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Heathrow Tunnels

Key Facts

  • Client: Heathrow Airport Limited
  • Value: £85.2 million
  • Location: Heathrow, London.

BAM Nuttall is the principal contractor for the provision of production design management, procurement, construction works, planned maintenance and commissioning associated with the refurbishment of the main and cargo tunnels at Heathrow Airport.

BAM Nuttall is the principal contractor for the provision of production design management, procurement, construction works, planned maintenance and commissioning associated with the refurbishment of the main and cargo tunnels at Heathrow Airport. Also included is the training required for new maintenance regimes.

BAM Nuttall, VVB and Mott MacDonald are working together to upgrade two of Heathrow’s main assets, the main road tunnel and the cargo tunnel. This complex work is being undertaken on a 24 hour basis needing nightly tunnel closures.

Works include refurbishment of the following systems: tunnel ventilation, fixed fire suppression, fire protection and reflective coatings, fire detection and alarm system, emergency telephones, cctv and automatic incident detection system, lighting, electrical, domestic water mains, fire mains and fire hydrants, drainage and road surfacing.

Collaboration

For this project to be a success, it was essential that from the start there was true collaboration between the four main parties, Heathrow Airport Limited, Bam Nuttall, VVB and Mott MacDonald. To encourage collaboration the following was undertaken:

  • Common project logo.
  • 2 day ‘ways of working workshop’
  • Colocation with no individual company identities and no dividing barriers between desks.
  • Any issues discussed first in open and honest conversation, prior to being recorded in writing
  • Weekly coordination meetings between all parties.

Mock-Ups

Perhaps one of the biggest innovations we have put in place at Heathrow is the construction of a Mock-Up of each tunnel – these are full scale RC structures which have been/will be fitted out with one of everything in the actual tunnels.

The purpose of which is as follows:

  • To inform methods
  • To check space proofing
  • To allow methods to be practiced and honed in a safe working environment during the day as all tunnel works take place at night
  • To improve quality – by the time the kit is installed in the tunnels, the team has already done it at least once – this reduces the H&S risk by getting it right fist time
  • To inform our Customer about what they are getting
  • To aid in the handover to our Customer
  • To perfect the design
  • To find problems before they occur

Traffic Management

Since July 2014, the team at Heathrow Tunnels, carry out week-night partial tunnel closures, and follow a stringent methodology to ensure that we can hand back on, or ahead of schedule. We keep a contingency team on standby at all times to effectively manage key issues such as a MEWP breakdown, without delay to the tunnel reopening.

The tunnels have had three emergency openings responding to breakdowns and accidents. This has been achieved by demobilising sections of work as soon as practicable and operating an altered Traffic Management Plan to increase volumes of traffic through the tunnel. Most works can demobilise within an hour, although we agree suitable days with the Tunnel Closure Manager for carrying out high risk work with longer demobilisation periods under a go – no go policy.

Awards

Heathrow Supplier Award 2015 – Working together