Taking exceptional consideration over London’s Victoria Station upgrade – Taylor Woodrow and BAM Nuttall JV

Taylor Woodrow BAM Nuttall Joint Venture’s project to modernise and improve London Underground’s Victoria station has been praised for its exceptional practice. This project is delivering an upgrade that will relieve congestion, improve access, and extend the station’s life by approximately 75 years.

Explaining this exciting project, Community Liaison Manager Rebecca Major said:

“The project is located at the centre of a major transport interchange between Victoria Underground Station, the National Rail Station and Bus Terminus. The works are also weaved around a dense population of residents and stakeholders, including two of the capital’s longstanding Grade II listed theatres.

“The upgrade involves almost doubling the size of the existing ticket hall, providing a new ticket hall, constructing approximately 300m of tunnels to link the two halls, and providing step-free access into the station. Our priority is to deliver a safe and efficient programme of works whilst maintaining ‘business as usual’ for the 82-plus million people passing through the station each year, whilst minimising the impact on the local community.”

The Victoria Station Upgrade Works include:

  • A new underground north ticket hall at the junction of Bressenden Place and Victoria Street, with an entrance at street level.
  • Doubling in size of the existing Victoria line ticket hall (south ticket hall).
  • 400m of new interchange tunnels, connecting the south and north ticket halls and the District & Circle line platforms.
  • Full modernisation of the existing station areas including nine new escalators and seven new lifts to provide step-free access between street, ticket hall and Victoria line platform levels.
  • Improved access and new lifts between the National Rail and Victoria line platforms and between the Victoria line and District and Circle lines platforms.

Outlining the challenges encountered by the Taylor Woodrow Bam Nuttall JV team on this project, Rebecca said:

“The two theatres have been a key consideration, with a schedule of afternoon and evening performances that cannot be disrupted and are protected by a Section 61 consent with the local authority, and a third party legal agreement. Failure to comply with these agreements carries significant monetary penalties, and so with a year-long programme of tunnelling both underneath and around the Victoria Palace Theatre, it was essential that we adopted a different approach to monitoring and managing the noise from our activities from the outset of the project.

Our solution was to implement a comprehensive process of monitoring and managing ground-borne noise associated with the construction of tunnels. We have also used reverse contour mapping which means that rather than tracking noise outwardly from a source, we worked with the theatres to establish audible noise levels from their auditoriums, and produced a contour map which moves outwardly from this key receptor.

“We installed a series of vibration monitors in the Victoria Palace Theatre. Data collected was used to calculate a theoretical ground-borne noise figure from specific tunnelling activities in decibels. An agreed ground-borne noise trigger level was set, enabling certain tunnelling activities to continue during performances and rehearsals. In the event of a complaint being received, the data provides a robust record to assess measured noise levels against tunnelling activities to investigate the complaint and verify its validity. This system has ensured that we can meet the needs of the project in terms of safety and programme delivery, whilst at the same time ensuring that the theatres are able to continue delivering a consistent experience for their customers.”

You can find out how the team addressed the challenges of the project, as well as reading about a small selection of Taylor Woodrow Bam Nuttall JV’s examples of best practice, by clicking on the sliders below:

  • Victoria Station Upgrade (VSU) had an extensive cleaning team which worked around the clock to keep the site and public areas clean and tidy.
  • VSU in bloom – various plants and flowers were scattered around the project. The team also entered the London underground in bloom awards in 2016.
  • Designated breakout/smoking areas were situated away from public view, with areas playing birdsong and displaying plants and flowers to promote wellbeing.
  • Activity notices were produced and distributed to all stakeholders for any works which may affect the public.
  • The team produced and updated site information/progress boards for the general public.
  • In 2016 VSU helped the Scheme launch its new female mascot, Honor Goodsite, and paired this up with a ‘bring your kids to work’ day.
  • It also hosted numerous student groups at the project for brainstorming sessions.
  • In 2016 the team hosted ‘Insight into Management’ for a group of school students who were given a business problem to provide innovative ideas to solve.
  • The project regularly collected food donations from staff which it donated to the Westminster Foodbank.
  • Key stakeholders were invited to walk around accompanied on site to show general progress of works.
  • Various charity fundraisers were organised including bake sales and various sporting activities such as a charity bike ride. Workers also volunteered for poppy selling in the mainline station for Remembrance Sunday and collected clothes once a year which were donated to The Passage, a local homeless charity. For the last two Christmases they also collected new toys which were donated to the Red Cross and Metropolitan Police Christmas Present Appeal.
  • The project team began liaising with the military (wounded/injured/sick soldiers) offering a workshop to improve skills when applying for work.
  • Greenwich University hosted a research forum on site to tackle diversity within the construction industry and this will be used for a doctoral thesis.
  • Site personnel were encouraged to help local residents and tourists. They also had a small card which showed key tourist points on a map of the area.
  • Web-based data monitoring ensures ground-borne and airborne noise is monitored 24/7. If noise levels approach the trigger, an amber alarm is raised and alerts sent to staff to investigate and rectify. A red alarm follows if resultant noise levels exceed the trigger.
  • The map gives noise trigger levels that must be observed to allow works to continue during performances. This is the first time reverse noise contour mapping has been deployed to manage and control airborne noise at a key receptor. It is also the first time that vibration data has been used to calculate a theoretical ground-borne noise figure and enable the noise impact of underground works to be established.
  • Noise monitoring for theatre performance. Beacons were situated in two locations on the site to provide a visual warning to site staff.
  • Dust-buster solution was used on site to reduce dust while tracking vehicles on site, so that wind did not blow dust out of the site boundary.
  • Eco sandbags were used for holding down signs.
  • PODFather was utilised to direct smart waste. This combined waste transfer notes and bookings electronically, saving time, loss of documentation and paper wastage.
  • A Beyond Zero Behavioural-based safety course was delivered via workshops to all project employees within their first month of being on site. This improved people’s behaviour on site.
  • Brake-testing of plant – all plant was checked daily with a weekly brakes test.
  • ‘Wait for the green man’ signs were installed – life-sized cut-outs of staff from the project, each holding a sign to ask everyone to wait for the green man. All staff adhered to this rule to promote safety to the public.
  • Conveyors carried excavated materials, thus reducing manual handling.
  • First aid training and defibrillator training was undertaken by key members of staff.
  • A foreman’s briefing was written by the safety department and delivered by the foreman to all operatives on a Monday morning.
  • The workforce was always trying to improve safety by looking at the most innovative products and services on the market.
  • The project provided women’s PPE.
  • Self-defence classes for women were available on a quarterly basis.
  • Discounts for VSU staff at the station and surrounding shops had been arranged.
  • Advanced English and e-learning workshops were provided.
  • Computers were available in the welfare area.
  • ‘Fruity Fridays’ – fruit was delivered on site to promote healthy eating.
  • Interactive toolbox talks were regularly undertaken.
  • A laundry service was available for PPE.
  • Medical checks and health surveillance regularly carried out.
  • A full time occupational health nurse was on site.
  • Employee assistance lines for Bam Nuttall and Taylor Woodrow employees were available, with relevant details displayed on site.

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