Early Contractor Involvement for Important Canal & River Trust Project | Land & Water

Civil Engineering

Early Contractor Involvement (ECI): Making Projects workable for Canal & River Trust


Sometimes, the first idea or solution to your project may not get the go-ahead and approvals it needs. Perhaps the budget can’t be signed off or access restrictions mean it can’t go ahead. Perhaps there are environmental barriers or stakeholders presenting issues. Yet it doesn’t mean compromises have to be made or projects abandoned. Land & Water has worked with clients to find some creative and feasible ways to get projects back on track, without delay and without limiting changes. The answer lies in engaging specialist contractors like Land & Water at an early stage.

Why Early Contactor Involvement Matters

When specialists are engaged early enough, we can start with a clean sheet to find savings and solutions which present huge benefits to your project, including:

  • Identification of best and most up-to-date methods of construction which may save money and time
  • Accuracy in the prediction of budgets meaning there are no unwelcome surprises
  • Value engineering – our years of experience mean we can find clever ways to provide you with a solution
  • Identification of the most cost-effective and sustainable disposal or re-use of sediment so this part of the project is both cost effective and environmentally sustainable

Unfortunately, too many projects are abandoned or compromised when contractors are involved too late. The lack of communication between the client, designers and contractors can often set your project back by months.

Working with Canal & River Trust

Canal & River Trust

The Canal & River trust are a charity which look after England and Wales’ waterways. They are responsible for 2,000 miles of navigable canals and rivers, together with bridges, tunnels, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs, along with museums and archive collections.

Land & Water has worked alongside the Canal & River trust for more than 20 years and are the official contractor for their National Dredging Contract. That’s why when the Canal & River Trust realised they had a problem with the delivery and affordability of their latest project at Aston Nature Reserves, they called on Land & Water to help.

How ECI transformed Canal & River Trust’s Aston Nature Reserves Project

Canal & River Trust successfully achieved an important project at Aston Nature Reserves by engaging with Land & Water to help get their plans off the ground.

The project to create two balancing ponds and a nature reserve would provide quality habitats as well as an open space for walkers, sited adjacent to the Montgomery Canal restoration; a project which has been on-going since 1969 and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for much of its length.

The Canal & River Trust began to realise that the initial design specification was unworkable in the difficult ground conditions at the site. During the initial stages of the project, the design solutions proposed by the client made for an expensive, unaffordable and tricky installation option; meaning the project was in danger of falling through.

Reflecting the issues and the urgency behind the project, Canal & River Trust brought in Land & Water to review the initial design ideas, and with support from key design partners, find a deliverable and functional design by thinking outside of the box.

The final solution involved:

  • Material classification
  • Earth modelling
  • Design of inlet/outlet structures
  • Development of a suitable construction specification

With early access and insight to the project at the initial design stages, we were able to identify ways to make savings, and bring ideas which brought a deliverable solution that resolved potential issues and brought the project within the client’s budget.

It was through our guidance that they were able to take their initial design and achieve something deliverable.

The solution to cost-effective project completion

The brief was to establish a sequence of balancing ponds along the offside of the canal at Aston Locks. The new ponds would link to existing ponds at lock one and to the one at lock three. The solution consisted of seven core steps, including:

  • Construction and upgrade of the existing site access track
  • Clearance of the vegetation of the site
  • Excavation and shaping of the ponds
  • Construction of embankments and bunds
  • Construction of water supply and transfer structures, weirs, overflows and pipework
  • Topsoiling
  • Installation of coir roll matting and reed beds where required

Involving Land & Water from the early stages meant we were able to offer a one stop shop service for the whole delivery of the project. From detailed design to minor civils and earthworks to planting – the Canal & River Trust didn’t have to turn anywhere else or manage other suppliers to get the project done.

ECI Also Brings Considered Stakeholder Engagement – Ensuring Project Success

Although the success of the Aston Nature Reserve project relied on involving Land & Water from the design stages, it also benefited from a focus on stakeholder engagement. In fact, the project involved extensive client-contractor engagement to take the project from a concept to an affordable, suitable design and through to construction.

Alongside client engagements, Land & Water was also keen to consider and involve the volunteers working on the restoration of the Montgomery Canal and the involvement of third parties, including the design partners.

At Land & Water, we know that projects are often delayed when stakeholders’ needs are not considered. This is an aspect of project planning that can get forgotten. Stakeholder engagement is vital to seamless project delivery and a critical part of L&W’s planning.

To find out more about our commitment to helping clients with stakeholder engagement, download our Stakeholder Engagement brochure.

Our Strive for Inspiration, Innovation and Results

Our highly skilled team are always looking to develop new and inspiring project delivery methods that produce results. If you’re looking for a viable and cost-effective solution to your civil engineering project, talk to Land & Water today and see how involving us in the early stages of your project can help you achieve project success. Alternatively, take a look at how we’ve worked with other clients just like you to achieve their goals.

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