Church Village Bypass, Rhondda Cynon Taf
Size of project: £90m
Type of project: Highway
Demonstration themes: Corporate social responsibility, customer needs, integrated teams, ensuring predictability of cost and time, value engineering and supply chain management, sustainability, and waste management
Contract: NEC Option C
- Client: Rhondda Cynon Taf Council
- Main contractor: Costain
- Designer: Atkins
- Other: Client representative – Capita Glamorgan Consultancy
Church Village Bypass aims to improve the local road network and is seen as strategically important for the regeneration of the whole of Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT). The principal requirement was to deliver the bypass on time and under budget with savings achieved through value engineering and construction initiatives. However, the team also set itself challenging environmental and community goals.
Value engineering was applied right from the start to ensure that materials were reused and recycled wherever possible. As a result, over 99% of the 750,000m3 of excavated material was reused. More than 70% of the 150,000m3 of imported construction materials came from recycled products, including blast furnace slag, recycled concrete and recycled plastic. Overall, it is estimated that the volume of earthworks excavation required was reduced by 300,000m3.
The use of precast bridges, culverts, and complete precast manholes helped to minimise waste on site and ensure a safer working environment. Safety was a top priority throughout; for example, edge protection was used on site vehicles to prevent falls from height when working on the back of delivery vans. Satellite-guided bulldozers and excavators removed the requirement for setting out and the need for banksmen to control plant.
Wildlife habitats were protected where possible. For instance, two new great crested newt ponds and three dormice bridges were created, a large area of habitat suitable for marsh fritillary butterflies was purchased, and 400 reptiles were moved to safer areas. Otter passes were provided at all river culverts, along with badger, otter and great crested newt fencing along the length of the scheme.
To keep local people informed of progress, a full-time community relations manager was appointed. Information was disseminated in various ways, including through a dedicate website, visitors centre, newsletters, advanced works information notices and the local press. Nearly 3,000 schoolchildren were given talks, educational site visits were arranged, and a number of school projects connected to the works were organised. More than 60 local projects were also supported.
The Church Village team was committed to delivering wider economic regeneration benefits to the community. Over 70 entry-level jobs for long-term unemployed and three jobs for long-term prolific offenders were created, and two new business start-ups were supported. Ninety per cent of contracts were awarded to local companies and 90% of all material orders were sourced from local suppliers.
The team also established a Church Village Bypass Business Club and developed a Small and Medium Enterprise-friendly charter in line with the Welsh Assembly Government’s Opening Doors strategy, providing expert support and advice to help smaller companies improve their procedures, processes and skills in order to grow their business and develop into new markets.
The project was delivered ahead of schedule and under budget: savings of £35m were made on the original scheme design. The scheme has won numerous awards in recognition of its focus on safety, community engagement and good procurement practice. These include Education Business Partnership Awards in 2009 and 2010 for support given to education; BITC Wales Awards for Excellence in 2010 for responsible methods of procurement; Gold RoSPA Awards in 2008, 2009 and 2010; and Considerate Constructors Gold Awards in 2009 and 2010.
The project’s success was due in large part to the commitment to integrated team working and early contractor involvement. The team was able to learn lessons and transfer knowledge to and from other projects and organisations. The project took a number of lessons from the award-winning Porth Relief Road scheme and is now being used to help shape the development of the 21st Century Schools Programme. In Costain’s Innovations Register – established to gather learning from its projects – 40% of suggested improvements come from the Church Village Bypass.