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Barking Riverside Extension Suppliers Day

On the 10th September, at The Institution of Civil Engineers, a suppliers’ day was held for the Barking Riverside Extension – this is a proposed London Overground project which is expected to get underway in October 2017. There were many speakers at the event, covering various aspects of the project, including Procurement and Health & Safety. As the name suggests, those in attendance were from the supply chain interested in potential involvement in the Barking Riverside Extension project.

Barking map

Fig 1 – Map of proposed Barking Riverside Extension –

The proposal of the Barking Riverside Extension is to extend the current London Overground Gospel Oak to Barking line, in order to support the rapidly growing area of Barking Riverside in East London. There would be a new station in the heart of the Barking Riverside development, and this would connect via a new railway to the existing Tilbury line. With this is place, planning permission would allow for another 10, 800 homes to be built in the area – something that we know from last week’s Crossrail 2 Stakeholder’s Conference is an absolute necessity. These will be supplemented with healthcare, shopping, community and leisure facilities, making Barking Riverside ‘one if the most ambitious and important new developments in the UK’.

The first speaker was Mike Stubbs, Director of London Overground, who gave a thorough overview of how London Overground has developed in recent times. He spoke of the outstanding service the London Overground offers, which is backed up by the way it continues to impress across the main performance measures: ticketless travel rate, NRPS scores for overall satisfaction, PPM score, and cumulative demand growth. Perhaps the most significant of these is the cumulative demand growth – in 2007, 33 million passengers used the London Overground, whilst in 2016, this figure will leap to 176 million! They have a huge challenge meeting the demands of this phenomenal growth, and the Barking Riverside Extension will be one way to tackle it.

Next up was Hugh Lawson, Head of Programme Delivery at London Overground; he talked us through the Barking Riverside Extension in more detail. A lot of emphasis was placed on the development that this extension would allow for – with 10, 800 homes, and all of the facilities that would come too – the entire area would undergo a colossal transformation. The service itself would be four, four-car trains per hour, as an extension of the London Overground Gospel Oak to Barking Route; these would allow residents to get to Stratford, the City, and Canary Wharf in under 30 minutes, making this an immensely desirable location for workers. On top of this, the work would create around 6,000 temporary or permanent jobs. In above, we can see a map of the scheme, whilst fig 2 below  shows the upcoming programme milestones.

table of dates

Fig 2 – Upcoming Programme Milestones

Andrew Driscoll, Business Manager at London Overground, then spoke to the audience about procurement. He spoke about their commitment to ECI (Early Contractor Involvement) and that they would always use and apply the NEC3 form – this is a signal of their will to work in a collaborative manner. Unusually for a project of this type, they are using an option A contract – this may scare some suppliers away. However, this need not be the case – it could in fact encourage all parties to ensure the right price during the ECI phase, and to concentrate on delivery during the delivery phase. Just because it’s a fixed price contract, that doesn’t mean it’s not collaborative. He stated that their intention was to appoint three contractors to help them develop the design during the ECI stage and then to run an ITT process to appoint the construction contract.

After that, Hugh Lawson, Head of Programme Delivery at London Overground, talked about the way in which they’ll work. He made clear that they are an engaged and informed client, who have motivated, pro-active project teams to support your delivery. This project will be BIM Level 2 compliant, and therefore the supply chain must be comfortable working in this environment. Hugh also told the audience that they had clear expectations in terms of contract and commercial management. Bringing it all together, there will be a multidisciplinary construction contract, where the testing and commissioning is managed by the contractor. He then described to the audience the way in which London Overground and Network Rail will be working together to bring the Barking Riverside Extension into use. They will establish a collaborative way to minimise duplication of effort, and will resolve issues together in order to deliver the new infrastructure as efficiently as possible. Hugh also asked for some feedback in two specific areas: construction areas and limits of deviation, and also the procurement strategy and ECI.

Senior HSE Manager, Rob Mair, talked of the huge emphasis, and highest level of expectation, that will be placed on Health and Safety throughout the project. He explained their vision, which is to “deliver this project without harm to people, assets, and the environment, and to deliver a net gain in health and wellbeing for East London.” He also made it clear that the winning supplier will describe, in thorough detail, how they will meet these expectations.

Mike Stubbs then offered a few concluding words. He picked out what he felt were the key points from today’s presentation: the housing provision in London is a key priority; the railway will be delivered in partnership with Network Rail and London Overground; it will be developer, GLA, and TfL funded; and they expect to bring everyone home safe and healthy every day.

The ideal outcome of the Barking Riverside Extension would be for London Overground to obtain a quality product and value for money, for London to gain a transformative housing development, and for the supply chain to receive a reasonable return.

If you have an interest in the Barking River Side project why not join the LinkedIn group here

Tim Fitch

Tim Fitch has extensive civil engineering leadership experience, gained particularly in the geotechnical and rail sectors, where he has helped niche businesses become market leaders, and quadrupled turnover in Taylor Woodrow’s rail division.

With a strong background in business development, Tim spearheaded growth at Vinci’s civil engineering division, deploying customer relationship and pipeline management techniques to grow the company’s work in the transport and energy sectors.

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