways asset management and maintenance team to support Qatar’s Public Works Authority.
Amey was picked for the project due to its global reputation and track record in delivering leading whole life asset management services to some of the world’s most demanding infrastructure owners and operators. Its team has developed and implemented the processes, systems and technology required to support a leading highways function collaboratively with Ashghal’s staff, and designed and delivered the training, development, and change programmes required to affect a transition to a world class way of working.
Then there is Arup enabling the complex construction and rehabilitation of Fulton Street Transit Center in New York and Hewson Consulting using technology to design the Jakarta metro project to stringent seismic requirements.
Or you can look to Mace creating a landmark mixed use development at the Victoria & Albert Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa or Mott MacDonald delivering increased capacity at Hong Kong International Airport.
A third ofthe shortlisted companies in the global firm of the year category work on mega-infrastructure projects in the Middle East
And then there is Pell Frischmann developing low-carbon infrastructure along India’s economic corridors.
The Foreign and Commonwealth office commissioned Pell Frischmann to develop a study to promote development of low-carbon infrastructure along economic corridors and identify opportunities for UK-based technologies. It developed a menu of commercially viable interventions and designs for a model corridor spine that would reduce CO2 by up to 50%.
And finally there is Atkins ensuring cost effective design using rapid construction techniques on Riyadh Metro’s viaducts.
There are many examples of where our people have made an impact internationally
As the lead designer in a joint venture with Spanish consultancy Typsa, Atkins is supporting the FAST consortium to deliver three of the six lines that will comprise Riyadh Metro.
It is a project that’s set to revolutionise and transform transportation in Saudi Arabia’s capital by reducing congestion and pollution while offering people sustainable, attractive and fast public transport choices for the first time. And it is currently the largest public transportation project in the world.
Drawing on the skills of around 200 specialists from across the Middle East, Bangalore, Hong Kong and the UK, Atkins’ team is consistently outperforming design teams for the other Riyadh Metro packages of works and has helped its contactor client reach two major milestones ahead of the pack.
The diversity of skills and best practice in evidence is remarkable. And the opportunities afforded by this creativity are limitless.
When it comes to showing off what we do, the NCE100 has collectively won 308 international prizes in 2015, with 11 of them claiming Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in the last five years.
There are many examples of where our people have made an impact internationally, not least Aecom’s Peter Ayres.
But also demanding mention is Opus International technical principal Gary Chalmers, who received industry recognition not once, but twice, in recent years for his work at Lyttelton Port in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Following the major earthquake in 2011, Chalmers played an integral role in maintaining structures during the difficult post-earthquake conditions, as well as concept work for the rebuild.
Global Firm of the Year Winner: Jacobs
Jacobs has been working as project management consultant on the Doha Metro to provide client Qatar Rail (QRC) with procurement support/ construction management/technical assurance for 56km of bored tunnels and all associated works for its £ 5.3bn Red Line, which is twice the size of Crossrail’s central section.
Many of Jacobs’ project leaders had held key positions in the delivery of the London 2012 Olympics and High Speed 1 and have first-hand knowledge of delivering major infrastructure works to tight programmes and in new client organisations.
Jacobs supplemented this team with further major global project experience from within and from new recruits to the business, with an ongoing emphasis on the safety culture, behaviours and experiences that it could bring.
From the start its leadership team challenged health, safety and welfare within Qatar and embarked on a mission to change the way construction was delivered. It used £670,000 of its own money to drive safety across the whole supply chain. This programme has been delivered to QRC and contracting/subcontracting organisations with roll-out to 6,000-plus workers, helping transform attitudes, reduce accident rates (a 12 month rolling AFR 50% lower than Crossrail in summer 2015) and increase productivity.
Jacobs integrated worker welfare conditions into the contracts it manages to require main contractors to build new welfare and accommodation facilities in line with a defined standard. It inspects facilities and issues reports to indicate where contractors are falling short, with suggested improvements. It represents QRC on the Qatar Foundation Stakeholders Migrant Welfare Committee, and speaks at conferences on these matters.
International Impact Award Winner: Peter Ayres and Aecom
Located on the Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica, the Halley VI Antarctic Research Station is one of the most challenging and technically complex buildings ever delivered in what is the harshest climate on earth.
It is a globally recognised project, delivered by a UK-based Aecom team and led by UK structural engineer Peter Ayres for client British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The team included Hugh Broughton Architects and Galliford Try International.
Built on an ice shelf that moves over 400m per year, the station can be relocated inland as the ice shelf moves out to sea. BAS had an ambitious scientific goal to carry out pioneering research in space weather, near-space atmosphere and climate change, in an extreme environment where snow levels change and the ice pack shifts. Aecom produced a concept design for a sustainable research station that offered ease of delivery, construction, operation and decommissioning.
Design principles centered around survivability, maintainability and liveability, allowing the station
to function reliably and economically as a home for dozens of scientists living there for up to 18 months at a time.
One British science minister, David Willetts, hailed the project as a triumph of British design, innovation and engineering, while BAS board member Michael Pinnock hailed it “a major step forward in the evolution of British polar stations and the culmination of a truly collaborative approach”.
The NCE100 judges were in awe of what is a ground breaking project and noted the massive national and international recognition it has secured.
They said both the project and its people were genuine role models to attract youngsters into science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.
Opus International Consultants
Campbell Reith Hill
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
NCE100 | World View Awards