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Railway Station Renovation


The case study project is in an historic railway terminus, which also connects to the metro network. The project involved:

remodelling the retail accommodation, incorporating a new rail line linking the station to a major airport, improving access to the metro network, and upgrading the station roof.

The rail operator appointed a consultant architect for the design of the project, even though there was an in-house capability. The structural and building services design for the station and other additional specialist consultancy were procured through sub-contracts by the architect. The construction was undertaken as a management contract. The architect and the consulting engineers were novated to the management contractor once the contractor was appointed. The project was not complex in terms of design as it was mostly adjustment within the existing fabric but carrying out the renovations within a working station was complicated as: 1. 2. the station had to be open for trains and pedestrians at all times, and. the connection to the metro network had to be maintained.

Project Statistics
Block A Remodelling the retail accommodation Access to Metro Value 12M Approval August 2006 Start July 2007 Complete May 2008 Value 18M Start January 2007 Complete July 2008 New rail line Platform works and concourse Upgrading roof Value 8.5M Value 17.5M Approval August 2006 Start December 2006

Complete May 2008

Start December 2006 Complete May 2008

Design Statistics Consultants drawings

Specialist trade drawings Shop drawings Variations and change orders Overall project delay Overall project cost overrun

1500 1870 2850 2250 16 weeks 8%


The client had formulated a Business Case using their in-house design capability, however the reasoning behind the strategic decisions was restricted to the client for reasons of confidentiality. The client had not collaborated on creating a strategic brief. The client decided to manage the project with a committee comprising: the group marketing director, station manager, regional track manager and the in-house architect. The architect became the chair of the committee and effectively the client project manager. The client team met infrequently as the project development period was in excess of five years before the final go ahead. During this time the key people on the committee had changed several times. The architect/project manager was replaced 2 months before the appointment of the design team. The architects fee was set as a lump sum equating to 6% of the project cost with Prime Cost sums for the sub-design packages. The client had assumed that by appointing a high profile international architectural practice and ensuring that they were responsible for all of the design consultancies that this was sufficient to achieve his needs. After all he had given them a set of drawings setting out the needs and the way the project was to be phased. The client expected the architect to set the design standard albeit within the cost plan. In their frustration the structural engineers generated an 'Understanding of the Scope' document in response to the lack of an adequate briefing development process and discussion with the client. It was subsequently presented to the client as the consulting engineers' interpretation of the design requirements and whilst it was discussed it was never formally adopted. The architects attempted to extract the strategic brief from the early client drawings and the main cost plan. However, this was not issued to the design subconsultants. The M&E consulting engineers were in a similar position and their scope of work was never fully established nor communicated to the other design consultants.

3 3.1


During the outline stage sketches were sent out to all involved in the project to illustrate the design ideas and the focus that the project could follow. Drawings were then sent out to all involved for comment, marked up and returned for amendment. This process continued until a pre-set deadline date was reached.

Figure1 indicates that in the initial stages of the project the activities were simplified compared with the final stages. In the later stages the majority of the work was in the production information for the construction and commissioning.


Mid Phase Reviews and Design Freezes

The client project manager, an architect, developed a highly interactive but informal relationship with the appointed architect. He would visit the office very frequently and make constructive suggestions. He would encourage other experts from the client organisation to do the same so that the design would be up to date with the latest thinking. Consequently there were no formal reviews to check the progress of the design and no design freezes were undertaken on the main elements of the project. The deliverables from the design stage were not fixed before starting each stage and there were no milestones for the design process before proceeding to next stage. The principal acceptance point of the designs occurred when the client required their forms for technical approval to be signed off by the consulting engineers. However, these were a matter of the clients normal procedures, as the client required their own standards to be met. No review of the M&E drawings was carried out until well into the specialists' detailed design stage. However it had been recognised on Block A works that an element of design freeze was required due to the complex nature of this element of design and construction.


Project Documents Flow

Figure 2 is the documents flow diagram for the project. It shows how, during the business case and concept design phases, the consulting engineers were undertaking the bid document work in order to win the contract for this project. The management contractor became involved at the start of the scheme design stage, three stages after the other companies.


The architect and the sub contracted consultant designers were novated to the management contractor who had the responsibility for design management included in their scope of work. The management contractor was led to believe and the team assumed that the design had progressed to a far greater detail than its actual status. The Scope of Works used to select the management contractor did not identify adequately the design requirements. The cost plan issued by the management contractor did not adequately reflect the changes to the project from the Scope of Works. An example of this was the lighting design for the station. The initial costing for the lighting design was within the M&E consulting engineers budget and fee. However, the architects had instructed another firm of architects to undertake the lighting design. The consulting engineers subsequently accepted responsibility for the lighting design, but the design proved to be unacceptable as it did not adequately address the client and the metro networks maintenance and lifecycle costs. The consulting engineers were subsequently involved in a redesign and 3D modelling of the lighting. This resulted in design and construction delays and additional expenditure.


Concept Design and Feasibility Studies

The only evidence of a feasibility study or report was one that had been written for one block building (Block A) on 'Mechanical and Electrical and Public Health Services' however this continually required clarification. No further attempts were made to research or explore the

feasibility options and therefore both the architect and the consulting engineer did not compile any reports. The clients project committee members believed that, in general, there was no need for concept design studies and reports to be carried out on construction projects: the common practice was that sketches were used instead to describe the concept design options. Therefore, no concept design study and report were carried out on the project and only sketches showing ideas behind the concept design were provided at this stage.


Outline Design

Outline design options were prepared only in the form of a general arrangement of the whole project's work packages and a phasing strategy for the retail unit's move. The consulting engineers informed all team members on their scope of works. No further detailed study or reports for outline design were undertaken and there was no mid phase review or design freeze.


Scheme Design

As in the scheme design stage, drawings were produced, sent out for comments and then marked up and returned. The scope of works was also still in need of clarification. Where the design was, in relation to the master programme of the project, was not clear neither was the quality of the information on the drawings checked.


Consultants' Detailed Design

During the consultants' detailed design stage the drawings and specifications were produced, sent out to all parties for comments and then marked up and returned. Drawings were sent forward and backward until a deadline date was reached, irrespective of the quality and quantity required by the end of this stage of the work. At the completion of detailed design, information was issued to the client for signing off and costing. However the signing off process was notional and was not used to provide any fixity of design. Figure 3 shows the consulting engineers design process map.


Specialists' Detailed Design, Construction and Commissioning

From the specialists' detailed design stage through to construction and commissioning, drawings and specifications were produced, sent out to all parties for comments, marked up, returned and so on without a design freeze or mid-phase review (see Figure 3). Generally speaking, the trade contractors were able to produce adequate drawings however where there was a complicated interface, such as lifts or platform and concourse lights, the trade contractors were reluctant to design the complicated interface that involved various packages. There was no design management authority to expediently resolve such situations. The early stages of design did not address in detail how the routing of the electrical cabling was to be arranged within the very restricted depth of the roof structure available the buildability of the design to meet the different constraints had not been considered. As design developed, and trade contractors were appointed, this omission had to be rectified, especially as construction was proceeding apace. The Mechanical Services Trade Contractor was the first trade M&E contractor to be appointed and was responsible for producing the coordinated drawing for the builders work. The Electrical Services Trade Contractor was appointed two months later and was expected to produce a complete electrical detailed design that integrated with the mechanical design.

The Mechanical Services Trade Contractor was producing builders' work drawings and submitting them to be approved by the designers. However, once they were on site they found that the zones dedicated for services were too tight and the coordination problems had to be tailored on the spot. An example is the installation of the cooling unit in the retail area. This unit had to be removed and installed several times until the assemble team managed to fit it properly. The Mechanical Services Trade Contractor felt that it is unfair to leave the coordination problem to the trade contractors. The Electrical Services Trade Contractor's bid was significantly cheaper than the other bidders. The electrical detailed design was incomplete and the electrical trade team was under-resourced. This situation affected all the other trades that interfaced with the electrical work, particularly the specialist equipment contractors.

5 5.1

PROJECT PROCEDURES Project Execution Plan

There was no Project Execution Plan (PEP) and the management processes were established and developed in isolation and not updated throughout the project. The architects had produced a Project Quality Plan that had some involvement from the consulting engineers in the form of a description of their responsibilities. The information systems and procedures were not updated as the project developed.


Project Team Management

5.2.1 Working Environment

The M&E design team was relocated to work space in Block A on site shortly after the appointment of the management contractor because of lack of space in their head office. The management contractors site personnel and members of the client's project team who were also resident on site often interrupted the M&E design team in Block A. Physical working conditions were not of a standard conducive to effective and efficient working practices, resulting in a loss of staff morale. Later a bigger office space outside of the station was rented, which enabled the design teams to come together in the same location. This facilitated greater informal communication between the structural, building services and other disciplines as well as improving morale.

5.2.2 Design Team Selection

There was little consideration given as to how the design team was selected and the skills required to establish an effective design team were given scant consideration. The team was pulled together from personnel available at the time, without formal interviews, consequently the competence of the individuals was variable and the design team took a long time to achieve some form of proficiency.

5.2.3 Resources
The managers of the project and design teams were uncertain of the skill base of people seconded to the project, as they were not part of the selection process, until they actually started work. This was particularly true for the building services consultants who were severely affected by a lack of suitable engineers. The understanding of the management resource required was insufficient. Much of the organisational focus was to achieve the consulting engineers' technical solutions in the early stages. A comprehensive level of management was not achieved because there was

insufficient emphasis on selecting suitable management personnel and delegating to them financial and time resources.

5.2.4 Dealing with differences in practice

The M&E engineers normal work practices as embedded in their standard form of agreement did not fit into the others way of working. The architects wanted all the consulting engineers to be as involved in the project as they were. However, there was no obligation for the engineers to do so. Each organisation took its own commercial decisions when setting up the project. The M&E consulting engineers took a distributed view in terms of setting up the project team, in that resources were generally procured from the division or office where the project was won at bid stage. Drip-feeding of the fee hindered the project set-up due to lack of resources at the start of the project; this was the period when the greatest resources were required.


Co-ordination and Communication

Internal communication within the structural engineers design team was well managed. The design work was split between the package engineers, each with allocated CAD resource. Weekly design team meetings allowed the structural design co-ordinator to assess design progress, organise the integration between the work packages and those engineers undertaking the design. It also enabled the design co-ordinator to analyse the impact of change on programme and integration of design. The M&E team had not achieved the same degree of well-managed internal communication until the final stages of the project. There was a lead building services co-ordinating engineer, who integrated sub-disciplines (see Figure 4), however the integration and coordination enjoyed by the structural team were not achieved for building services. All teams encountered problems in relating design elements to specific sub-job numbers. Often it was not clear what sub-job number a designer or CAD operator should book their time to, for any given element. This was exacerbated by the level of design change and a lack of an integrated and effective change management procedure. Figure 4 shows the relationships between the main sub-design teams and their project managers. The project management function involves monitoring design change, project planning and liaison with other project representatives. These all reported to the architects. The organisational structure of the project teams has given the ability to co-ordinate the teams at different levels. However, this was not always achieved successfully.


Change Management

A change management system was organised by the architect. This system involved telephone communication between the project teams, based on whether the consulting engineers considered there to be a design change. The architect would then contact the client to obtain the relevant authority to undertake the work. This system was eventually stopped due to too many requests for change that were deemed unnecessary. The managing contractor was not part of the arrangements during the initial period (see Figure 5). When the consulting engineers and the architect were novated to the management contractor the client, the managing contractor rejected the outstanding requests for design change confirmation. This resulted in a large amount of design costs incurred by the designers, not reimbursed, which affected their financial position and subsequent commercial attitude.

5.4.1 Change Control System

A second change control system was developed (see Figure 6). This was considered an effective system for monitoring change. However, there were problems with this system for

the designers, notably the fact that the time delay between a request for a Change Control Instruction (CCI) and its confirmation or rejection from the client could take up to 3 months. Coupled with the problem of delay in the issue of Change Control Instructions, the Change Control Instruction numbers that were issued had no direct correlation to the sub-job numbers designers were booking to. During the initial phases of the project no sub-numbers would be issued until a Change Control Instruction was received from the client. This resulted in designers booking to standard project sub-job numbers as opposed to specific, change related sub-job numbers.

5.4.2 Design Team Situation

The design team experienced considerable client change following the design freezes, rendering these freezes useful only as a point from which to measure additional duties, rather than providing the ability to reduce the amount of design iteration. Considerable pressure was imposed on the design team to progress their designs at a quicker pace than the systems and processes allowed. Changes to the scope of works were not identified early enough in the design process due to the inherent need to progress the design quickly because of the pressure from the construction programme and client requirements. The designers were concerned over the expenditure incurred on having to provide a quick response to a change and the delay that occurred before receiving a formal instruction, which in some instances was not forthcoming. The initial estimates of the time period required to fully undertake the additional design work resulting from a Change Control Instruction were over optimistic.


The design team were under considerable pressure because there were: i) ii) a very short start up period from approval to the start of construction activities. a redefinition of the construction work packages with the subsequent effects on design and production of information.


Design and Construction Programmes Interrelationships

The initial design programme based upon the construction work package programme. The individual packages with timescales and critical paths contained little information regarding specifics of design activity. It was difficult to link the necessary information to the subdivisions of the design process.


Packages Programmes Interrelationships

The individual packages were formulated independently from one another. Each specialist contractor specified their needs in isolation. There was little recognition of the cross flow of information and deliverables from one work package to another. However, this improved later on in the Block A phase of the project where a combined effort was made to plan the relationships between the disciplines and timescales for design activities.


Programmes Updating

In all the various organisations involved in the project, programmes that had been developed or issued were not updated with new information relating to additional design, changes or programme slippage.


Initial cost plan was undertaken for submission to the stakeholders; however, much of the cost analysis was undertaken by the managing contractor, with cost plans generated from the main scope of works document, although there was no cost estimate or analysis undertaken until latter stages of the scheme design stage. The cost plans developed from this point were issued to the other consultants for checking before issue. However there was no programme for issuing cost plans or a correlation between the issue of cost plans and any of the client freezes or transition from one phase to another.


The Project Quality Plan (PQP) formed part of the main design QA plan and was administered by the architect. This included project control systems, e.g. a change control procedures, however, the PQP was not fully implemented. Project working practices were not established and the relationships and obligations between the various project organisations were not explicit. The PQP did not adequately address or reflect the requirements and the controls of the client and the information contained in the Quality Plan was too brief.


There was no risk assessment at an early stage of the project. At latter stages of the project, detailed design stage and construction and commissioning, and handover stage, a series of Project Margin Risk Analyses was undertaken. These sessions were carried out through a necessity to establish what the project margin would be. However, they were not undertaken as part of a consistent management process for the project.



The project has delivered the required quality of design, albeit not to the original cost or timescale. When it was seen that the project was getting into difficulties the clients architect/project manager was transferred and a new manager recruited who set about introducing more change to achieve the original objectives. The design team became very frustrated with the slow recompense for the level of rework and alternative schemes that they had to provide to a committee that had uncertain powers of decision. Their morale dropped and a large number of their personnel left for more rewarding work. A large number of temps were used to try and keep up production. Each, of course, had to learn about the project.


Figure 1: Design process iterative loops

Figure 2: Roles and design phases typical of the individual project organisations

Figure 3: Consulting engineers design process

Figure 4: Consulting engineers design teams

Figure 5: Contractual links

Figure 6: Change Control System