Bid winners of the GBP4.2b London Super Sewer are announced
Thames Tideway Tunnel project chiefs have picked the preferred construction consortia to drive three major tunnel sections of the London Super Sewer.
A joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Ferrovial Agroman has landed the largest Central section drive worth £600m-£900m.
The Eastern section of the tunnel has been bagged by a Costain, Vinci and Bachy joint venture and is expected to cost £500m-£800m.
Another three-way consortium consisting of Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttall and Morgan Sindall has picked up the shorter western tunnel drive, which is expected to be worth somewhere between £300m-£500m.
Contracts are expected to be formally awarded in the summer, when the investors chosen to finance and deliver the project are revealed.
The trio of winning consortia each bid for all three sections of the 7.2m diameter tunnel, which will be driven 24km under much of the route of the Thames from Acton in West London to Abbey Mills in the east.
Innovative engineering in the design phase has already reduced the tunnel from the initial 32km proposed, and reduced the number of construction sites needed from 45 to 24.
The tunnels will be dug with a gently sloping gradient, falling 1m for every 790m it travels at a depth up to 60m below the surface.
Under the present programme, construction is expected to start in 2016 and conclude in 2023.
Several major foreign contractors paired off and opted to bid just one section. But this strategy has failed to pay off.
Disappointed bidders targeting the eastern section, include Bouygues, which went it alone, a joint venture between Hochtief and Murphy and a Bechtel/ Strabag pairing. A Dragados/Samsung joint venture bid for the west section, while Skanska teamed up with Bilfinger and Razel Bec was hoping for the prized central section.
The total Thames Tideway Project is estimated to cost around £4.2bn at 2011 prices. Around £1.4bn of the Thames Tideway Tunnel’s construction cost will be financed by Thames Water and £2.8bn by Thames Tideway Tunnel Ltd. Thames Water’s contribution will fund development costs, enabling works and interface works.
Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.