Major development and refurbishment projects ranging from a colliery reclamation scheme to preserving a rural cottage are among the nominations in the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) West Midlands Awards.
The annual awards showcase the best of civil engineering excellence in the region and take place on Wednesday at the ICC.
A total of 20 projects have been nominated, including the £2.5 million highway project to enable Tesco Extra in Walsall and the £12.7 million restoration of Droitwich’s canals.
Alastair Templeton, ICE West Midlands chairman, said: “Every single day, civil engineers in the West Midlands are working to overcome challenges from water supply to transport access, usually with little or no recognition.
“The work done by civil engineers is essential for society to function and this is our opportunity to celebrate the work done by our members with both the public and private sectors.
“The shortlist features everything from major heritage projects to smaller, but no less important and challenging, work to protect individual properties from flooding risk. “Each scenario poses unique challenges for society and, thanks to the skills and determination of civil engineers, we are able to overcome them.
“These projects involve highly skilled teams of engineers of various disciplines in order to deliver them successfully.
“Each of the 20 projects nominated demonstrate in different ways the excellence we have in the West Midlands in civil engineering.”
Prizes will be presented in categories recognising innovation, sustainability, heritage, construction, partnership working and communication – in addition to an overall winner.
1. A4040 Highway Realignment – Spenhill Regeneration working with Arup, Cube Management, Bowmer & Birkland (East Midlands), Fitzgerald Contractors and Birmingham City Council
As a result of the Swan Centre regeneration scheme in Yardley, it has been necessary to realign the A4040 Church Road.
The new 500 metre long dual carriageway was constructed as part of the shopping centre redevelopment and will eventually facilitate the creation of around 650 jobs.
The works were completed in October 2011 and feature an innovative use of post-consumer recycled PVC geocellular storage tanks and hydro-break vortex flow control devices to create a sustainable urban drainage system.
The scheme provides significant improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.
It also offers vehicle site accessibility and the operation of Birmingham’s strategic road network.
2. AGS Data Management Committee
Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) Investigation of ground conditions at any development site is key to the sustainable, safe and economic design of foundations, roads, rail and infrastructure projects.
Specialists who obtain and assemble such data provide printed reports but designers use different software for which data-entry is necessary.
In 1991, the AGS recognised the need for direct digital data transfer. Following a conference in Birmingham, a committee was formed in the West Midlands which produced the AGS Data Transfer Format.
This has been used on projects such as the M6 Toll, Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Olympic sites and overseas.
The dedicated, enthusiastic committee is a world leader and continues to develop the format to remain at the forefront of international developments, saving time and money and ensuring optimum use of this valuable data.
3. Chasewater Reservoir Remedial Works – Staffordshire County Council working with URS and Galliford Try
In order to mitigate internal erosion within the eastern embankment of the reservoir near Lichfield, the Chasewater Reservoir project was undertaken on safety grounds due to fears of leaks and flooding.
Started by Lichfield District Council, the project was continued by Staffordshire County Council in May 2011 and URS, the council’s engineers, to work on the 200-year-old reservoir. As part of the work, the reservoir was drained and the drawdown culvert was located and inspected for the first time in 200 years.
The project has demonstrated a partnership culture between all parties which was considered essential when dealing with such a complex and historical structure which is a major Midlands asset. It is expected the reservoir will be fully restocked by next year.
4. Connect2Kenilworth Footbridge – Warwickshire County Council with Currall Lewis & Martin (Construction)
Sustrans is currently delivering a national project to extend the National Cycle Network into the heart of thousands of communities across the UK.
As part of the project, Warwickshire County Council secured funding to improve and update a section of disused railway line connecting the Kenilworth Greenway, the University of Warwick and Kenilworth town centre.
Parts of the route were previously improved by Warwickshire County Council, but the new improvement works provided an essential new traffic free route over the A429. The bridge has been well received and it is hoped that when the new section of the route is complete to the University of Warwick, it will provide an excellent link for students from Kenilworth to the university.
5. Dawley & Mainslee Regeneration – Telford & Wrekin Council with Birse Civils
This project saw the sustainable redevelopment of a colliery site for a new school, sports pitches and community facilities. Significant efforts were focused on the environmental impact with no material sent to landfill, a saving of £1.3 million due to early 3D modeling, a reduction of 22 per cent in carbon emissions than comparable projects and spoil re-engineered.
Furthermore, asbestos impacted spoil was managed Japanese Knotweed treated.
Dust was reduced by modifying the dumper exhausts with fitted diffuser plates to avoid constant dust plumes and lagoons created to harvest rainwater which was recycled for dampening down dust.
6. Demolition of G A Transport, Demolition, Munitions Clearance and Recycling – Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council with Coleman and Company
The demolition and clearance of the former G A Transport site in Tipton developed from a straightforward project into a high-risk, complex and challenging job.
The works comprised high-level asbestos insulation board removal, superstructure demolition, removal of over 200 pieces of ordnance, treatment of two mineshafts, processing of arisings to specification and storage for subsequent reuse in site development.
Resource management and flexibility were critical in achieving cost minimalisation and a works completion deadline.
The project was delivered safely, without major incident, on time and within budget.
7. Droitwich Canals Restoration – British Waterways with Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council, The Waterways Trust and Droitwich Canal Trust
The opening of Droitwich Canals in July 2011 marked the end of a 38-year drive to restore these two lost canals with work starting in spring 2008 after a £12.7 million fundraising campaign. The vision was to create a linear park centred on the restored Droitwich Canals which will seek to conserve and enhance the natural and built environment and provide a range of opportunitiesfor local people and visitors, generating economic benefit and contributing to the well-being of the people of Worcestershire.
Environment Minister Caroline Spelman said of the project: “I pay tribute to everyone involved in this wonderful restoration. Reconnecting and reopening the two canals is a great engineering achievement.”
8. Foxbank, Bewdley Slope Stabilisation – Geotechnics Ltd with P & S Consulting Engineers and WM Longreach
Following rain storms in Worcestershire, movement occurred in retaining walls and steep garden slopes rising above Foxbank, a house on the busy Cleobury Road in Bewdley.
Power supply poles in the garden tilted and foul sewerage pipes were fractured with extremely dangerous and unpleasant consequences.
The site was small but access problems were significant, constraining both site investigation and remedial works. An outline design involving drainage, reinforced soil and proprietary facing blocks devised to ensure long-term stability, flexible layouts, simple maintenance and an aesthetically pleasing result. Following consultation by Geotechnics Ltd and detailed design by P & S Consulting, WM Longreach devised an innovative construction sequence using their specialist plant, meaning work was completed on time and within budget.
9. Gloucestershire Security of Supply (GSOS) – Severn Trent Water with Morgan Sindall and Grontmij
Flooding in July 2007 crippled Severn Trent Water’s Mythe water treatment works leaving 350,000 customers without mains drinking water for up to 17 days.
Severn Trent committed to provide greater security of supply for its customers in Cheltenham and Gloucester.
A new water main enables the Mythe water treatment works to be bypassed with an alternative supply from Strensham in South Worcestershire.
Work was delivered by Morgan Sindall with Severn Trent Water and scheme designers Grontmij, with 17.3 km of 600mm diameter welded steel pipes installed including major crossings of the M5, Avon and main line railway. Work started in 2010 and achieved regulatory completion in 2011.
10. Holt Fleet Bridge Strengthening and Refurbishment – Worcestershire County Council with Halcrow and Volkeraser
Constructed in 1826 by Thomas Telford, Holt Fleet Bridge carries the A4133 over the River Severn in Worcestershire.
Hidden cracks discovered following testing meant an emergency 7.5 tonne weight restriction was imposed in 2009.
To preserve the original structure features a 3D model was developed to investigate modes of failure and structural redundancy.
Sequential strengthening with specialist fast cure material was employed preserving original members and reducing disruption to the community while vibration monitoring techniques were employed to enable the construction works to progress while keeping the road opening, avoiding a 15-mile diversion.
The work was completed in 2011, increasing the capacity to 40 tonnes and minimising the impact on the community, environment and preserving the original features and aesthetics.
11. Koutulai Community Projects – Engineers for Overseas Development and Salt Peter Trust
EFOD West Midlands (EFOD WM) was born from a dozen young professionals meeting at an ICE International Development event in 2008 and has been growing ever since.
Since visiting a poverty stricken widow group in Koutulai, Uganda, EFOD WM has embarked on a three-year journey with the aim of facilitating the community in becoming a healthy, self-sufficient group supporting their own living in a sustainable manner.
Over the three years, the group has provided safe water from a deep ground water borehole, a grinding mill to add value crops, improved sanitation in the form of compost latrines and a community centre with medical facilities.
The project demonstrates how a group of engineers, architects, project managers and CAD technicians have shown true teamwork and commitment while delivering high-quality projects on time, to budget and transforming the lives of others.
12. Midland Links Alignment bolt – Amey with R&C Williams
On behalf of the Highways Agency, Amey maintains the Midland Links Motorway Viaducts (MLMV), a total of 1,300 reinforced concrete support structures that carry the M5 and M6 through the region.
As part of Amey’s drive for more sustainable asset management, the preventative maintenance strategy for the MLMV has concentrated on key components, including expansion joint gutter renewal.
Understanding how poor detailing caused extensive corrosion with the function and reduce the cost of the guttering system.
Working with R&C Williams and their supply chain, an innovative new alignment bolt has been designed, prototyped and manufactured in polypropylene, replacing the stainless steel bolts previously used.
13. Milford Borehole UV Disinfection and Abstraction Licensing – Severn Trent Water with MottMacDonald Bentley
In order to maintain the quality of the public water supply from Milford Borehole in Staffordshire and to satisfy the future supply/demand balance, it was necessary to install additional treatment facilities on the ground water source.
It was also necessary to test the pump to prove abstraction does not have an undue effect upon surrounding flora and forna.
The Milford Borehole Pumping Station is located on a parcel of land bounded between Shugborough Hall and the West Coast Mainline on a site peppered with wildlife.
As a consequence significant partnership working was necessary for the required testing and installation of treatment facilities to take place.
14. One Supply Chain West – Non Infrastructure Severn Trent Water working with Mott MacDonald Bentley Ltd and Hyder Aecom JV
One Supply Chain West Non-Instrastructure is the co-located partnership between Severn Trent Water, Mott MacDonald Bentley and Hyder Aecom JV to deliver water and wastewater treatment projects across Severn Trent Water’s western operation region.
Formed in 2009, the partnership is completing year two of the five-year framework which is working on around 92 schemes.
It is about to successfully achieve the year two capital expenditure targets in both water and wastewater streams – delivering to target £49.4 million of the £121.8 million One Supply Chain West – Non Infrastructure capital programme. Additionally, through the partnership’s Community Group, over £10,118 has been raised for regional charities.
15. Recycling of Road Sweepings – Warwickshire County Council working with SITA UK
Warwickshire County Council has led on the procurement of an innovative treatment process to recycle street sweepings which would otherwise be landfilled.
Seven Midland local authorities – Coventry, Staffordshire, Solihull, Herefordshire and Worcestershire – are saving more than £10 million over the next seven years as well as diverting nearly 300,000 tonnes of material from landfill.
Around 98 per cent of the material passing through the SITA processing facility in Wolverhampton is being recovered and graded into sand, washed aggregate and compostable material.
The recycled sand and aggregates can be reused in road construction, pipe bedding materials or blended with rock salt and used as grit on roads in the winter months while composted organic material – rich in nutrients – is suitable for blending with soils in land remediation projects.
16. Shut Mill Cottage – David Symons Associates working with PJ Read Building Services and Peter Kite Associates
Following heavy rainfall in September 2008, flood waters topped the embankment to the Mill Pond at Shut Mill Cottage in Belbroughton .
This resulted in serious damage to the cottage itself and properties downstream.
As this was not the first occasion storm water had resulted in damage to the property, the buildings insurance company were concerned to ensure the remedial works catered for all probable future events.
As a result, they agreed the remedial works to the embankment of the cottage should be designed as if the Mill Pond was covered by the Reservoirs Act.
This has resulted in an enhanced structure with an improved outfall that not only protects the property at Shut Mill but also provides protection to the land and buildings downstream in the village of Belbroughton.
17. Steambridge, University of Birmingham – University of Birmingham working with MJP Architects, Couch Consulting Engineers, Couch Perry & Wilkes, Sorba UK Ltd and Volker Fitzpatrick
Steambridge is a key part of a forward-looking project to refurbish and extend the university’s combined heat and power plant (CHP) network.
MJP Architects have designed the curved 2k finished, laser cut stainless cladding for a very long service life with zero cleaning and maintenance.
The 60 metre superstructure was pre-clad off-site by Sorba Projects BV, transported to site in two spans and installed during an overnight line closure.
The completed bridge carries services over a busy railway and canal and incorporates a walkway to allow safe access for internal maintenance and inspection of the stream mains, which forms a crucial part of the university’s sustainable energy strategy, reducing their carbon footprint by 1,500 tonnes per year.
18. Stourbridge Interchange – Centro working with Amey, Interserve and Mott MacDonald
Stourbridge Interchange is a highly original piece of structural, architectural and engineered design which aims to raise the profile and perception of public transport use of the area while serving as a catalyst for the area.
The principal hub building is a ‘teardrop’ in plan form and the resulting curved buildings are a dramatic centre stage for the development, complemented by a swooping, curved glazed canopy with light, membrane perimeter canopies.
Its contemporary appearance is inspiring and refreshing, providing a comfortable and attractive environment for users, with safe covered pedestrian links to the rail terminal and an existing but improved subway route to the town centre.
19. Tesco Walsall – Public Realm and Transportation Improvements – Tesco Stores working with Arup, Bowmer & Kirkland, Fitzgerald Contractors Ltd, Saunders Partnership and Walsall MBC
This £2.5 million highway project is regarded as a great example of urban regeneration and demonstrates the value that excellent planning, design and construction can bring to the revitalisation of town centres.
The public realm and transportation improvement have enhanced the streets through high quality granite paving and wider footway spaces in order to provide a clear pedestrian linkage to the town centre.
A Tesco Extra store – covering 10,880 square metres store with 750 car parking spaces and retail units – has been built in the heart of Walsall.
Arup were part of the Tesco team, leading the highway design and construction supervision with Bowmer & Kirkland and Fitzgerald.
20. Shifnal Train Station – Severn Trent Water with Mott MacDonald Bentley
In March 2009, Mott MacDonald Bentley was appointed as core contractor by Severn Trent Water to carry out AMP5 non-infrastructure works across their western operating region.
This required bringing together a new team in a new operational area with an important need for effective communication and a strong team culture.
Development of the fast-growing team and ensuring effective collaborative working was identified as one of the biggest risks faced as the new AMP period started.
To ensure the new team understood MMB’s culture and behaviours, an innovative company induction for site based employees and support teams, communicating their core principals in a clear and memorable manner.