Rail Industry Focus

21.03.17

Bond Street: The importance of clear and consistent stakeholder communication

Source: RTM Feb/Mar 17

Chris Pateman, Crossrail’s Bond Street project manager, and Simon Bennett, head of Learning Legacy at Crossrail, discuss the value of strong stakeholder engagement while constructing a station in the heart of Mayfair.

When Crossrail’s Bond Street station opens in 2018 it will improve accessibility and capacity in one of the capital’s busiest shopping districts. It will also boast two new street-level ticket halls: one at Davies Street and the other at Hanover Square. 

Construction at the site, which sits in the heart of Mayfair, started back in 2010, and since then the team has led a programme of utility diversions works, as well as the demolition of buildings above each of the ticket hall sites, and construction work on the 250m-long platforms has taken place. 

Chris Pateman, Crossrail’s Bond Street project manager, who has worked on the scheme for the last seven years, said that while the engineering of the project came with its challenges, “the big issues, when we took control of the site, was we had to convey a message to local businesses and residents that a major infrastructure project was taking place on their doorstep without causing a detriment to their living standards or financial income”. 

One of the main successes on this major project, he added, has been how the team has managed the stakeholders and construction activities in a confined area. 

“The surroundings of each ticket hall, for example, are different,” said Pateman. “On the east, Hannover Square, we have a lot of business operations around our site – banks, nightclubs –  and on the western ticket hall it is more high-value residential properties. We also have a shopping centre.” 

Having a clear and common message has been key to the Bond Street works, with the team consistently holding three-monthly Community Forum meetings with local residents and businesses since the start of the scheme. 

“Initially, we used to get over 170 attending, but after 18 months this reduced to 20-25. This happened by virtue of the initial concerns being realised by the team,” explained Pateman. “In the forums, to keep and maintain the trust of our neighbours, we had to do what we said we would. We explain the works we have done in the last few months, and what will be done in the upcoming months.” 

An example of where good stakeholder engagement was crucial, Pateman told us, was in November 2015, when the team had to construct a large ventilation shaft on the western ticket hall. 

“The most efficient form of construction to build that was slip-form construction, so continuous moving shutters. We consulted with the residents and explained that this would be a 24-hour activity, and in this case we offered temporary rehousing. In total, 68 families took us up on that, works were completed in an 18-day period and regular communication was delivered to the families. Ultimately, the shaft got completed, and the residents deemed the rehousing a success.” 

The basic fundamental, he added, is building trust with your stakeholders, and “doing what you say you will do”. 

Simon Bennett, head of Legacy Learning at Crossrail, told us that while good stakeholder engagement is nothing new, Crossrail will be sharing how the local teams went about delivering this vital component of the works. 

“It can always improve as you go on,” he reflected. “I think what we are passing on is the lessons about ‘how’ you do it. Projects like Crossrail, which are authorised by Acts of Parliament, will go through that process and end up with something like our Environmental Minimum Requirements, one of which is the Crossrail Construction Code. This is something that was consulted with the local authorities while we were in Parliament, and indeed before, which is what mandates us to require our contractors to employ a specific community relations representative, i.e. to put resource into this.” 

Prior to the project’s completion next year, the Bond Street team is currently carrying out civil engineering activities, and it is also starting to install the first phase of electrical and mechanical works. 

A key date for the scheme this year, noted Bennett, is the handing over of the central section tunnels for dynamic testing in November. “But while dynamic testing is going on, we will be completing stations where there aren’t trains running,” he explained, adding that completion is due for August 2018, providing access for training before Crossrail services start using the new station.

The Learning Legacy work can be accessed at:

W: learninglegacy.crossrail.co.uk

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com 

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