Winner: Mott MacDonald
The common thread that impressed the judges throughout Mott MacDonald’s entry for Engineering Consultant of the Year was its diverse range of innovation with a strong emphasis on adding value for customers.
The firm demonstrated a range projects and initiatives that illustrated agile thinking in a large yet dynamic business, with the Covenham pipeline being a fine example.
For this, Mott MacDonald had to go back and not just challenge the original solution but some of the standards and traditional thinking.
The project involved a pipeline that wasn’t going to be used in the solution but that the consultant needed to bring back into service.
It discovered that water would flow both ways through the pipe, and this represented one of the main challenges as well as being part of the solution.
Achieving this meant the firm was able to deliver a greater than 50 per cent reduction in embodied carbon and achieve a 33 per cent cost saving to boot – against a target of 19 per cent.
“The clear winner, demonstrating a strong understanding of client needs combined with an innovative collaborative and forward-thinking approach”
A focus on innovation and collaboration was also applied in the company’s work on High Speed 2, which saw the company provide land referencing and environmental impact assessment services for the London to Birmingham section of the scheme.
This meant the firm had to integrate 1,500 datasets from more than 80 suppliers consisting of more than 750 gigabytes of information.
To meet this challenge, Mott MacDonald developed an innovative web-based tool that provided access to more than 400 users in 27 countries and was used by more than 10 different consultants.
“This consultant hit the brief comprehensively, addressing all the criteria”
The firm has also been developing new technologies such as a novel cathodic protection system for steel-framed masonry-clad structures.
Working entirely with recycled and waste materials, this system replaces expensive ribbon or rod anodes with carbon fibre reinforced geopolymer mortar. It was trialled at Leeds Civic Hall in 2013 and is now being used commercially.
Mott MacDonald has also employed 5D BIM on the 38,000-seat Casement Park Stadium in Belfast as part of a complete design service, which reduced time spent on cost updates and design revisions by 70 per cent as well as providing real-time feedback that allowed constant value engineering.
All this did not get in the way of business performance: income in 2013 grew by £100m to reach £1.2bn.
Highly commended: HBa Consulting Engineers
This small firm is one the judges believed was really going places.
From impressive projects, such as the Swadlincote Extra Care Village where renewables energy usage data from wind turbines and PV feeds through to plasma screens, to a clear strategy for growth, this business looks destined for success.
“This firm is one to watch for the future, having such a dynamic and exciting customer focus, with a clear strategy for growth. We look forward to seeing them as future winners”
Over the past year it has initiated a policy of attracting talented young people and recruited four workers aged 18 to 21, accounting for two-thirds of its total headcount, with one being an apprentice.
The company demonstrated the enormous difference this had made. Challenges are now tackled with fresh ideas and enthusiasm, producing a new website and quarterly newsletter that are the sole work of the new staff.
M-EC Consulting Development Engineers
Portland Consulting Engineers