Cheshire West & Chester Council LED Lighting Upgrade

In 2016 we were contracted to undertake a Street Lighting LED conversion for Cheshire West & Chester Council. We worked in partnership with Qwest services, a joint venture company set up by Cheshire West & Chester Council and Engie UK Ltd.
The contract was for the replacement of 27,000 lanterns across the County and was expected to start in October 2016 and be completed by April 2019.
The project was awarded in April 2016 and we began project planning meetings in early May. Initially we met with representatives from Cheshire West and Chester Council and Qwest services to prepare the Construction Phase Plan and approved RAMS. The next stage was to confirm our proposed programme of works; at this point it was important to involve representatives from the two Street Light manufacturers who would be supplying the project so that manufacturing/delivery lead times could be incorporated into the programme.
A designated project manager was appointed, to take the lead on liaison with the key stakeholders and to set out the health and safety arrangements and site rules. How to manage Quality Control and Reporting procedures was a major concern in the early stages of planning and we subsequently developed our own iPad Application designed specifically for this project which produces a PDF report and allows photographs to be appended to report. There is also a ‘Weekly Team Inspection’ form to be completed by the project manager.
We selected four Electricians and four Installation operatives to the project and organised a programme of training to be completed in the month prior to the contract start date. All operatives were subject to the training, regardless of whether they already had a valid certificate in this area. This ensured that the team were competent, trained in-line with National Highways Sector Scheme standards and their HERS (Highways Electrical Registration Scheme) ECS cards valid. As all operatives attended the training sessions together, they were also valuable team building exercises.
The project was to run in two Phases, the east side of the County was to be completed first using ‘Lantern A’ and on completion we were to move on to the west side of the County using ‘Lantern B’.
For logistical purposes it was agreed that we would use Qwest Services’ Depot in Winsford for Phase 1 of the project; all lanterns would be delivered and stored on site, our project manager would be based there and the teams would meet there each morning to collect their daily work packs and load up their vehicles. For Phase 2 we would move the operation to our Oakenholt depot as this is better placed for the areas in which we would be working.
We did encounter delays early on in this project due to supply chain issues, the lead time on the lanterns for Phase 1 of the project turned out to be much longer than anticipated when planning the programme of works and, due to the manufacturing capacity of the supplier, it was clear that we would run out of stock well before the next delivery. To avoid the project coming to a halt, our project manager worked closely with Qwest, the Council and the lantern suppliers and resolved to alter the programme of works. We arranged for two of the four teams to move over to the Oakenholt depot and begin installing the Phase 2 lanterns on the west side of the County, these lanterns were from a different manufacturer with a much shorter lead time. This slowed down the output on the Phase 1 installation enough so that they did not run out of stock before the next delivery.
We continued to monitor daily results and stock levels so that we were able to anticipate any further issues and propose a solution before it had an impact on the project. This flexible approach allowed work to continue seamlessly. In the planning stages we also considered the seasonal changes that would affect output, we knew that the teams would not be able to install as many lanterns in the winter months due to there being less daylight hours and potential bad weather which would make it unsafe to work. Wherever possible we countered this by adding an additional team to the project to ensure we stayed ahead of our weekly targets. In addition, we implemented staff incentives to motivate the operatives to ensure they met their weekly targets. Rewards varied from an early finish on a Friday to a team day out at the Races.
This approach, along with close monitoring of weekly progress and regular liaison with the key stakeholders enabled us to complete the project five months ahead of schedule.
“We have found Mega Electrical to be proactive during the mobilisation of the project, they are flexible in adapting to changes in circumstances at short notice and work in the spirit of partnership to the benefit of the project”
Craig Gaskell - Business Development Manager, Qwest Services