Acorn Coaching and Development

Improving business performance

COSTAIN

Accelerated performance for large scale Joint Venture project team

International engineering and construction group Costain are one of the UK's leading engineering solutions providers, delivering integrated consulting, project delivery and operations and maintenance services to major blue-chip customers in targeted market sectors.

The Evaporator D project at Sellafield in Cumbria is the biggest nuclear project currently under way in the UK, and is being undertaken by Costain working as the main contractor and partnering with Interserve to manufacture modules off site.

Opportunities were identified to maintain and enhance effective team working in this complex, challenging and large-scale inter-company project.

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Background

The Evaporator D project at Sellafield in Cumbria is the biggest nuclear project currently under way in the UK, and is being undertaken by Costain working as the main contractor and partnering with Interserve to manufacture modules off site.

Evaporator D will maintain Sellafield's ability to process spent nuclear fuel by providing capacity to evaporate water from High Active Raffinate and effluent from the Waste Vitrification Plant. When the plant is operational the volume of waste will be reduced by a factor of 20. Current expectations are that active tie-ins and commissioning will take place by April 2016.

Costain is responsible for the design and engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning of evaporator before it becomes active. Costain has employed an innovative modular build strategy often used in the hydrocarbons & chemicals industry sector but this is the first time that the nuclear sector has chosen to pre-fabricate modules of this size and scale off-site. The 11 large, prefabricated modules required to create the evaporator plant are being constructed at Interserve’s dedicated facility in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

The modules vary considerably in size. The smallest are 10m high, 7.5m wide, almost 10m in length and weigh over 100 tonnes. The largest is 27m x 12.5m x 7.5m and weighs over 500 tonnes; it will include more than 21 kilometres of pipework and over 10,000 specialist welds.

Requirement

In a challenging project of this scale and duration it was vital to maintain effective team working, especially as the project was a complex JV requiring close collaboration between team members from different companies. Opportunities were identified to further align the team's processes and increase the level of collaboration to accelerate its performance on the project.

Delivery

Acorn's Steve Gee led a staged Team Coaching intervention. He began by interviewing key managers within the JV team to identify areas where they felt its functioning was not as effective as it could be.

Steve then ran a two-day programme to address specific concerns raised by the interviews. He engaged the team members in determining priorities and the specific course of action to resolve the issues.

Directors from Costain and Interserve also attended the sessions to demonstrate support at the highest level for the team development initiative.

Outcome

The team reports closer working relationships between the two companies, and a strengthened commitment to achieving progress targets by collaborating more closely to overcome issues.

Steve explains: “What was never in doubt was the genuine determination amongst team members from both companies to achieve success in what is one of the most challenging engineering projects in the UK today. Our involvement has helped them to focus that determination and energy more effectively.”

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COSTAIN

"What was never in doubt was the genuine determination amongst team members from both companies to achieve success"

Steve Gee, Acorn Consultant