Three of this year’s British Construction Industry Awards went to transport projects – or rather, a transport project, as they all went to the new Trafford Park line on Manchester Metrolink.
Constructed by MPT – a consortium of VolkerRail, Laing O’Rourke and Thales – the new Metrolink line won the Transport Project of the Year award, the Health Safety and Wellbeing Initiative of the Year award, and the prestigious Project of the Year award.
MPT has been expanding the Metrolink system over the last ten years to become the UK’s largest tram network, running to over 100km and 99 stops.
Officially opened in April 2020, the new 5.5km Trafford Park line offers sustainable transport links to some of Greater Manchester’s busiest visitor destinations. It also runs through Trafford Park, Europe’s largest trading estate and home to more than 1,400 businesses, employing over 33,000 people.
The British Construction Industry Awards, which have been running for over 30 years, seek to recognise and reward the impact that the British construction industry has on society, celebrating the hard work and dedication of the whole project team – including clients, architects, designers and contractors.
The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Initiative of the Year award recognises initiatives that tackle mental health and promote a safe and healthy working environment. Judges commented that it was “impressive to see these initiatives being led by the site teams”.
The Transport Project of the Year award showcases transport projects that are enhancing capacity, providing better connectivity, or helping to improve the reliability of local, regional or national transport services. Lead designer AECOM was also part of this award and, in their notes, the judges called the new Trafford Park line “a showcase project to demonstrate what a city can achieve”.
The Project of the Year award is selected from the winners of the excellence in project outcomes categories, and the winner of this award is seen as the most outstanding project of the year. Main contractor MPT and lead designer AECOM had adopted, in the judges’ words, “a no-nonsense approach to practical innovation that really helped delivery”.
MPT project leader Andy Pritchard said: “Everyone who has been involved on the Trafford Park line and/or with MPT over the last decade should be immensely proud of this achievement.
“Our people have helped to shape MPT into the well-established joint venture, and it is our teams who have created the success of the Trafford Park line.”
AECOM undertook the design for the Trafford Park Line, incorporating industry-leading use of BIM and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA). Major projects director Peter Housley commented: “AECOM’s design team, working in collaboration with MPT and the wider project team as lead designer, took BIM – usually used for buildings – and applied it to a project which spans more than 5km, in one of the largest applications of BIM in civil engineering to date.
“By taking an engineering-led approach to construction, the design team was able to agree solutions right up to the grit-blasted textures of the pedestrian surfaces at platforms. The design meant that DfMA was maximised, developing a kit of parts for the line and utilising the full potential for off-site construction and rapid onsite installation. This ensured quality, reduced waste, increased safety and less resources on site.
“The BIM model has been developed to go beyond handover, to provide a facility for detailed asset management throughout the line’s lifecycle. AECOM not only used BIM to design the project, but construction was sequenced and simulated via BIM too, providing an extremely useful tool to communicate the wider project and work on the ground to stakeholders and help bring in the project seven months ahead of schedule.
“AECOM is extremely proud to be associated with this project’s successes at the recently held BCIA 2020.”