Considerately shoring up Blackpool and Fleetwood’s coastal flood defences – Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty’s Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme project along the Lancashire coastline has received exceptional scores in all areas of the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice.

The Rossall Coastal Protection Scheme is part of a programme of planned coastal civil engineering works on the Fylde Coast, governed by the North West and North Wales Shoreline Management Plan.

The project is to renew 1.8km of existing sea defences at Rossall, located between Fleetwood and Blackpool. The fortifications will protect 7500 homes and infrastructure, in line with a flood return period (frequency of severe flooding) being greater than 0.5% (1:200 years). The defences have a 100-year design life, taking into account sea level rise.

The Rossall scheme was awarded to Balfour Beatty in October 2013 as a design and build scheme, with the main construction commencing in 2014. The coastal defences were opened to the public this year and there are some additional landscaping works due for completion in spring 2018.

The scheme was developed by the Fylde Peninsular Coastal Programme with the promoters Wyre Council, in conjunction with Blackpool Borough Council, Fylde Council and the Environment Agency. It is one of three schemes in the area. The landscape strategy is to provide a network of pathways that traverse the landform enabling access between Fairway and the promenade.

Outlining the work, Balfour Beatty Project Manager, Phil Dilworth said:

“The construction of the defences consists of 18 rock armour groynes and rock revetment (each rock weighing 2.5-10.5 tonnes each) leading to a sheet pile wall.

“There is then a sequence of pre-cast revetments leading to a curved wave wall. Behind the wave wall is the lower and upper promenade consisting of a high quality exposed quartz aggregate finish with an intermediate block providing the change in level. There is then a rear wall with the landscaping works at the rear.”


One of the main challenges the team faced on this project was ensuring the safe and efficient delivery of the vast quantity of materials which included:

  • 243,000 tonnes of rock armour (2.5-10.5 tonnes each rock)
  • 95.000 tonnes of under layer Rock (0.3 to 1 tonne each)
  • 9,700 pre-cast concrete units ( 1 tonne to 14 tonnes each)
  • 230,000 tonnes of 6N/Type 1 Fill
  • 45,000m3 of Insitu Concrete

Successful teamwork

Explaining how the team tackled this challenge, Phil explained:

“An approved route was developed with Lancashire County Council, details of which were included on all orders. Monitoring of the route was a constant exercise and we purchased a SID (Speed Indication Display) camera – the smiley face one that displays your speed if you’re good. We set this up in different locations and the speed camera and vibration monitor were all in daily use.

“Complaints are dealt with quickly with a personal response. The key thing we have done as a team is to hold open mornings – these are a general invitation for the public. If we do have complaints, the individual is personally invited so they can meet us, ask direct questions and get specific answers; this approach changed some of the early complainants to become advocates of the project.

“The key success has been the teamwork approach by Balfour Beatty and Wyre Council to both manage the contract, while effectively dealing with the public. By all of us adopting a proactive and positive approach the requirements of the Scheme have become a natural element of our activities.”

You can read about just a few of the Balfour Beatty project team’s many examples of best practice to comply with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, by clicking on the sliders below:

  • External areas of the site were kept clean and tidy, with a bin provided for the public and hoarding kept clean and presentable.
  • Litter picks were regularly carried out and there were daily inspections by staff.
  • All facilities, vehicles, plant and stored materials were screened and motion-activated lighting pointed away from residents to reduce impact. The same approach was taken with regards to satellite welfare facilities.
  • The perimeter and surrounding areas were kept clean and tidy with a road sweeper, tractor and bowser used to dampen down roads.
  • Members of the public and visitors could attend open mornings on site and there were regular updates posted in visitors’ cabins, on noticeboards and web pages. Open fencing was also used at access points to provide a viewing area and Heras fencing surrounded the main landscaping works.
  • Daily visual checks of the compounds and waste and storage areas were carried out and recorded weekly, with storage at the main compound under the control of a store man.
  • Positive press about the project was achieved in local, national, radio and television interviews.
  • Letter drops were carried out detailing various events and news such as Christmas updates, Chatsworth Piling and the Larkholme Grasslands Consultations.
  • Advance warning signs were given.
  • There were 23 open mornings staged for members of the public.
  • Set working hours were carried out and there was a 24-hour contact number and 24-hour security.
  • A public liaison cabin was manned for one day a week.
  • Complaints and compliments were recorded, with 90 per cent of complaints responded to within 24 hours.
  • Vibration and noise monitoring was carried out daily.
  • A speed sign and speed camera were installed to monitor speeding vehicles.
  • A traffic management plan was implemented and each access had a dedicated vehicle marshal.
  • An agreed delivery route was in place, delivery routes were included on all orders and there were set delivery times.
  • In terms of local employment, 85 members of the workforce were employed from Blackpool, Fleetwood and the St Anne’s area; a further 197 were employed from within a 50-mile radius.
  • There were strong links with the local training programme – Blackpool Build-up. A donation of 20 pallets was given to this organisation.
  • Two day-release engineers studying HNC Civils were employed on the project.
  • Members of the workforce were given time off for giving blood and charitable assistance.
  • A further £230 was given to Cancer Research Blackpool UK from the proceeds of cooking breakfasts and providing a tuck box.
  • Local suppliers were used wherever possible, providing building materials, rock, concrete, aggregate and CBGM (Cement Bound Granular Mixtures).
  • A collection box for the RNLI was left on site for donations from members of the public.
  • A positive impression of the site was created by organising a site induction, toolbox talks, posters, newsletters and generating positive coverage in the local press and with Wyre Council.
  • Conduct and behaviour were addressed at the site induction and there were regular toolbox talks, visitors’ PPE and briefing and an open door policy.
  • Ramps and parking were in place for disabled visitors.
  • Cabins had blinds and shutters and all cabin lighting was run by sensors.
  • The rear wall was demolished in two phases, using a muncher as opposed to a breaker, causing less disruption.
  • Key complaints were raised in a Project Board meeting.
  • A public consultation exercise was carried out.
  • Hard hats were provided for one nearby school and a time capsule event was organised at another local school.
  • Some of the project team’s charitable events included a Ride across Britain and a ‘Tram Sunday’ fundraising event, enabling children to sit in a 40ft excavator. Four operatives were supplied for the event, as well as fencing.
  • A charity auction was held to detonate a blast at a local quarry, raising £375 for charity.
  • Cash was donated from a tuck box in the kitchen and the cleaner made breakfast on Fridays, altogether raising £230 for Cancer Research.
  • The northern area of the site is designated as SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), so work patterns had to be agreed with Natural England which attended the site at the team’s request.
  • Each area was inspected prior to work with reptile surveys carried out and ongoing seed collections.
  • A hibernacula (refuge) habitat was built for reptiles.
  • Natural England was contacted and plans for the landscaping were agreed before commencement of works.
  • An environmental survey was carried out to assess the impact of construction works on the bird population.
  • A £120k turf order was placed for the first phases of the work to ensure that plant species were both suitable and enhancing to the area.
  • Landscaping was designed to create habitats and add ecological value.
  • Reclaimed timber was used from groynes and all metal was recycled.
  • Concrete was crushed on site and skips were collected and sorted at a waste transfer station.
  • Clay material excavated from the sea wall works was reused for the landscaping fill.
  • Silenced generators were used to minimise noise pollution and there was a soundproof barrier with a power cube battery pack which supplied the cabin/drying room at night, so the generator could be switched off.
  • Daily vibration and noise monitoring was in place and all such equipment was purchased by the contractor.
  • Plant was run on biodegradable hydraulic fuel.
  • Permission was given to extract sea water for damping down dust on site.
  • Road sweepers were used and there was a tractor and bowser on site full-time to dampen down.
  • Local employment – 37% of workers were located within a five mile radius of the site, and 71% were within a 50-mile radius. 
  • All personnel were briefed in small groups to discuss site safety and complete observation cards.
  • MSP training was provided for managers to support safety strategies.
  • Asbestos awareness training was provided.
  • To ensure the movement of vehicles and plant outside the site did not pose a risk to pedestrians, cyclists and other road users, a SID Camera was introduced and a speed camera.
  • Approved routes were designated and all orders included minimum requirements for delivery vehicles.
  • Accidents and incidents were all investigated, recorded and shared with the team’s HSQE to identify trends and learn from these.
  • Hazard boards were in place and there were daily briefings.
  • Site rules were available in different languages.
  • A briefing sheet was given to drivers.
  • With regards to showing commitment, respect and fair treatment to the workforce, a company policy was in place as well as a positive open door attitude.
  • In relation to occupational health risks, HAVS training was provided and special kit used, as well as posters and emergency contact details displayed.
  • Two full welfare facilities were set up for the workforce and the gatemen had heated cabins.
  • Lockers, PPE and new waterproofs were provided to all operatives who also benefited from welfare cabins, Wi-Fi and showers.
  • CSCS cards were standard on site and spot checks were carried out. Checks were also completed via head office through key suppliers only.
  • New people were encouraged into the industry and there were two day-release engineers on HNC, one graduate and two subcontractor trainees employed. Two members of personnel were engaged on NVQ training.
  • School and college trips were arranged and the project featured in the local and national press.
  • The health and wellbeing of the workforce was addressed through set working times, seasonal posters, mental health information, regular breaks and HAVS (Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome) assessments. 

Recently published