Our last supply chain engagement event in this series was hosted by HSRIL members Skanska in Doncaster, South Yorkshire – the site here having been established for almost a century, and employing a multi-skilled workforce of mechanical and civil engineers, fully trained in areas like fabrication, welding, electrical engineering, hydraulics and computer numerical control (CNC) specialised machining. A number of representatives from SME’s locally were invited to take part in discussions designed to explore their role in the delivery of high speed rail.

Discussions focused on the vital contribution that the wider supply chain can bring in terms of innovation, experience and delivery capability.  Dean Graham, from UK Reinforcement supported the session offering insight into the company’s experience of having worked with Skanska and Network Rail since 2010 to deliver two multi-award winning major civil rail projects – the Thameslink widening scheme at London Bridge; Borough Viaduct and the Bermondsey Dive Under. Dean spoke about the challenges of growing his company at a very fast pace, including managing the significant increases in staff requirements and  integrating effectively into the client’s team and adapting to different reporting and management procedures.

John Senior, Technical Sales Manager at Ekspan Limited said “It was very interesting to hear other companies experiences of working on some of the larger projects and helping to prepare us for what is (Hopefully) coming. It was also very refreshing to meet so many senior members of the respective companies who usually we would not get the opportunity to engage with.”

A key message from the session was how important it is for contactors to properly integrate into the client team and develop open, transparent and collaborative relationships.

Mark G E Toye, Estimating Manager, Infrastructure Services at ESG said: “the HSR event highlighted the importance of understanding and involving all of your supply chain partners to enable effective delivery. It is hoped that the Skanska Costain JV will continue to develop this alongside the Competefor process so that these relationships and experiences can be taken forward for the benefit of all involved and ultimately the HS2 project.”

Deb Carson from HSRIL said: “these sessions are designed to encourage candid and focussed discussions about how the wider supply chain can benefit from the development of HSR in the UK. By having our (Tier 1) members in the room, we can really start to unpick some of the challenges that small and medium sized enterprises may face when contracting in to a large project. For example – we had a very interesting discussion around skills, particularly BIM and Digital Engineering, which has led to us linking one of the participants from the day with this specialism in to the National College for HSR – a very positive output from the day.”

After the event, participants were given the opportunity of a site tour.

“The group was informative and gave a real insight into the challenges faced with high speed rail, some real key issues and barriers to adoption were brought to the table which instigated a whole host of problem solving discussions. Well worth getting the relevant people in the room to discuss moving high speed rail forward, great session and hope to attend future events.”

Simon Hatch, BIM Manager at Bridgeway Consulting