Partnering relationship safely delivers upgrades to UK gas infrastructure
National Grid, the gas distribution and electricity transmission company, has a rolling programme to replace the UK’s major gas distribution pipelines. Works agreed with the Health & Safety Executive in 2001 committed National Grid to replacing all metal gas mains within 30 metres of a property, amounting to 91,000km of pipe, which will be replaced with modern polythene pipes over a 30 year period.
We were selected as its partner in the M1 Corridor Gas Alliance delivering key sections in Sheffield, Leicester, Nottingham and Derby. This has now expanded to other areas including Grimsby, Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Barton on Humber, Hinckley and Nuneaton. This long-term relationship is one of just four major alliances that National Grid has undertaken to complete the upgrade programme across the country.
"Throughout the Alliance partnership, [Amec Foster Wheeler] as our delivery partner has maintained not only a sustainable performance in the personal safety arena but has also driven year on year improvements. The partnership has worked hard to embed a behavioural culture around personal accountability for safety and compliance. This combined with efficient project delivery, geographic flexibility, in a challenging regulatory environment, has seen [Amec Foster Wheeler] provide a great contribution to National Grid’s delivery of its gas mains replacement programme."
Jonathan Callighan, Head of Gas Alliances, National Grid
The Alliance involves both National Grid and our own staff working together to deliver the replacement programme safely, on time and within budget. Strong relationships have been built with stakeholders ensuring swift resolution of any issues that arise. This has meant that year on year the programme of works has been delivered successfully.
Thus, when the current contract is complete in 2013 an essential part of the country’s pipeline replacement programme will have been delivered for National Grid, thus providing safer gas distribution for another century.
The Alliance has received many awards but some of the major ones have included:
- National Grid’s Outstanding Contribution Award for developing the PREPARE planning tool
- The company's President’s HSE Award in 2008/9 in the Beyond Zero category for its community engagement activities
- In 2010 the Alliance was awarded the company's COO and CEO Award for Safety Excellence, chosen from the company's plethora of projects across its global operations
- The Gas Industry Safety Group (GISG) has also recognised the Alliance with an award for its ‘Safety Training/Skills Initiative’
- In May 2012 at the IGEM/SBGI sponsored National Gas Industry Awards, the Alliance was delighted to receive its most prestigious safety award.
Gas mains replacement work can have a big impact on communities and that is why all work is planned in large projects, to avoid the need to return to an area several times to complete renewal in adjoining streets. This means residents benefit from knowing that there will be little or no disruption for many years to come.
There is a dedicated customer liaison team who proactively engage with stakeholders and customers to ensure communication of the programme of works to those affected. This is done through meetings with parish councils, local authorities, schools, residents associations, trade associations, media and the use of a customer information vehicle.