Super Alliance Maintains London’s Water Services

With its diverse range of people and cultures and more than 300 languages spoken, London is a challenging place to build anything. But as one of the major companies chosen for the largest and most varied asset management program in the U.K., MWH has brought smart thinking and factory construction methodologies to the city of 13 million inhabitants. We sent a dream team primed with an ambitious, customer-centric mindset and ready to grapple with the U.K.’s rigorous AMP6 water regulatory program. As part of a super alliance of industry-leading organizations, MWH will play a key role in the delivery of a $2 to $3 billion (£2-2.5 bn) capital investment program to upgrade Thames Water’s aging infrastructure, a substantial undertaking that will run from 2015 to 2020, with the potential to continue to 2025. Taking on a dual role as both Program Manager and Design/Construction partner, we discovered doing two things at once has its upside, especially if it means helping a city create a world-class asset management program and shape its water and wastewater services for the future.

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Knowing that a high level of collaboration was essential, we based our initial project management approach on a more structured and simple strategy. It favors co-operation over autonomy and employs standardized engineering practices as part of our transition from a project to a program mentality. The impact to date has been impressive and bodes well for the next phase of development.

 
Construction starts officially in 2015 and involves seven contract partners handling different aspects of the program. We created a solution that will treat water, manage wastewater and ensure the long-term health of the River Thames. Our deliberate two-year planning cycle calls on our best innovative thinking in order to meet the country’s shifting regulatory requirements – a challenge demanding foresight and flexibility. It also calls for a strategy to renew the vigor and value of existing assets versus building anew – an expectation that is driving change throughout our industry.

With the image of a resilient London water infrastructure clearly in our sights, we assembled the right team with the right talents and synchronized our intent to operate flawlessly from day one. High on collaboration and representing a diverse blend of specialty skills, the global team of management and project consultants, technical and innovation experts and increasingly important data analysts created a model for success that has inspired our alliance partners. At the same time, our readiness for the challenges ahead confirmed to our client that the industry-changing collaborative model they envisioned works. Partnering across time zones and accessing our global knowledge base, we have defined the project lifecycle and are primed to move into phase two design construction.

Our success in managing and delivering the Thames Water program hinges on continued collaboration and long-term thinking and decision making. What we achieve will impact the water services of one of the most vital cities in the world for generations to come.