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Factory thinking helps speed up refurbishment at Strensham WTW

Implementing factory thinking, lean engineering and collaborative planning techniques have helped Costain and design partner MWH reduce the time needed to refurbish each of 21 rapid gravity filters at Severn Trent Water's Strensham water treatment works in Worcestershire from 40 days to just 20.

Costain plans to adopt the techniques on similar projects in AMP6Costain plans to adopt the techniques on similar projects in AMP6

The £8.6M Strensham contract is on course to be completed early next year, and is one of the first where a more standardised, systems-led engineering approach has been adopted.

Costain said temporary access platforms, manufactured off site, provided safe access into the filters during the refurbishment. These platforms also eliminated the need to build access scaffolding within each filter providing a time saving of four days per filter. The structural steelwork, pipe supports, pipework, hand-railing and flooring all come assembled as one complete unit minimising on site working at height issues.

The pipework was also pressure tested off site so, once a filter was offline, it could be quickly assembled. Once the team completed a filter, it analysed the work done and looked at how it could do the next one better.

Matt Crabtree, Costain water sector director, explained: “The site has to remain operational at all times so speed is of the essence when it comes to carrying out the work. That way, the potential for improvement is twofold – from the factory thinking and the lean collaborative planning approach.”

Crabtree added: “We’ll be looking to use these techniques on similar projects in AMP6 in order to help our customers deliver new assets more effectively.”

Chris Vice, Costain delivery manager for the project, said: “I am particularly proud of the way the supply chain and Severn Trent Water have embraced our collaborative planning approach and using lessons learned to reduce the time taken to refurbish each filter by 50%. This has enabled us to reduce the overall duration from an initial 88 weeks to the current planned 45 weeks.”

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