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Team huddles help Dartford West Tunnel project to triumph


From daily team huddles to supply-chain collaboration, team-working has held the Dartford West Tunnel Resurfacing Project to win a top award at the Constructing Excellence in London and the South East Awards 2012, sponsored by Catlin Insurance (UK) Ltd.

Installing waterproofing and resurfacing the tunnel was one of the UK’s most complex construction challenges. Innovative working methods used by Jackson Civil Engineering, in collaboration with Aggregate Industries and Connect Plus, meant they could complete 25 per cent more resurfacing in a shift and re-open the tunnel an hour earlier than scheduled each day – critical for one of the UK’s busiest and most congested routes.

This success led to Dartford West Tunnel Resurfacing Project being named as winner of the Integration & Collaboration Working Award category at the Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony held at Church House Conference Centre, Westminster, on Thursday, September 27th.

Jackson’s site supervisor Jonathan Cass said: “We had lessons learned meetings, were everyone had an input, as well as night-time huddles at the start of every shift which was delivered by different people every time.

“Because everyone had their input into the programme we were all linked by a willingness to succeed and, by the end of the project, we were completing 25 per cent more surfacing in a shift as well as opening the tunnel an hour earlier than scheduled.”

Beverley Waugh, M25 programme manager for Connect Plus, said: “Dartford is a very sensitive part of the road network we look after and we know that causing congestion there can create chaos in the south east of England.

“This has driven the way we, as a client, have developed the scheme, working with our supply chain to develop the methods and culture that would deliver the project to time.”

The team had to identify waterproofing that could be applied and quickly covered in asphalt to ensure it could be laid without damaging the ‘Flexpast’ layer underneath, ending the problems which had previously been caused by a failing surface in need of regular repairs.

As part of the selection process for the awards, shortlisted projects presented to a judging panel including sponsors and leading procurers such as the Olympic Delivery Authority, BAA, Royal Mail, B&Q and the Environment Agency.

In selecting Dartford West Tunnel Resurfacing Project as the category winner, the judges said: “The overall success of the project was driven by the collaboration between the team members.

“An impressive example of this was a team huddle, at the start of each shift on the project, to reinforce safe working practices which helped the applicant to manage a clean sheet in terms of accidents.”

Other finalists in the Integration & Collaborative Working Award category were: Crest Difference (Crest Nicholson plc); Partnership4Lewisham (London & Quadrant Housing Trust); Heathrow Terminal 2B Phase 2 (Balfour Beatty); Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (Coaction Management Ltd), Property Services Cluster (Hampshire County Council); Hackney Homes Alliance (Lakehouse).

Derek Rees, regional director of Constructing Excellence London and South East, said: “This year we received more high quality entries from more companies than ever before and our winners are exceptional – innovative, quality-driven and determined.

“They have risen to the challenges of one of the worst recessions of the past century to deliver some world-class leading projects.”

TV’s Martin Roberts, who hosted the evening, told the packed audience at the Church House Conference Centre in Westminster: “I speak from the heart when I say how really impressed I am by the amazing projects showcased tonight.

“These are pretty tough times especially in this industry. We should be proud of what can be achieved and that the government looks to the construction industry as the saviour of the economy. How fantastic is that?”

Ron Edmondson, managing director of category sponsors Waterloo Air Products Ltd, said: “This category was important to us because Waterloo know that, when we are involved in a project from the earliest opportunity, we can always deliver better value through design and joint cost saving.

“Done correctly this leads to better quality and improved profits for all involved. The Dartford West Tunnel Resurfacing Project is a fine example which proves that integration and collaboration are the way of the future.”

For more on the awards visit