Digital Construction Awards 2024: Oswestry Water Treatment Works team wins Digital Collaboration of the Year

The Oswestry team wins Digital Collaboration of the Year at the Digital Construction Awards 2024
The Oswestry Water Treatment Works team celebrate with Ollie Hughes (left) of Digital Construction Week, Pratik Patel (second left) from Bluebeam, and Tom Allen (right) (Photo © 2024 – ASV Photography Ltd.

United Utilities and Advance Plus (a joint venture between MWH Treatment, Stantec and J Murphy & Sons) won the Digital Collaboration of the Year award, sponsored by Bluebeam, at the Digital Construction Awards last night (2 July) for their efforts at Oswestry Water Treatment Works.

The team faces a significant challenge to deliver a £145m capital investment project in 33 months at Oswestry Water Treatment Works, while maintaining a live existing site with uninterrupted supply to United Utilities customers. The contract includes the refurbishment of existing assets, and the construction and commissioning of new assets to achieve regulatory outputs.

Category sponsor

Some of the many obstacles facing United Utilities and Advance Plus include the project’s complex scope and construction methods, working around underground assets, constructing new or refurbishing existing assets while decommissioning ageing live ones, project control, logistics routes on a live client site, and training.

They have tackled this head-on by adopting a digital-first approach and fostering full collaboration across a complex project and network of more than 20 subcontractors, the client and suppliers. In addition, the project has also adopted a ‘one team culture’ among all parties.

Computer genreated image of Oswestry Water Treatment Works
The technology used by the Oswestry Water Treatment Works project team includes 3D models, digital rehearsals and 4D modelling to improve collaboration between stakeholders

This approach has been achieved by adopting key digital initiatives to better engage with client operations, internal teams and supply chain delivery teams, and by creating a digitally inclusive space that fosters communication and open collaboration.

The technology used by the project team includes: 3D models; design for manufacture and assembly; virtual reality; digital rehearsals, 4D modelling and digital RAMs; mView+ interactive site induction; digital site quality control records using inspection test plans and field management tools; Pix4D for photogrammetry capture for production controls and underground services. Hilti tracker for asset registration and delivery has been one of the most important tools to advance collaboration.

The digital rehearsals have been important for the team to test and inform the programme. The sessions foster collaboration and good relations across the teams, which have contributed to building trust. They also promote the consideration of constructability and potential clashes between disciplines and help identify programme risks and sequences that mitigate those risks.

“Impressive, comprehensive use of technology. The benefits of better collaboration and communication through visualisation and more efficient information management are clear in the cost and programme savings. The personalised training plans and consideration for different learning needs is impressive in a project with a tight time frame and so many stakeholders.”

What the judges said

The rehearsals provide the project manager with confidence that the works are being planned and managed effectively to achieve the programme and, in turn, give confidence that the programme is realistic.

The digital-first approach at Oswestry is resulting in successful interoperability and a collaborative ecosystem between the client, contractors, subcontractors and the supply chain. It is already driving tangible benefits for this complex project and will allow the team to achieve the challenging timescale to deliver in 33 months.

Clare Taylor, head of digital delivery at MWH Treatment, said: "Our collaboration was about creating an ecosystem and digital legacy through a project in the water sector. We have trained our supply chain and our clients, creating an environment where we can learn from each other. We are on a journey together."

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  • HS2/SCS JV/Queenswood | HS2 Mandeville Road Ventilation Shaft
  • Balfour Beatty/Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust/Arup/Gleeds/Stride Treglown | Midland Metropolitan University Hospital
  • NHS Lanarkshire/WSP Digital Services/Currie & Brown/Keppie Design | Monklands Replacement Project
  • United Utilities/MWH Treatment, Stantec, J Murphy & Sons | Oswestry Water Treatment Works
  • Network Rail/Method Grid | The Digital PACE Framework

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