Wealth of Opportunities for South West Construction Sector
It’s almost impossible not to be aware of the construction of Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station, and beyond the headlines there are some fascinating insights to be revealed through the Hinkley Supply Chain Team, a group managed by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce. Their portal based approach has led to over £500 million of investment and contracts being placed in the South West region, and Engagement Manager Sam Evans came to the October Gregg Latchams’ Construction Breakfast to explain how.
Everything regarding Hinkley Point starts with scale. It’s hard to imagine 2,000 workers on site each day, and when Sam revealed that almost every member of staff must use Park and Ride buses to get to the site, you start to get an idea of the size of the operation. Aggregates will be shipped in and dropped off by a temporary jetty currently under construction, and over three million tonnes of concrete will be mixed on site – enough to fill Wembley Stadium.
And yet despite the size, it is all about the detail for the engineers, surveyors, and construction experts. Monitors are attached to the pins within the gantry walls to identify any seismic movement that must be assessed, and the ten-year timeline includes plans for the softer things in life: shops, gyms, and cafes. There’s even a plan for landscaping and tree planting.
Pulling together the contractors required for such a huge project is no mean feat, and yet Sam Evans and the Somerset Chamber of Commerce have worked closely with EDF Energy to create an online web portal that collates every company that wishes to pitch towards the workload. Almost 4000 businesses have registered, and over 1750 local and regional firms have been recommended for Tier 1 and 2 contracts in the last 12 months alone.
The portal is there to smooth the application process for businesses: “Application through the portal allows us to get a lay of the land, and we can then map projects to leaders in that industry. You must be the best to be considered,” Sam Evans said.
Collaborating with EDF Energy to manage the relationships, the Somerset Chamber of Commerce has organised workshops on bidding, NC3 delivery, and nuclear safety culture to give businesses the skills to work closely with Hinkley Point. The challenge, as Sam Evans addressed when a questions was put to her, is that EDF Energy must remain commercially driven, but will source locally and regionally wherever possible. If it is not possible, then their eyes must look further afield.
This was a fantastic session to kick off the Gregg Latchams Construction Breakfast, and Sam Evans spoke wonderfully about the challenges – and joys! – of interacting with so many stakeholders on such a large project.
There were over 60 attendees to this month’s event, and all attendees were able to network and gather great contacts for their construction work within Bristol. Gregg Latchams loves interacting with the networks within Bristol, and their legal expertise is an excellent foundation for many. Our next construction breakfast will take place in November, so make sure that you sign up for your place here!
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