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We build consideration for the triple
bottom line commercial, social and
environmental sustainability into every project,
from the outset. Sustainability is part of our
everyday thinking. Its not something we ever
turn off and underpins our entire culture. As this
publication shows, harnessing the transformative
power of technology for the benefit of our clients
is just one result of driving forward sustainability
in everything we do.
Keith Howells
Mott MacDonald Group Chairman


A free, interactive online

tool that helps achieve
retrofit excellence easily
was unveiled at a recent
Mott MacDonald event.

For the materials, minerals

and mining industries, the
time to shape their own low
carbon future is now before
governments step in.

Playstation meets work

station: the gaming industry
has a trick or two to teach

Protecting steel-framed
mansonry-clad structures
is now faster, easier and
more cost-effective than
ever before, thanks to a new
material applied using a
simple grout gun.

In an interlinked world with

globalised supply chains,
infrastructure failures are
no longer isolated incidents.


This 100m clear span

structural arch was erected
in just eight hours and made
remarkable use of BIM.


We laser scanned an
operational steel mill to
build a detailed BIM
landscape that will smooth
a major upgrade project
and become an exceptional
asset management tool.

To combat TB a disease
that afflicts 9M more people
every year the carriers
must first be found. Were
supporting a programme that
found an extra 18,000 people
with the disease in its first
year alone.


There was only one way

in and out when building
this 10km tunnel under
Niagara Falls with the worlds
largest rock tunnel boring
machine, yet the project was
completed nine months early.



10 innovative technologies
that will help advance the
low carbon agenda.


Returning a 50 year old

offshore platform to life
has helped increase
production at a large
oilfield by 30% and
notched up 12.6M hours
worked without a lost
time incident.


Something old, something

new: by retrofitting disused
facilities at this wastewater
treatment plant with cuttingedge technolgy, we boosted
capacity without affecting
footprint, and cut capital
cost by a third.


Change is good, but

disruptive change can be
better. By harnessing that
principle, we developed a
powerful software platform
fast, to do in a day what
used to take weeks.


How do you build the most

seismically-robust bridge in
the world a month faster than
scheduled and US$400M
under budget?

We both designed and

engineered this J-shaped
scientific research facility,
incorporating innovation
and environmental
sensitivity right from
the start.


We got this new maritime

infrastructure shipshape fast
to welcome a new generation
of large cruise liners.

Our interlinked world is at ever

greater risk from cascade failures.
Without better asset management,
climate change will hit the balance sheet.

On 11 December 2005 at Buncefield oil

depot in Hertfordshire, UK, a safety system
designed to prevent petrol tanks overfilling
failed. This triggered an unstoppable chain of
events explosions, a five day fire, destruction
of the neighbouring Maylands business estate,
and an enormous smoke plume.
Dizzyingly diverse consequences resulted: the
smoke prevented landings at Heathrow Airport
and led to closure of the arterial M1 motorway.
The fire destroyed fuel stocks, resulting in
shortages at Heathrow which caused costly
disruptions for international airlines for over
two months. Destruction of the business estate
cost companies more than 70M. One IT firms
premises held data including a 1.4bn payroll
scheme and patient record systems for five
hospitals; all this data was rendered unavailable.
Buncefield illustrates how infrastructure
interdependencies send cascade failures
sweeping into other sectors and countries.
This disaster was caused by system failure, but
theres no reason why the same couldnt result
from floods or extreme temperatures.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) reported recently that
our warming climate is already having dramatic
effects on the manmade environment and

the systems we depend on. Climate change

scientists predict more frequent, intense and
enduring extreme weather events such as heat
waves and flooding. Logically, this will bring
increased risk of cascade failures.
The IPCC identified water, sanitation, energy,
transport and communications as being most
at risk from cascade failures, but any company
with a built asset base can be affected.
Manufacturing and retail can be particularly
affected by transport failure if they rely on
very short delivery lead times. In globalised
supply chains, infrastructure failure can quickly
cascade from the other side of the globe.
Operators and regulators are failing to make
critical assets resilient to climate change.
Asset management must look beyond the
asset in isolation to understand the extent and
complexity of dependency chains, including
their vulnerability to climate change. These
interconnectivities should be identified and,
if they cannot be eliminated, a management
plan developed or redundancy built into the
system to limit cascade potential. Climate
risk assessments by technical experts can
translate complex climate scenarios and risk
assessments into meaningful action plans.
Implementing these plans can be costly,

especially when they involve ageing and densely

situated assets, but society cannot afford to
keep being caught out by cascade failures.
Balance sheets depend on assets being
operational; if they are not, business is at
risk. Utilities may face further penalties
from regulators for service disruption, and
the potential public health costs associated
with water, power and emergency services
disruption cannot be dismissed.
Thirty years of data collected by insurer Munich
Re shows that global losses resulting from
extreme weather events have risen in an eversteepening curve from an average of US$40bn
per year in 1980 to more than US$160bn
in 2012. Unsurprisingly, insurers are now
reassessing how they cover weather risks.
This should be a red flag to industry: risk is
changing, and potential costs are increasing.
Only by taking a comprehensive helicopter
view of assets, people, logistics and products
can operators ensure their operations and by
extension their balance sheets really are fit to
withstand climate change.

Dr Andrew Heather
Water and environment portfolio manager

This article appeared first in The Telegraph


Materials, minerals and mining industries
must confront CO2 emissions to assure
continued commercial viability.
Industrial activities excluding power
generation account for 25% of worldwide
CO2 emissions, according to the International
Energy Agency. Reducing emissions throughout
the materials, minerals and mining (MMM)
industries, which are responsible for a significant
portion of these activities, is an essential step
toward mitigating climate change.
The situation is far from straightforward however.
Carbon-emitting chemical reactions are central to
many industrial processes. Research partnership
Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage reports
that 25% of industrial emissions are inherent to
process chemistry of key materials. While a suite
of carbon-cutting measures is available such
as increasing energy efficiency, making more
use of renewable energy sources and greening

the transport and logistics chains without

addressing the processes themselves, major
carbon reductions in these sectors will remain
a pipe dream.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the
brightest solution, although the technology
is far from mature. Each stage of CCS CO2
capture, compression and transport, and
permanent storage has been demonstrated
in some form, but all three stages have never
been commercially used in conjunction at
an MMM plant.
A chicken and egg situation has crystallised
around the twin problems of immature technology
and lack of demand. Currently, implementing
and operating CCS is expensive. It requires new

chemical plant and new staff, and creates a

parasitic energy demand. Installing CCS plant
also carries considerable financial risk if directly
linked to process operation, where every day of
CCS downtime could cost enormous sums in lost
productivity. And if geological structures suitable
for CO2 sequestration are not located nearby, the
potentially prohibitive transport costs could be
a significant barrier to realisation.
Compounding the problem, there is no business
or regulatory incentive to implement CCS, and
without one there is simply no way the market
will adopt such a costly procedure. A high and
stable carbon price would be a strong incentive,
but this is unlikely to be imposed in the near
future. Moreover, strong carbon pricing would
need to be implemented globally to avoid carbon

leakage, where industrial activity is simply moved

to countries where emissions are cheaper. This is
a major political hurdle in itself.
But there is hope. Some costs will reduce
over time as the technology becomes
commercialised, and localised clusters of CO2emitting plants could capitalise on economies
of scale by sharing transport and storage
infrastructure. Capture, transport and storage
technology is still at a very early development
stage, which means that it can only improve as
adoption brings innovation.
Although currently regulated carbon prices
are too low to drive investment in CCS, new
revenue opportunities could help offset costs
by gaining value from CO2. This is currently
happening in selected fields such as enhanced
oil recovery (EOR), a proven technology that
sees CO2 injected into oil reservoirs to improve
displacement. Alternatively, CO2 could become
a saleable product for manufacturing products
such as plastics and polymers, petrol and diesel,
and carbonated drinks.

Action is needed in both industry and government

to commercialise CCS technology and to create
a market for its adoption. The power sector is
the biggest emitter of carbon and already has a
number of legislative drivers in place. The MMM
industries are next in line. If governments do
push in this direction, regulatory measures could
include technology mandates and standards, with
CCS as a condition of licence to operate and
they could be here in as little as two or three
years, as extreme weather events force a change
in national agendas.
It is governments that have the power to
overcome todays inertia by taking a strategic
lead in CCS development. They also have a role
to play in ensuring adequate funding for CCS
demonstration projects in this sector, especially
in developing countries where finance may be
more elusive.

develop CCS-related expertise which could

become a marketable product in itself and will
equip these organisations to react swiftly to any
future changes in the CCS landscape.
Taking the initiative now will promote the
sustainability of the MMM sector while meeting
governments need for a big solution to carbon.
If we dont break the CCS silence, our changing
climate soon will.
Dr Prem Mahi
Group practice manager for power

In turn, businesses should be looking for

opportunities to exploit CCS, realising efficiencies
by linking up with existing initiatives. As well as
potential new revenue, such enterprises will help



Under the UKs Energy Entrepreneurs

Fund, we are providing technical
and commercial support to 10
organisations to develop marketready technologies that could help
decarbonise energy production.
Were working with government,
financial institutions and industry.
A good idea is nothing without execution, holds a popular saying. Appointed to
the UKs forward-looking Energy Entrepreneurs programme, were working with
a group of entrepreneurs, each of whom have visions of a low carbon future,
to transform their concepts into reality.
Energy Entrepreneurs Fund kicked off in 2013 and is expected to last until
2016. There have been three rounds of funding by the UK Department of
Energy & Climate Change, providing 16M in round one, 19M in round two
and 10M in round three.
Our work involves technical, management and commercial advice, and market
analysis. Were helping each business understand the practicalities of its
prospective markets, and working out how markets could make best use
of their products. Turn over to preview 10 concepts that we hope to see making
news in the next three to five years.
Simon Critten
Development director for thermal and renewable power


from waste
Intervates close coupled
configuration gasification
module turns sewage into
pellet fuel, which is burned
in a combined heat and
power plant. The plant
produces electricity, which
can be sold to the grid,
and heat, which is used
to dewater the incoming
sewage to produce pellets
to fuel the process.

robots install
Many houses in the UK
were traditionally built
with floorboards laid over
uninsulated voids at ground
level. To improve energy
efficiency and reduce heat
loss, many older properties
have been retrofitted with
wall and loft insulation
and upgraded doors and
windows. But floor voids
have generally been
overlooked, partly due to
a dearth of information
about how much heat from
the home escapes through
these spaces, and partly
because of the considerable
disruption involved in taking
up all the floorboards. Q-Bot
is working to address both
problems. The company is
conducting studies using
a series of test homes in
London to analyse heat
losses through the floor
and aims to avoid disruptive
installation by using robots
which are posted into the
underfloor void by removing
the ventilating air bricks.
These devices then unfold
and trundle through the
void, spraying the underside
of the floorboards with
foam insulation. The robots
can be preprogrammed or
remote controlled. They
will be nearly unnoticeable
by the inhabitants of the
property theyre working
at and will cut a typical
installation by two weeks.

Cooling makes
solar panels
Better solvents more efficient
PV panels produce
to capture CO2 electricity from sunlight.
Experts in the emerging
field of carbon capture and
storage (CCS) are working
out how best to capture CO2
emissions from coal and
gas fired power stations,
to allow the facilities
to continue producing
electricity but with far less
impact on the environment.
A popular approach being
investigated uses a solvent
to absorb the CO2 from
the power station exhaust.
The solvent is then heated
to release the CO2, which
can then be compressed
and sent offsite. However,
as much as 50% of a
plants power output can
be required to drive the
process. C-Capture is
working on a new type of
solvent which works at
much lower temperatures.
This will reduce the load
on the power station itself,
making the process much
more energy efficient and
cost-effective. The new
product is also far more
benign than the chemicals
used today, making it better
for health and safety and
the environment too.

It may seem perverse,

but solar panels situated
in the sunniest places can
be inefficient because
they get too hot. A new
solar panel with an inbuilt
heat extraction system,
designed by Natural
Technology Developments,
aims to solve this problem.
The benefits are twofold:
removing the heat lowers
the temperature of the
panel, increasing electricity
production; and the heat
can be used elsewhere,
to reduce load on domestic
boilers, preheat industrial
processes or heat
swimming pools,
for example.

Coal substitute
Antacos hypothermal
carbonisation process
produces a coal substitute
from sewage, garden
rubbish and agricultural
waste. The process mixes
solid waste together, adds
water, and then cooks the
soup. The resulting sludge
is dewatered and turned
into pellet form, suitable for
burning in power stations.
The product could be a
direct substitute for coal in
power stations and a variety
of other industries.

Anaerobic digestion is
a well-used method for
breaking down sewage.
One of the products of the
process is biogas, which
can be used as a fuel to
produce electricity on site,
powering the treatment
plant itself. Blue Sky Bio
has found that electrolysing
sewage before digestion
can produce even more
gas, but developing a
robust and maintenancefree equipment setup is
more challenging. Various
unusual materials are
currently being assessed
for their ability to transmit
the electricity into the
sewage most effectively
while avoiding damage to
the device.

fuel from
whisky waste
Scotland is famed for its
whisky, and a new process
could make the liquor
even more desirable. The
distilling process creates
waste products which, says
Celtic Renewables, could
be converted into a cocktail
of chemicals called ABE
(acetone, butanol, ethelene),
yielding cost-effective
biofuels. This solution could
therefore not only deal with
the waste from the whisky
industry but also provide a
saleable energy byproduct.

Turning the
tide into
energy with
Using the power of the
sea to generate electricity
makes a lot of sense.
Unlike the wind or solar
resources, tidal energy is
constant, but it has proved
difficult to harness. Tidal
turbines have traditionally
been mounted on monopile
or tripod structures, which
are difficult and expensive
to install and which limit
installation to relatively
shallow waters, which arent
always the most effective
places to generate energy.
Sustainable Marine Energy
has developed a solution
using turbines mounted on
subsurface buoys, tethered
to the seabed with cables
and anchors. Construction
difficulty and cost are vastly
reduced, maintenance is
much easier the turbines
can simply be swapped
over and towed to shore
for servicing and the
units can be sited in the
ideal position to maximise
power production.

Better vertical
axis wind
While vertical axis wind
turbines offer many
advantages such as
reducing work-at-height
maintenance by siting the
gearbox and generator
closer to the ground and
presenting a very small
geographical footprint
they have traditionally
been far less efficient than
widely-used horizontal axis
turbines. However, revising
the geometry of the turbine
blades and the method and
material of manufacture
could eliminate the
disparity, believes X-Wind
Power, which is working on
a new vertical axis turbine
to equal the efficiency of
conventional wind turbines.


Cutting CO2
when creating
Precipitated calcium
carbonate, widely used in
the construction and paper
industries, and ammonium
sulphate, which the fertiliser
industry needs, are energy
intensive to produce.
Carbon Cycle is developing
a process that produces
these two in-demand
chemicals by combining
gypsum, ammonia and CO2.
The result is a process
that cuts the CO2 required
to make the materials
compared to conventional
production and could have
wider carbon capture
and storage applications
in the future.





First person simulation, gesture control

and virtual environments for the future
of engineering tools, look no further than
the video games in your front room.

From modest beginnings in the 1970s, the video

game industry has become a major moneyspinner. The Entertainment Software Association
reports that, in 2013, the computer and video
games industry in the US alone generated
revenues of US$21.5bn.
With lucrative business opportunities at stake,
the gaming industry is pushing boundaries
with innovations such as touchscreens, motion
sensors, voice control, ever-improving graphics
capabilities and design quality, and increasingly
sophisticated hardware and software. Its the sort
of stuff that other sectors are just waking up to.

Civil engineering is one
of the industries best
placed to soak up the
benefits of the gaming
worlds technological
innovations. The
possibilities are tantalising:
for example, gesture
control devices like those
seen in the Nintendo
Wii and Microsoft Kinect
consoles offer a more
hands-on way for
designers to work with
3D models. They can
enable construction

workers to navigate and

update BIM models more
accurately and safely in
field conditions where lack
of space and cumbersome
PPE can make it difficult to
use a mouse or keyboard.
Microsoft is researching
ways to incorporate
gesture control sensors
into PCs, and spacecraft
manufacturer SpaceX
has reportedly begun
experimenting with
gesture control on its
3D design models.

BIM can be combined

with game software
engines such as Unity
to make project models
accessible in a similar
style to that used in first
person shooter games.
Designers, clients and
stakeholders can explore
these models from a human
perspective by walking
through them in real time,
which can be particularly
useful for testing sightlines
and access routes. We
have implemented this

technique on a number of
projects, including Severn
Trents Droitwich sewage
treatment works, says
Mott MacDonald senior
civil engineer Peter Davies.
We started with a paper
design review, then moved
toward this interactive
format. The opportunity
to autonomously explore
the model meant Severn
Trent was able to give
much better informed, and
therefore more meaningful,
design feedback.

BIM software packages are

also increasingly borrowing
from the graphic interface
styles of simulation games
such as Sim City. As BIM
product libraries become
more ubiquitous, the
industry is progressing
toward a situation where
designers will be able to
drag and drop design
components and see
project costs rise and fall
in accordance with the
adjustments they make
as they make them.

One of the best examples of crossover between
gaming and BIM lies in the relatively simplistic
game Minecraft. Often described as digital
Lego, it allows users to build structures from
a variety of cubic blocks representing different
materials. Clay, sandstone, wood and iron are
among the many materials options, as well as
products such as doors, stairs and rail tracks.
Players can co-operate via the internet to design
and build together.
Despite its stylised, boxy appearance,
Minecrafts emphasis on collaborative built
environment design makes it something of a
laymans BIM. This was spotted by the UN,
which has earmarked 30 projects for consultation
under the global Block by Block programme, a
partnership between the UN Human Settlements
Programme (UN-Habitat) and Minecrafts
developer, Mojang, to increase participation
in the design of public space refurbishments.
In countries including Haiti, Nepal, India and


Kenya, young people have been invited to group

workshops where they are presented with a
Minecraft model of an underperforming local
public space and invited to remodel it to their
satisfaction. These designs are then interpreted
by architects.
Community participation is key, but it can
be very difficult to engage younger people,
says UN-Habitat digital projects officer Pontus
Westerberg. By using Minecraft, we can draw in
people who may otherwise have been excluded.
Children as young as 12 have participated
in Block by Block and, despite Minecrafts
limitless design potential, many of the young
participants proposals are eminently realistic.
Ive been surprised by how sensible the designs
are, Pontus says. In Mexico we worked with
over 1000 kids, and the vast majority of their
suggestions were things you could take away
and actually implement.

Engineering has found it difficult in recent

years to attract young people, says Richard
Shennan, BIM champion at Mott MacDonald.
Progressing these sorts of exciting
technologies and interfaces will help the
sector seem more relevant to the modern
world, and prevent youngsters thinking that
theyre entering an industry stuck in the
middle of the last century. Connections with
gaming technology can move us forward while
attracting new faces, new skills and new ways
of thinking.
With gaming platforms and technologies
developing at pace, further crossovers
between the worlds of gaming and the
built environment are likely to emerge in
the coming years.
Richard Shennan
Group practice leader for BIM


Weve developed a new material
that makes installing corrosionbusting cathodic protection to steel
framed buildings cheaper, easier
and more sustainable.
Masonry clad, steel framed
structures sprang up in cities
all over the world from the
1880s to the 1940s. It was
the construction method of
choice for the great civic and
commercial buildings of the
age, many of which are now
heritage structures.
But theres a problem with steel:
corrosion. The rust produced
expands to many times the
volume of the original steel.
The forces created displace the
stonework, resulting in unsightly
cracking and even loss of
structural integrity. We pioneered
the use of electrochemical
cathodic protection in the 1990s
to tackle this problem, but
the process has been limited
in application and required
specialist installers until now.

The process of corrosion
effectively generates a series
of tiny batteries within steel.
At the anode end of each battery,
electrons are released and metal
is lost. At the opposite end, the
cathode, electrons are taken up,
which provides protection to the
metal. This is where the phrase
cathodic protection (CP) is
taken from. The CP process
prevents steel from corroding by
passing a small electrical current

through it to transform all the

anodes into cathodes.
The most widely used system
for steel framed heritage
structures has been discrete
anodes, explains Paul Lambert,
who heads up Mott MacDonalds
materials team. Pencil-sized
titanium rods coated with mixed
metal oxide are installed from
inside or outside a building,
linked together and used to pass
a low voltage DC current through
the masonry to the steel.
Paul goes on: As far back as
1997, we designed a CP system
for Londons Gloucester Road
Underground Station. The
buildings glazed terracotta
faade and needle joints dictated
that the anodes were installed
from the inside. In 1999, we
installed 3700 anodes from the
exterior of Arkwright House in
Manchester and made good the
Portland Stone faade.
While these systems are still
working today, they required
significant expertise and
experience to design and
implement. Installing CP into
the mortared joints between
masonry blocks would have
been much more straightforward,
but required an entirely new
type of material.

+ ve
1. Rake out existing mortar

Geopolymer mortar was
the answer. Geopolymer
is essentially artificial stone
manufactured using a range
of industrial byproducts,
Paul explains. Early geopolymers
had to be heated in order to
react, making them impractical
for site-based faade repair and
protection. When Professor
Mangat at the UKs Sheffield
Hallam University developed
a geopolymer that cured at
room temperature, an
opportunity was created.
As a visiting professor at the
university, I was able to work with
Professor Mangat and a team
that included contractor C-Probe
Systems, PhD student Chinh
Nguyen and Mott MacDonald
infrastructure specialists,
Paul explains.
While geopolymers made sense
as a CP application method,
they are natural insulators;
the conduction of electricity is

2. Install feedwire and apply

geopolymer mortar

3. Switch on low voltage DC current,

with the feedwire becoming the anode
and the steel frame the cathode

essential for CP. Our solution was

to add chopped carbon fibres to
the mix, inducing conductivity,
increasing tensile strength,
controlling shrinkage and
improving flexure.

It is chemically stable and

benign to the surrounding

The fibres are recycled from

the automotive and aviation
industries, and the geopolymer
itself is manufactured using
blast furnace slag from power
stations, says Paul. So the
material has great sustainability

Its durable, sustainable and

compared to other CP systems
more cost-effective

Our geopolymer is used as a

repointing mortar, introducing
marked advantages over
conventional systems:
Installation avoids drilling
potentially thousands of holes,
reducing hand-arm vibration
issues for installers and
mitigating heritage concerns
Installation is simple and
can be carried out by the
masons, removing the need for
additional specialist tradesmen

It can be used on any masonry

clad, steel framed structure

A low voltage current is applied

once installation is complete.

When the 1930s stone clad,
steel frame structure of Leeds
Civic Hall, UK, began to show
corrosion-related problems, it
offered the perfect opportunity
to trial our new CP system. The
old mortar was first raked out
and a feedwire laid in the gaps.
Then, the geopolymer was mixed
on site and gunned in, just as
it would be for any repointing
exercise. Lastly, the low voltage
DC current was induced, making
the feedwire positive and the steel
frame negative. The system has
been shown to work perfectly.

The first commercial application
of our CP geopolymer mortar
system was to the oldest
skyscraper in Kansas City, US
the Commerce Trust Building,
which was designed and built
in 1906. The main entrance
was showing signs of
displacement and cracking.
Local engineers were keen
to use CP but were reluctant
to drill holes into the historic
structure which was masonry
clad both inside and out. As
there was no hidden rear face
to the entrance, holes to install
anodes could not be drilled
from the inside either. This made
the project a natural candidate
for our geopolymer mortar
CP system, which has been
installed and commissioned,
and is working well.
Paul Lambert
Technical director, materials
and corrosion engineering


A free, interactive online tool that guides stakeholders through
retrofit options caused quite a stir when it was presented at a
recent Mott MacDonald event.
Excellent retrofit should be achievable on
projects of all sizes and budgets, says Adrian
Leaman, co-founder of the Usable Buildings Trust.
That can be easier said than done, however.
Building retrofit is no simple matter, when every
alteration has potential unintended consequences
elsewhere. Adding loft insulation can increase
electrical fire risk, for example; installing air
source ground heat pumps can create significant
noise pollution; and draughtproofing windows can
result in inadequate ventilation. Untangling this
web of impacts can be challenging for experts,
let alone laymen.
Help is now at hand in the form of a free tool:
the interactive, web-based Responsible Retrofit
Guidance Wheel. After inputting information
on their buildings heritage type, condition,
weather exposure and energy consumption
as well as their own levels of knowledge
users can browse a wide range of possible
retrofit measures and immediately see their
potential impacts and risks.


The information is delivered graphically,

Adrian explains. Arrows show the category
of each potential impact and traffic light colour
coding inspired by the UK Met Offices weather
warning service indicates their severity. The
tools visual appeal is central to its usability.
Alongside this, a list summarises each impact,
suggests mitigating measures, and provides
links to relevant guidance, research and case
study documents. The tool also points out the
advantages of each retrofit option. Users can
then generate a customised printable report.
The tool makes complex retrofit information
freely and quickly accessible, which is valuable
not only for laymen dipping their toes into a
complex area but also for professionals such
as planners considering proposals, and for use
as a teaching aid. People want to know simple
answers to difficult questions, says Adrian.
Rather than drowning in information, this tool
is a way to paddle through what they need
to know.

The tool was developed between Adrian

and the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance,
using funding from the UK Department of Energy
and Climate Change.
Ultimately, this helps to ensure a systemic and
holistic approach to retrofit design, application
and use, Adrian concludes.
Adrian Leaman presented this subject at
Mott MacDonalds Refurb, Retrofit or Rebuild
seminar, during Green Sky Thinking Week, a
series of events that took place from 28 April
to 2 May and which were designed to advance
innovative and sustainable built environment
Claire Wildfire
Group technical director for buildings


Demothballing an offshore facility built in 1967
was tricky, but will help supercharge oilfield production.


When our client, the oilfield operator ADMAOPCO, embarked on a suite of upgrades to
lift oilfield production by 100,000 barrels of
oil per day, plans included restoring a disused
platform: the Zakum Central Super Complex.
The facility was first commissioned in 1967
and mothballed in 1986 bringing it back to
life was a significant challenge.


We project managed the demothballing and

recomissioning of the complex, which called
for designing, fabricating and installing new
topside facilities, structural strengthening
and replacing now-obsolete electrical and
communications systems.
An accommodation module with living
quarters capable of housing 80 people was
included among the new platforms. The
3500t unit had to be installed on existing
legs, which required thorough analysis of
their condition and significant reinforcement.

Another deck, weighing 3250t, was

introduced to house water treatment and
injection systems and power generation.
Thirty year old electrical, telecoms and HVAC
systems received a ground-up overhaul,
including the VHF radio, telephone system,
and LAN data networks. We replaced and
upgraded transformers, switchboards and
cables and installed a new 52m tall antenna.
Elsewhere, work included modifying existing
separators and scrubbers, and installing new
booster, main oil line and fire water pumps.

As the oilfield is operational, installation

had to be carefully planned to assure
worker safety and minimise disruption. Our
stringent approach to risk identification and
management led to 12.6M hours worked
without a lost time incident. Deploying
the rehabilitated platform will help expand
capacity to 425,000 bopd: thats a 30% boost
driven by a facility nearly 50 years old.

The Lower Zakum oilfield is located

84km north west of Abu Dhabi, UAE. It
was discovered in 1963 and has reserves
estimated to total 17.2M barrels.

Hisham Alami
Managing director, oil and gas, Abu Dhabi





We are helping assure the

success of a global programme that aims to
eradicate the spread of tuberculosis, resulting
in a 33% increase in disease detection in the
first year alone.

Client Stop TB Partnership



The first wave of TB

Reach funding resulted
in projects that covered
114M people and found
an additional 18,043
TB cases people who
would have gone on to
infect others and who
would likely have died.
Contagious and deadly,
tuberculosis is one of the
oldest diseases to afflict
humankind. Today, TB
kills three people every
minute. Many of these are
in poor or disadvantaged
communities, but
infection is also fast
resurfacing in the
developed world where it
was once thought to have
been almost eradicated.
Although the disease is

curable with a course of

drugs, access to effective
treatment is limited.
Prevention is therefore key
to solving the problem:
finding people who
are infected is vitally

TB should not exist its
a well-known disease with

established and proven

cures, says Gemma
Nicholas, project manager
at Mott MacDonald.
Yet, the World Health
Organisation estimates
that around a third of all
people who contract the
disease are not diagnosed
or effectively treated.
Thats some 3M people
every year. Detection
and early detection
especially is vital, but is

particularly challenging
in many places.
National healthcare
programmes in
developing or war-torn
countries often rely
on people travelling to
clinics. But sporadic or
absent symptoms makes
self-diagnosis difficult,
while health facilities may
be many miles away.
Together, these factors
mean that TB is not
identified, not caught and
can spread unchecked.
Enter TB Reach, a
programme that provides
funding through grants
of up to US$1M to
support or scale up locally
created solutions that
make use of innovative
technologies and
techniques to find TB.
Finding infected people is
the first of four essential
steps identified by the
Stop TB Partnership, an
international association
of 1000 NGOs, civil

society organisations,
government programmes,
research foundations and
private companies.
Steps two to four involve
identifying new ways
to control its spread,
harnessing cost-effective
technology and raising
awareness of the disease.
Funding for the TB Reach
programme is drawn from
a CA$120M grant from
the Canadian Department
of Foreign Affairs, Trade &
TB Reach offers one
year grants to applicants
already present in the
target country, Gemma
explains. It launched in
January 2010; the first
four waves of funding
have helped deliver 143
projects in 46 countries,
pinpointing vulnerable
or disadvantaged
populations and places
where the disease can
spread rapidly, such as
workplaces, schools
and prisons.

Projects are supported

in countries where it is
difficult or dangerous
to work, such as
Afghanistan, Nigeria,
Pakistan and South

Our role is to monitor
and evaluate live projects,
says Gemma. Were able
to spot problems early
and help keep everything
on track, ensuring that
people are getting the
best possible help and
providing quantifiable
evidence of results to the
donor organisations.
Our team must
understand the context of
the projects, geographies
and populations in order
to help fine tune activities.
We work closely with the
Royal Tropical Institute
(KIT) in the Netherlands,
calling on a team of
TB specialists based in
Europe, Africa and Asia,
Gemma explains. Each
consultant develops

intimate knowledge of
the local geographies
and demographics of the
projects in their portfolio,
enabling them to suggest
solutions that strengthen
project performance and
contribute to success.
Each project reports
quarterly. Our team
produces a final technical
report summarising the
results after 12 months of
project implementation.
Every piece of work is
peer reviewed.
Streamlining the process
has been important for
efficiency and costeffectiveness. Gemma
explains: Working
closely with our client,
we designed and built
an online interface that
allows the in-country
programmes to upload
data easily and when
is most convenient
rather than at set times.
We download it when
required, making the
collating and analysing

of information fast and

The rigour of our
approach has led our
client to involve us at a
much earlier stage of the
programme than originally
envisaged. We are now
supporting proposal
reviews, to identify any
potential issues that
need to be resolved and
maximise the impact
of the project, says
Gemma. It makes sense
for us to be involved early
because we know what
well be looking for at the
monitoring stage, and
we can spot weaknesses
based on our wealth of
experience under the
programme so far.

TB Reach has delivered
marked results so far.
The first wave of funding
resulted in projects that
covered a total population
of 114M and found an
additional 18,043 people
with TB people who

would have gone on to

infect others and who
would likely have died.
Thats a 33% increase in
case detection compared
to the previous year.
A significant step forward
in TB detection has been
achieved with the use of
GeneXpert technology,
says Gemma. The
instruments can return
a diagnosis in just two
hours; conventionally,
swabs must be examined
under a microscope,
which involves sending
them away to a lab for
analysis, which might
stretch the entire process
into days or even weeks.

We will continue to
support and evaluate the
programme, ensuring
that funding is being best
used to find the missing
3M people living with TB,
Gemma concludes.
Gemma Nicholas
Health project specialist

The TB Reach
programme has bought
GeneXpert equipment
in bulk, to bring the
unit price down through
economy of scale. The
machines can deployed
as truck-mounted
installations too, meaning
that the laboratory can be
taken to rural areas.



Building a 10km tunnel under one of the worlds

most popular tourist destinations was no mean feat. We helped
introduce several world firsts on the Niagara Tunnel that cut
schedule by nine months and cost by CA$130M.

Client Ontario Power Generation


The majestic Niagara River, which forms part

of the boundary between Canada and the US,
cascades over a series of the most famous
waterfalls in the world. While tourists flock
to marvel at the thundering waterway, both
countries have harnessed the 100m height
differential and the rivers flow to generate
power. On the Canadian side are the Sir
Adam Beck hydroelectric plants, the first
of which was opened in 1922. The second,

larger facility began operation in 1954;

it is fed by two tunnels that divert water
from the river above the falls, channelling
it through hydraulic turbines at the station
before the water is released back into the
river downstream. Canadas most populous
province wants to meet all of its power needs
through clean energy; increasing generating
capacity at these facilities has long been a
priority. To do so, more water is needed.

Our North American infrastructure business

Hatch Mott MacDonald teamed up with coparent Hatch to act as owners representative
for a third tunnel, developing the concept
design and setting out requirements for the
design and build contract. The projects
extraordinary scale and complexity called
for multiple innovations through design and
construction, and a comprehensive risk
management strategy.

Sir Adam Beck GS No.1

Sir Adam Beck GS No.2


Horseshoe Falls

New tunnel outlet

A 14.4m diameter tunnel boring machine

(TBM), built by Robbins and christened
Big Becky, was employed to excavate the
tunnel. When it was commissioned, Big
Becky was the largest hard rock TBM in the
world, standing at the height of a four-storey
building and weighing 4000t. That brought
a number of issues.
The ground conditions were very difficult
to work in, John explains. The rock was
very fractured and unpredictable, resulting
in continual overbreak in the crown the
top of the tunnel that slowed progress
considerably in the initial phases of boring.
Much more rock was coming down than
anticipated, and the falling debris created a
real hazard. It required a substantial rethink
to achieve success.

New tunnel entry

Horseshoe Falls

We helped devise multiple solutions,

including redesigning the foremost upper
working area of the TBM to protect workers
and critical equipment; adding more tools
at the invert (the bottom of the tunnel) to
clear the larger volumes of rock debris and
load it onto the conveyor belt; introducing
additional horizontal pipe umbrella supports
(a method whereby rods are driven into the
ground ahead of the tunnel face to create a
canopy under which to bore); utilising rock
bolts, steel mesh and shotcrete applied from
the TBM train to create the initial lining; and,
ultimately, adopting a revised alignment to
put the tunnel crown in more stable rock.

single entrance at the outlet end of the

tunnel. In order to allow work to take place
concurrently, we designed operational
equipment that allowed traffic to pass to and
from the TBM, John explains. Equipment
working at the crown of the tunnel had
openings underneath them at invert level;
equipment working at the tunnel invert had
bridges over them.
To limit traffic in the tunnel, all rock removal
some 1.7M cu m was carried away from
the face using a conveyor that stretched for
11km to the disposal site. Spoil is available
free of charge to the local brick industry, to
reduce the need for open-cast clay mining.
The remainder of the rock is expected to be
used as fill for highway construction.


The waterproof membrane installed between
the initial and final linings was made from a
double layer of a material called polyolefin,
protected with a layer of geotextile fleece
from the rough shotcrete lining. The fleece
itself was backed by a thin plastic membrane
to allow grout to flow behind it.
We had to be sure that it was fit for purpose
and without any defects. That called for
testing it in position, John says. We used a
first-of-its-kind electrical testing system. The
polyolefin layer and the fleece are conductive.
We applied a high voltage, low amperage,


To complete the lining, a two stage grouting
process was used to ensure the concrete liner
wouldnt crack or leak in operation. Grouting
was important to offset the internal water
pressure, which will reach 14 bar, John says.
Low-pressure cement grout filled any voids
and imperfections within the concrete lining.
A second stage of grouting, with pressures
of up to 20bar, was carried out through
a system of grout-hose rings installed
between the initial shotcrete lining and the
waterproofing membrane. This placed the
lining in compression. Fixed monitoring
sections were surveyed by gantry-mounted,
revolving laser scanners capable of detecting
deformations of just 0.5mm in real time. This
ensured that the unreinforced concrete lining
was not over stressed. Prestress grouting
had never been used on a tunnel of this
size before, says John. The full face laser
measurement and control of the pressures
were developed specifically for this project.


The project was completed with zero impact
on the water table, the lake and the river
water, John says. But the environmental
aspect is not the only success story. We
developed a comprehensive risk identification
system that required the contractor, designer
and engineers to contribute to a continuously
updated project risk register, which was used

To make things even tougher, all materials

in and muck out had to pass through a

New tunnel entry


The tunnel lining had to be completely

watertight to prevent fresh water from
entering the surrounding rock mass. The
Queenston formation, through which
the deepest section of the tunnel is
constructed, swells in the presence of fresh
water, which could cause severe loading on
the tunnel lining. We countered this with
a two-pass tunnelling system to build the
structure, and specified a final lining that
includes an impermeable membrane.

Building such a large tunnel at Niagara

Falls was anything but straightforward,
explains John Tait, project manager at Hatch
Mott MacDonald. All proposals had to pass
rigorous examination due to the sensitive
nature of the location and a 90 year design
life. Additionally:

Groundwater in the host rock formations

is particularly corrosive, which could
adversely affect the steel reinforcement
commonly used in tunnel linings, leading
us to select an unreinforced 600mm thick
concrete lining.

Environmental assessment approval ruled

out excavation by blasting and locating
access shafts within the city limits. These
constraints made boring the only option,
and restricted tunnel entry and egress to
a single point on our clients land.


The tunnel had to be as hydraulically

efficient as possible bends, constrictions
and rough surfaces all rob potential
generating energy. Smooth-faced steel
forms were used to cast the lining, and
joints were spaced 12.5m apart to produce
the lowest possible coefficient of friction.

Waterproof membrane
Tunnel segment lining

electric current through them: any flaw in the

main membrane was exposed by an electrical
short. The resultant singeing was visible with
heat cameras. Any sections that didnt pass
the test could be simply repaired or replaced,
meaning that we could be sure that the entire
membrane system was fully operational
before pouring the final lining.
The 600mm thick unreinforced liner was built
by pouring concrete in situ. Delivery used a
variety of methods: at one point the concrete
was pumped horizontally for 1.4km, requiring
very precise mix design and quality control of
concrete production, explains John.

to track developing risks and mitigating

measures. The approach resulted in just half
the lost-time injuries of the provincial average
and zero life threatening injuries, John says.
The initial tunnelling challenges set back both
the schedule and budget, which were revised
early in construction. But the innovative
approach we drove led to completion nine
months ahead of the revised schedule and
CA$130M under budget.
John Tait
Principal project manager


Photos: Ontario Power Generation

The Niagara Tunnel is 10.2km long and

14.44m in diameter. Built by Austrian
contractor Strabag AG, it runs 140m below
the city of Niagara Falls at its deepest, tracing
a parallel route to the two existing tunnels
from above Horseshoe Falls to Queenston
downstream. The new tunnel can carry
500cu m/s of water, enough to unlock
150MW of additional generating capacity,
providing 1.5TWh of electricity to power
160,000 homes.

Photos: Ontario Power Generation

Clockwise from top left: assembling the worlds

largest hard rock tunnel boring machine; a first-ofits-kind electrically tested waterproof membrane
system; limited entry and egress called for innovative
configuration of tunnel structures and vehicles to allow
access along the tunnel; laser scanners measured the
concrete liner in real time to ensure that high pressure
grouting did not compromise the segmental lining.




The plant processes effluent for 70,000
people but our client wanted to up capacity
to meet the needs of 100,000 people

Geology is challenging: volcanic activity

means the air is corrosive and the footprint


We retrofitted
disused facilities at a wastewater
treatment plant in New Zealand
with state-of-the-art technology,
increasing capacity by 40%,
cutting capital cost by a third,
meeting stringent environmental
regulations and all without
expanding the site footprint.
Client Rotorua District Council

We retrofitted this disused 1970s tank

with cutting-edge technology, delivering
increased capacity without requiring
new structures


Our solution cut capital cost from

NZ$15M to NZ$10M

Just 5% of biosolid material will go

to landfill, potentially saving NZ$1M
a year in operating costs


The geysers, volcanoes, hot mud pools,
steam vents and 18 lakes of the Rotorua
District, on New Zealands North Island,
combine to make for a spectacular
tourist destination. The geography is
challenging when it comes to building
infrastructure, however. This was just
one facet of an exacting wastewater
treatment plant project.
New Zealand engineering firm AWT,
which joined Mott MacDonald in 2014,
has been working at the Rotorua
wastewater treatment works for the past
10 years, helping owner Rotorua District
Council squeeze as much capacity
as possible from the facility. The site
processes effluent for around 70,000
people and is critical to preserving the
areas natural beauty.
Yet, numerous communities around
Lake Rotorua arent connected to the

sewer system. Our client wanted to

expand the plant to process the waste
from these additional residents and to
prepare for additional demand imposed
by population growth. That meant
upping capacity to meet the needs
of more than 100,000 people.
The project was complicated by several
factors, though: tighter environmental
standards had been set, the land
available to build on was severely
limited due to active geothermal ground
conditions, and volcanic activity meant
air was heavy with sulphides, making
corrosion a real issue.


The answers lay in marrying obsolete
equipment with cutting-edge technology.
Wed got to know the site very well
working to optimise the operation

and capacity of existing assets at the plant, explains

Kevan Brian, our technical director. We spotted the
opportunity to make use of an old concrete tank left
over from the 1970s. It had been decommissioned
decades ago, but we realised that we could retrofit
it with avant-garde technology meaning we could
deliver the additional capacity and performance
required without adding to the site footprint.
The technology we knew could do the trick is called an
advanced membrane bioreactor (MBR), which passes
wastewater through a semi-permeable membrane to
filter out particulate material, reducing the size of the
aeration chambers required and eliminating the need
for settlement tanks.
Deploying it here required first refurbishing the
doughnut-shaped concrete structure, which had an
inner pool and an outer race. We then installed a liner,
sealed the inside with resin, and located four square
membrane trains, sourced from GE, at the centre of the
doughnut (where a clarifier had previously been), with
the biological process configured around the outside.

Capital cost
Says Kevan: The new technology
could deliver the required capacity
with a footprint about half of that of a
more conventional approach. Adapting
the old tank to fit the system avoided
the need to build new structures, at
a stroke avoiding the geotechnical
complications posed by the difficult
ground conditions.
Volcanic activity in the area means
that the air is laden with hydrogen
sulphide, which introduces corrosion
problems normally associated with
the wastewater itself. This required
particular consideration when specifying
construction materials and electrical
components; our solutions included
installing air purification systems in
buildings that house electrical switchgear, and coating field cables with tin to
avoid corrosion. The plant has a design
life of 25 years.


The project marks the first time that
advanced MBR technology has been
used at this scale in New Zealand.
Our client, like many small councils,
simply didnt have the experience of
using this sort of technology, says
Kevan. However, weve used this type
of technology on six other projects in
the country. Even though the largest of
those is only around half the capacity
of this project, we could identify where
and how to make best use of the MBR.
This experience meant that our client
trusted us to design the facility, monitor
construction, and commission it too.
This innovative solution required a little
more investment at the design stage,
but it paid off later on in the project
when our solution cut capital cost from
NZ$15M to NZ$10M, and resulted in a
plant that exceeds environmental targets.

Innovation hasnt finished yet with the Rotorua plant.

A pilot project trialling a new sludge treatment process
will be scaled up and used here for the first time in
the country. The research, a joint project between the
national government and our client, has yielded a high
pressure, high temperature method of processing the
solid effluent output of the plant.
The result is that just 5% of the biosolid material will
go to landfill, Kevan explains. The rest is converted
into a nutrient rich product that can be sold to the
fertiliser industry, and ethanol, which can be used in the
treatment process itself. The new process could save
the plant NZ$1M a year in operating costs.
Kevan concludes: This site demonstrates clearly that
investing a little more at the design stage of a project
can save an awful lot more in capital and operating
costs later on.
Kevan Brian
Technical director and process specialist

Adapting the old tank (far left) to fit the advanced membrane
bioreactor system (left) removed the need to build new
structures, at a stroke avoiding the geotechnical complications
posed by the difficult ground conditions, delivering increased
capacity and reducing capital cost by one third.



Swiss-based aircraft charter

and engineering company
Jet Aviation wanted to
upgrade its maintenance
facilities at Singapores
Seletar Airport, which
caters for private jets. We
were appointed by architect
Lu & Wo to undertake
detailed design of a hangar,
workshops, offices and
associated systems as

part of a new 5000sq m

facility that would also
need to incorporate the
existing structure. The
hangar features a swooping
roofline that creates a
seamless connection
between the old and
the new, explains Greg
Cox, Mott MacDonald
project manager. The
new structure triples

existing capacity, meets

maintenance requirements
for Boeing, Bombardier,
Gulfstream and Nextant
aircraft, and majors on
operational efficiency,
buildability and visual flair.


For speed, the stressed
steel arch from contractor
ASI was selected. Using this

system, prefabricated steel

structural truss sections
are assembled on the
ground. Pin joints connect
elements that make up
each arch rib one end of
each rib is anchored; the
other is mounted on rails.
Steel tendons are then fed
through the bottom chord
of the trusses and pulled
taut by hydraulic jacks. This

pulls the rail-mounted ends

inwards and forces the
centre upwards, popping
the arch into shape in just
eight hours. Using the
stressed arch method,
services could be installed
in the prefabricated
structure at ground level,
including lighting and
the fire deluge system,
Greg explains. This cut

the safety risks and time

involved in working at
height the arch is 25m
at its tallest, around seven
storeys high. Fitting out all
services prior to erection,
and the erection method
itself, allowed the overall
programme to be reduced
by two thirds compared to
conventional approaches,
and has created an arch

with an internal clear span

of 100m.

BIM is standard for our
large technical projects
and it is also becoming
compulsory for government
submissions in Singapore.
However, setting up the
detailed models can be

time intensive, and neither

the architect nor owner had
fully exploited the benefits
of BIM on a project before.
To build confidence in the
technology, we explained
how implementing a
BIM-first approach would
yield many benefits,
including the ability to
share comprehensive
information in real time

with partners around the

globe. Once our client was
convinced of the benefits
that the technology would
offer, we worked together
to use BIM to model the
piles and foundations,
the entire stressed arch
and all installed systems,
comments Greg. A 10 zone
deluge system capable of
discharging 1600cu m of

foam per hour provides a

vital line of defence against
fire, a very real risk with
part-fuelled aircraft entering
the hangar. We used the
BIM model to undertake
geometric and hydraulic
analysis of the fire deluge
system, and to simulate
emergency scenarios to
demonstrate how well it
would work, says Greg.

Pop up hangar

We modelled a prefabricated
stressed steel arch solution in BIM to assure integrity,
cut work at height and build an aircraft maintenance
hangar in Singapore in just eight hours.

Jet Aviation

Client Lu & Wo

Ground pits contain specialist equipment
needed for servicing aircraft. We created
virtual units in a BIM environment and used
them to simulate maintenance operations. In
doing so we found that, by reconfiguring their
placement, we could reduce the total number
of units from eight to two, saving cost.



BIM also helped us to hide

the pipework connecting
the hangar fire system to
the foam tanks located
at the rear of the site, to
retain the clean, clutter-free
appearance important to
the architectural concept.
In the event of fire,
regulations require the
discharged foam to
be contained to avoid

contamination of the
environment and sewer
system. Typically this
requires large underground
tanks to collect the foam,
which are expensive to
build. Instead, we designed
the aprons to act as
containment structures: if
discharged, the foam will be
physically unable to spread
past the apron boundaries,

and rainwater drains will

automatically close to stop
foam entering the sewers.
This solution cut costs while
meeting local regulations.

CUT BY 75%
Maintenance hangars
include ground pits
structures that contain
specialised components

needed during servicing,

such as power supplies and
compressed air. These are
set into the hangar floor.
Pits are usually supplied as
complete units but, on this
project, the components
were purchased separately
and the casings were built
on site. We worked closely
with Cavotec, Jet Aviations
selected supplier, to model

every component and

import them into the BIM
model, to ensure that the
parts would all fit, Greg
says. Using the model
to simulate maintenance
operations, we reconfigured
the layout of the ground
pits and added service
trenches around the
perimeter: by doing so,
we reduced the number

of ground pits from eight to

two. This cut cost without
compromising capacity.

Our use of BIM enabled
information to be easily
shared between the
projects multiple partners
across the globe. Our lead
team in Singapore liaised

with our offices in London

for fire system design
and called upon our North
American infrastructure
business, Hatch Mott
MacDonald, for peer
review. We helped facilitate
strong communication
with Jet Aviation, based in
Switzerland; stressed arch
designer ASI in Australia;
main contractor Holmes

Construction from New

Zealand; and Cavotec, the
German manufacturer of
ground pit components.
By working closely with
Mott MacDonald, weve
been able to draw upon
the companys wealth of
experience to develop a
comprehensive BIM model
that fully integrates the
engineering solutions

needed to achieve Jet

Aviations objectives,
concludes Tang Sau Kit,
director at Lu & Wo.
Together, weve used the
sophisticated technology
to realise significant and
lasting value for our client.
Greg Cox
M&E director, Singapore

Above: using the stressed arch, a 25m tall hangar with a

100m internal clear span was created in just eight hours.
Right: this BIM model details the 5000sq m development.
Viewed from the opposite face to that in the picture on the
previous page, it shows the existing hangar incorporated
under the new curving roof on the left hand side; the red
pipework of the fire deluge system mounted between
the structural ribs of the arch; and the two ground pits,
clearly visible in the floor space of the main hangar. The
mass of coloured components in the centre of the diagram
indicates where the offices and workshops are located.



Photo: Jet Aviation

Photo: Jet Aviation

Clockwise from top left: a comprehensive fire deluge

system minimises the risks associated with part-fuelled
aircraft entering the hangar; the BIM model of the
ground pit casings and internal components; the BIM
model showing the foundations required for the new
hangar and associated structures.




We used disruptive change
to develop a tool that cuts the time for producing
Tripod education survey reports by 95% and cost
by 15% and we did it in just two weeks.

us to deliver results for Tripod, says Bolek

Kurowski, data manager at Cambridge
Education, who was charged with tuning
up the systems used for handling data and
producing reports. Dealing with the paper
surveys was causing bottlenecks. It involved
accessing servers, figuring out which data
came from which client, downloading the
necessary files, and then inputting the data
into Excel spreadsheets. A more integrated,
automated approach was vital.


Tripod is a survey method that enables

millions of students in the US to provide
feedback about their experiences in school.
Assessment of this feedback is used to
produce reports that offer insight into school
life, teaching practices and classroom
learning conditions, greatly aiding school
improvement. Our specialist education
consultancy, Cambridge Education, is
responsible for developing and refining the
Tripod survey assessment process, which
has experienced an exponential increase in
demand in the past two years. We went from
supporting tens of thousands of surveys in
one year to more than a million the next,
explains Renee Chandonnet, our business
manager for the Tripod Project.
The record growth threatened to overwhelm
existing systems, including the evaluation
and report production process, which
was carried out by external companies
employing laborious manual procedures
and a broad range of standalone software
tools. Complexities posed by interfacing
across this supply chain had driven up the
time and cost involved in producing reports,
and had adversely affected accuracy. As the
number of surveys grew, so did the scale
of the challenge. Projects being worked on
simultaneously resulted in several hundred
thousand survey responses being returned
by 75 school districts. Some of these
areas covered just one school, while others
included as many as 1400.
It was a tough situation, as constantly
growing demands were being placed on

The biggest pressures were constrained

resources and time we didnt have the luxury
of shutting down while we devised a solution,
nor did we have an unlimited pot of money to
employ external specialists, Bolek explains.
But most technology start-ups face similar
pressures, and I knew we could learn from
their innovative thinking and techniques to
achieve success.
Our team also looked for inspiration to the
success of skunkworks small internal
teams at large companies that can escape
conventional corporate structures to
produce radical innovations. We created
an environment where we were free to
experiment and to learn from other sectors,
which allowed a far faster and more flexible
approach than many of our competitors are
able to take, Bolek says.
Our solution drew on open-source software
rapid development tools and services built
to meet the needs of developers. They are
reliable as the software codes are used by
large, active communities of developers so
bugs are easily found and quickly resolved.
We combined open-source software with
cloud computing, enabling us to build
a secure platform for data storage and
exchange without having to invest in technical
infrastructure, Bolek says. The data itself is
stored on regularly backed-up servers that can
only be accessed with special permission.
It took Bolek just two weeks to build
and test the survey assessment report
prototype, with the first reports delivered to
clients shortly afterwards. The new process
quickly gained excellent feedback, spurring
further development.


The resulting tool Survey Manager stores
information in a more structured fashion
compared to the previous, manual system,
and it automatically checks for new data on
a daily basis, explains Bolek.
Automating, organising and integrating all
Tripod Project survey data in this way has
optimised the entire process and greatly
reduced the time it takes to produce reports.
Were now able to manage the complete
report production process internally using
Survey Manager, Bolek says. Bringing the
process in-house means accuracy can be
better assured, too.
Transferring the data itself from the paper
surveys to our digital tools is handled using
high performance scanners, which are fast
and accurate. Prior to Survey Manager it took
around two weeks to process the data from
one school survey and produce a report. The
data from a survey can now be processed
and a more accurate, reliable report delivered
back to the school in just one day a 95%
time saving. Whats more, weve been able to
pass on the cost savings that have resulted
from the faster process, reducing prices for
clients by up to 15% on average.


Tripod Project business manager Renee
Chandonnet comments: It was an amazing
transformation. With limited funds and
resources, we have tied together different
software, designed a database and created
the architecture for managing the huge flow
of information into that database. This year,
we anticipate handling five million surveys
and were more than ready.
Building Survey Manager could be compared
to constructing an aeroplane while flying
it, says Bolek. But weve succeeded in
developing a high quality data collection and
analysis platform, fast and at minimal cost.
Bolek Kurowski
Data management specialist













Translating an operational steel

mill into a sophisticated BIM model will allow
clash-free upgrades and streamline operations.
Client Tata Steel



The building that houses the hot strip

mill is 1km long. Within it, the roughing
mill presses the red hot steel slabs to
a tenth of their original thickness as
they pass back and forth through two
rollers, each powered by its own giant
motor. The existing motors have been
operating more or less continuously
since the mid-1980s and replacement
with more powerful motors is now vital.
When operating at full tilt, the new
motors will draw the same amount of
power as the whole town of Port Talbot,
much of it reclaimed as a by-product
from other operations within the plant,
explains John Farrow, Mott MacDonald
project manager. This upgrade will
increase the efficiency and speed of


the hot mill process, contributing to

an enhancement of the plants overall
productivity and ensuring that it remains
at the cutting edge of steel production
long into the future.

The sizeable motors must be

manoeuvred between existing
equipment within the mill and
around new auxiliary plant that will
be installed to power the new motors.

The motors will be transported by sea

and transferred across the site by heavy
lifting specialists. They will each arrive
in the hot mill in two pieces that will be
joined in a delicate, millimetre accurate
operation; the completed units, each the
size of a truck and weighing 200t, will
then be lifted into their final positions.

Close collaboration was required

between multiple, international
supply chain partners as well as
a multidisciplinary design team.


Remotoring the operational Port Talbot
roughing mill brings a number of
significant challenges:
Hundreds of drawings showing
structural and equipment changes
over the decades have to be
The larger, heavier motors must be
assembled in a part of the mill that
was never designed for such loading,
posing problems for the foundations.

As if thats not enough, installing the

upgraded motors requires a shut-down
of the mill operations. Thats a high
risk strategy, as the facility is not making
money while its closed, John observes.
Any over-run of construction work
would have severe knock-on effects
on the overall business.

From the outset, we made BIM core
to our plans, says John. We used
laser scanning of the hot mill to create
interlinked 3D digital models that
covered different parts of the building
and process. Capturing the mill in such
a way took three months, but we could
then replace hundreds of drawings with

a single overall, current and accurate

model. This formed the basis for design
and costing of civil engineering works,
and gave our clients engineering teams,
our partners and the supply chain a 3D
picture of the site that was precise and
completely up-to-date.
Our studies showed that the building
foundations would not withstand the
load of the motors during the assembly
operation. John says: Weve designed
steel grillages grids of criss-crossed
beams to form platforms upon which
the motors can sit. By spreading the
load across the foundation piles, we can
avoid additional piling, which would be
disruptive. The BIM model has enabled
clash detection and co-ordination with
existing structures and services.
With each motor come scores of smaller
supporting apparatus, such as hydraulic
pumps, which all need a home. The
BIM environment made it easy to
visualise how to phase installation,
John explains. This eliminates physical
and schedule clashes and ensures that
everything will fit first time.


To fully unlock the collaborative power
of the BIM models, several of our
technical experts were absorbed into
our clients project taskforce, working
alongside Tatas project delivery team
and supply chain partners. This close
working relationship has been critical
to smooth progress, especially as
our client has expanded our role to
span mechanical and electrical design
responsibilities, says John.
The interlinked BIM models offer
a single, reliable source of spatial
information within the mill building that
can be used as the basis for the whole
project design. Operational mills are
dangerous places to be, but the ability
to interrogate the BIM model eliminates
the need to put people in harms
way and will benefit worker safety
throughout and beyond the project.

common, John comments. Once

installed, the new motors will be
there for the next 25 years. Our BIM
model can incorporate information for
servicing and parts; if something goes
wrong on a machine, the model could
help operators locate the problem
quickly and could even autonomously
order replacement components.
The revenue lost during closure
of the mill requires that essential
maintenance shut-downs are carefully
choreographed. The BIM model can
be used to plan and simulate these
maintenance activities, examine delay
scenarios, avoid clashes and ensure
resources are used efficiently.
John Farrow
Structural engineering specialist


The use of BIM as a design aid on new
projects is well understood, but using
the technology to better understand
and operate existing facilities is less

Tata Steel

Port Talbot steelworks, in Wales, UK,

has been making steel for more than
100 years. To increase capacity and
efficiency, owner Tata Steel is investing
in several upgrade projects. At the hot
strip mill, cold steel slabs are heated to
1250C and rolled into shapes suitable
for construction, manufacturing and
automotive components.




The San
Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
is the largest self-anchored
suspension bridge in the world,
designed to withstand the worst
earthquakes California can throw
at it. As programme oversight
manager, we helped shave costs
by US$400M.

Hatch Mott MacDonald, both

parent companies (Hatch and
Mott MacDonald) and URS.
Together, we were the largest
engineering enterprise in the
world and that meant we could
call on industry-leading experts
from anywhere in the world at
any time.

Client Bay Area Toll Authority


On a suspension bridge, the
deck segments are hung from
the cables like ornaments,
says Ted. But on this project,
because the cables anchor into
the bridge itself, the deck had to
be in place in order to run the
main cable but without the
main cable, the deck couldnt be
suspended. It was a chicken and
egg challenge.

The earthquake that struck the

US city of San Francisco in 1989
killed 63 people and injured
nearly 4000. To minimise such
human losses when the next big
quake strikes, the city embarked
on a major infrastructure
upgrade, including the eastern
San Francisco-Oakland Bay
Bridge. Built in the 1930s, the
structure crosses from Yerba
Buena Island in the middle of the
bay to the mainland at Oakland
and in 1989, part of the bridge
collapsed. It was imperative
to replace the structure with

something far more resilient,

while retaining the span across
a shipping lane and meeting
residents desires for a structure
with striking aesthetics to rival the
nearby Golden Gate Bridge.
West of the island, the link uses
a traditional suspension bridge.
This works well in this seismically
active area as its a structure that
is inherently flexible, explains
Ted Hall, project director at our
North American infrastructure
business Hatch Mott MacDonald,
which led the programme

management oversight team

for the replacement bridge
project. But on the eastern part
of the link, there was nowhere
suitable to anchor cables on one
side, which ruled out a typical
suspension bridge.
The absence of a conventional
rock anchorage was resolved by
designing a 624m self-anchored
suspension bridge. Instead of
anchoring the main suspension
cables to the ground at the
end of the bridge, this solution
has a single continuous cable

that loops around the deck

ends, yielding a self-contained
structural system that is highly
resilient and one that easily
straddles the shipping lane with
a clear span of 385m. Several
engineering innovations will
allow this critical transport link to
be returned to operation within
72 hours of a severe earthquake
and allow it to stand for 150
years, says Ted.


The deadline for this project
was set by nature, says Ted.

We know theres another

earthquake coming which would
have rendered the old bridge
impassable. Analysis put a price
on the loss of connectivity:
US$1M per day. That meant that
we had to get the new bridge
built fast. Accelerating the project
by 30 days cut financial risk.

from China, explains Ted. This

introduced potential schedule
and quality risks, so we deployed
structural and fabrication experts
to monitor and advise the
manufacturers, ensuring that
the components met exacting
specifications and were delivered
on time.

Redesigning components
to simplify fabrication, and
procuring globally, cut capital
cost too, contributing to overall
budget savings of US$400M.
Much of the steelwork came


This bridge is particularly
innovative; several of its features
are completely new, Ted
explains. Our oversight team
was a joint venture between

To achieve the feat, a temporary

supporting bridge was built first
to support the deck segments.
The 1.6km long main cable
which is formed from 137
bundles of steel wires, with each
bundle containing 127 strands
could then be run around it.
The deck is attached to the main
cable by 200 suspender cables;
as these were tensioned, they
effectively jacked the structure
off the support bridge and into
proper alignment.


The 160m tall tower is made
up of four separate columns,
bound together with steel bracing
components called shear link
cross beams. In an earthquake,
these beams will contort and
flex, absorbing energy and
allowing the pillars to move
independently without failing.
After an earthquake, any affected

shear link beams can be simply

unbolted and replaced, Ted
To tackle the difficult ground
conditions, the tower sits on
a foundation that includes
13 reinforced concrete piles
wrapped in steel casings, set
into sockets drilled deep into the
bedrock. Each pile is 2.5m in
diameter and 60m long.

With five full width traffic lanes
running in each direction, as well
as hard shoulders and provision
for bicycles and pedestrians,
this is the widest self-anchored
suspension bridge in the world
making it seismically safe
was a significant challenge. To
introduce energy absorption,
the bridge has been designed
with seismic joints between deck
segments that act like fuses,
Ted explains. Called hinge
pipe beams, they are cylindrical
steel components that run
longitudinally between deck
sections, thicker at the ends
than they are in the middle.
In an earthquake, these hinges
are sacrificial, distorting to allow
the deck sections to move. Just
like fuses, they can be swapped
out after they fail, returning the
bridge to operation within 72
hours, says Ted.
Ted Hall
Programe management director



Bermudas berthing facilities held
the key to welcoming the newest
generation of cruise ships. We
helped deliver the fast-track
maritime upgrade.
Client Bermuda Ministry of Public Works

Bermuda has a long history as a seafaring

nation. The island group began building
speedy, swashbuckling sloops of war for the
UKs Royal Navy as far back as 1795, and the
Royal Naval Dockyard, which was built in the
early 1900s, became a significant strategic
location in the North Atlantic until after the
Second World War.
The maritime facility was a central part of
the islands economy, and it continues to
be so even though it has long since been
decommissioned as a naval base. The former
dockyard now welcomes cruise ships at two
berthing facilities Heritage Wharf and Kings
Wharf supporting the tourist industry, one
of Bermudas major economic sectors. But
as cruise ships get bigger, expansion and
strengthening of the docks are required.
Bermuda was to be the place where the new
Norwegian Breakaway, one of the worlds
largest cruise ships, would start its working
life in May 2014, says Richard Tellett,
Mott MacDonald engineering team leader.
The ship is 324m long and has capacity for
4000 passengers. The existing mooring
structures werent adequately positioned or
strong enough to cope with the increased
vessel size. A serious upgrade project was
needed, and fast.
We were appointed to carry out site surveys,
structural assessments, optioneering and
detailed design services. Investigation,
design and construction needed to run
in parallel to meet the schedule, says
Richard. Site inspection and assessments
commenced in October 2012; construction
began just six months later, in March 2013.
Our early involvement during the tendering
stage of the works, and subsequent close
collaboration with the various appointed
subcontractors, allowed design to make
best use of locally available plant, expertise
and construction techniques, enabling the
construction programme to accelerate.


Expanding the facilities called for four new

piled structures called dolphins two for
berthing and two for mooring. The dolphins
consist of reinforced concrete decks,
supported on steel tubular piles. Calcareous
sands and the potential for karstic solution
features such as underground caverns posed
considerable challenges, says Richard. We
used up to twice the number of piles per
dolphin than the existing structures, which
required larger pile caps: double the size of
the originals for the mooring dolphins, three
times the size for the berthing structures.
We tailored piling techniques to suit local
contractor expertise and available equipment.
The close proximity of many existing
structures meant that we had to select the
locations of the piles very carefully too.
The composite pile caps were designed with
precast and in situ reinforced concrete. In
total, we utilised over 1100t of offshore grade
steel piles, and nearly 800cu m of marine
quality concrete, Richard explains.
Our multidisciplinary capabilities meant
we were able to provide additional services
ranging from environmental impact
assessment to passenger modelling and
wayfinding to specialist concrete advice.
We were also appointed to provide ongoing
assistance with site supervision between April
2013 and February 2014, which involved
ensuring adoption of robust safety and
welfare arrangements, and assuring quality
of construction.
Richard concludes: Thanks to the success
of this project, were now providing technical
assistance and design services for further
maritime works and coastal protection
schemes across Bermuda.
Richard Tellett
Civil engineer, ports and coastal




We both
designed and engineered
this unusual J-shaped
scientific research facility,
which allowed us to
build in innovation and
environmental sensitivity
right from the start.

Client Waters

Leveraging our cross-sector expertise was the key

to delivering a new-build, high-tech research and
development facility for Waters, a manufacturer
of scientific instruments. The 38M headquarters
replaced four existing buildings. It features labs
to develop technologies for forensic analysis, and
to test instruments in extreme temperatures and
electromagnetically-shielded conditions. Environmental
sensitivity was a priority; it had to be built fast; and as
a flagship facility, the building needed to look stunning.

Photos: Waters

The brief was challenging, especially considering

that we began this project in the depths of the global
recession, explains Chris Oakes, Mott MacDonald
project director. Our role embraced architecture, town
planning, environmental impact assessment, and civil,
structural and landscape design. This allowed us to
introduce significant operational efficiencies, leading
to a facility that is beautiful, sustainable and good value
for money.




The 20,000sq m, three-storey building houses 550
employees. Manufacturing, assembly and research
laboratories and front of house demonstration labs
are situated on the ground floor. These specialist
labs will produce mass spectrometers, instruments
that use electrical charges to measure the mass of
The first floor features open plan office space and
amenity support areas such as meeting rooms,
breakout areas, a restaurant and a gym, says Chris.
We introduced a central glazed atrium to provide
space for, and encourage, interaction between
scientists from different departments.
One of the constraints of the 150,000sq m site was
the stipulation by the local authority to incorporate
a roundabout at the main entrance as a traffic
calming measure on the busy A538. In addition, the
local authoritys development brief imposed height
and area limitations. These constraints inspired the
buildings design and the extensive landscaping that
frames it.
The building curves towards the roundabout in
a J shape, says Dorota Spychala, architect at
Mott MacDonald. The side facing the roundabout
features floor to ceiling glass, revealing a large
atrium as well as labs, so when you drive around
the roundabout you can see right into the building.

Photos: Waters

Many of the internal spaces have been designed

to allow future flexibility in use. In the office areas,
all the walls are non-load bearing, explains Chris.
This means that partitions may be repositioned
to suit alternative layouts.




We joined the design and build project in 2010,
before it had obtained planning permission.
Contractor Vinci Construction began construction
in May 2012, and the compressed schedule was
completed in November 2013.


Photos: Waters

Our first achievement was to ensure it received

planning permission first time. Its a huge building
on a main road and previous proposals for the site
had seen significant objections, says Chris. To
make sure everything ran smoothly, we built an
excellent relationship with the planning authorities
and local stakeholders, such as Manchester
International Airport which is less than 1km away,
and the National Trust. This collaborative approach
helped secure early success.


The brownfield site required that our geological
experts identified and removed ground
contamination while our environmental specialists
meticulously addressed ecology, visual impact,
noise, archaeology, and more.
Foundation design used the fast, efficient method
of vibro compaction ahead of a traditional piled
solution. Chris notes: Approximately 2500 stone
columns were compacted down to 6m deep to
provide suitable bearing capacity for the building.
These columns were completed in only 12 days on
site a significant time and cost saving to the client
compared to traditional piling which could have
taken six weeks.

10% of the buildings energy is from sustainable

sources. It features photovoltaics, heat recovery,
low energy lighting, air source heat pumps and
rainwater harvesting. These didnt add significantly
to the capital costs but will yield very useful
operational savings and provide a demonstrable
commitment to the environment, says Chris.


Photos: Waters

Further efficiency was achieved by reducing concrete

work on site. Reinforced concrete stanchion bases
were combined with in-situ cast concrete ground
beams with a 175mm thick reinforced concrete
ground-bearing slab. The building has a fireprotected steel framed structure, suspended
steel-concrete composite floor slabs and precast
concrete stairs.


The project required demolition of a building on
site which was one of the north wests only two
breeding ground for Brandts bats, Chris explains.
We had to design and construct an alternative
roost. To avoid impact on construction, this was built
eight months ahead of the main works.

Photo: Waters

Construction was scheduled around archeological

investigation, as the site is only 1km from where
the perfectly preserved body of a Stone Age man,
known as the Lindow Man, was discovered in 1984.
Although nothing was unearthed over the course of
this project, our planning ensured that a potential
find would not have knocked the schedule
off track.




Photos: Waters

To meet the wide-ranging needs of this project,

we engaged numerous specialist teams from
our offices across the UK. The architectural,
civil, structural and project management teams
worked from our Manchester office, says Chris.
Environmental services were provided from our
Leeds office; landscaping was looked after by our
Cambridge office; and the BREEAM assessment
was carried out from our Sheffield office. Our
simulation and visualisation team, based in south
London, produced 3D graphics that were used in
for the planning application and a fly-through
concept video.



Photo: Waters

Chris Oakes
Commercial Director



Weve completed concepts and route alignment for the giant WestConnect
scheme, a 33km, AU$11bn urban motorway system in the heart of Sydney.
The three stage project will join up and strengthen the existing road
network, and includes multiple grade separated interchanges, additional
lanes, a new viaduct and 10km of tunnels.
It will tackle severe congestion that is choking the city and prepare
the transport system for a projected population rise of 20% in the
next 20 years. Construction is expected to begin in 2015.









km urban motorway system

minutes saved from
Sydney Airport to existing M4,
bypassing up to 52 traffic lights


AU$20bn economic
benefits to the state

Design and editorial by Mott MacDonald.

jobs created