Operatives working in the Highways team at Amey have swapped resurfacing highways to runways at RAF Brize Norton. RAF Brize Norton is home to the RAF’s Strategic and Tactical Air Transport (AT) and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) forces, as well as host to many Reserve Units. With its mixed fleet of aircraft, including C130, C17 and a range of other large passenger and cargo transport aircraft, it provides rapid global mobility in support of exercises and operations both overseas and in the UK.
The expertise and skills required to resurface roads were transferred to complete the runway repairs and enhancements. A major element of this project was to ensure that the runway works did not disrupt the day to day running of the base. This meant that the project required detailed planning, close co-operation with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) as well as an effective and reactive communications plan.
David Ogden, Business Director at Amey, said: “Within our Highways team we have a number of direct people and supply chain partners that have excellent experience of working within the MOD environment. When we were successfully selected to assist with resurfacing on airfields by the Defence Service we were excited to showcase those skills and add our expertise from the Roads sector to the project. It’s been a fantastic project for our teams to be involved in all of whom have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Amey Defence Services team. We’ll be working hard to offer compelling solutions through the competitive tendering process going forward.”
With RAF Brize Norton being the largest and busiest Royal Airforce Base in the UK, our teams had to overcome some unusual challenges during the works which included working at night and during ‘non-operational’ periods in accordance with the site’s strict flight schedules. They also had to deal with extreme weather when Storm Hannah made an appearance but our dedicated team met each challenge with resilience, ensuring the programme was not disrupted or delayed.
Teams worked knowing that at any given time they may be asked to vacate the runway with just an hours’ notice. On one occasion, 80 operatives had to down tools and vacate the runway, removing any equipment and leaving the area free for aircraft to take off. The team of highways operatives managed to do this in an impressive 37 minutes.
Robert James, Amey’s Defence Project Manager, said: “There are strict rules that govern how Amey procure works under the Regional Prime contracts, which means Amey Highways had to compete against our existing supply chain in competitive tendering. The planning, delivery and safety management on site has been exemplar, with best practice shared between both teams. We’re eager to work with Highways again and have already identified projects across the country where this may be possible.”
Tim Redfern, Amey’s Director of Defence added “This was a complex and important programme where runway availability could not be compromised and delivery within the programme window was paramount. I was delighted that the work was completed successfully with great collaboration between the Highways team and the on-site team and this is a great example of Amey combining to deliver real benefit to the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and the Royal Air Force as the ultimate customer.”
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