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Delivering future-fit maintenance facilities for Network Rail’s Eastern Region

We were appointed by Network Rail to project manage vital civil and building works on behalf of the Eastern Region, as part of the Direct Delivery team.

Every year, Direct Delivery is responsible for £25 to £35 million of works. These focus on creating the first-class maintenance facilities needed to keep one of England’s busiest rail regions operational and retain skilled maintenance professionals in a fiercely competitive field.

Our role

Since 2021, we have provided Direct Delivery with quality project and commercial management support. We are responsible for all project management disciplines, including but not limited to:

  • Contract management – Making sure that Direct Delivery had access to the best value suppliers
  • Programme management – Working with supply chain partners to keep the programme on track. Using digital technologies to make sure that schedules are accurate and being met
  • Cost – Producing detailed cost estimates with appropriate contingency. Advising Direct Delivery on using a limited budget to achieve the best possible outcomes
  • Stakeholder management – Developing tailored stakeholder management plans, considering different needs and preferences in communication style
  • Health and safety – Reviewing safety documents and safe systems at work. Undertaking safety tours on site and working with supply chain partners to identify potential problems and ways to avoid them

Working in partnership with Direct Delivery's leadership team, we provide advice and guidance on best practice and oversee all professionals working on the project. This has led to process improvements, helped Direct Delivery proactively manage peaks and troughs in workload, and identified where other specialist services may be needed.

Overcoming challenges

We have now delivered over 30 projects for Direct Delivery and on each, the quality, professionalism, and collaborative nature of our people have been key to successful outcomes.

Direct Delivery is a lean organisation, where project managers are responsible for managing and mitigating risks on their projects. Our experience working on similar programmes means that we have the expertise needed to operate effectively in this environment. We’re able to help Direct Delivery make risk-based decisions, tackle issues proactively and escalate them when appropriate.

Across projects, we have also needed to work to constrained budgets. In some cases, these were set pre-Covid, the war in Ukraine or the spike in inflation we’ve experienced. We have advised Direct Delivery on how to navigate this challenging environment by adopting value engineering – focusing on necessary outputs and finding the most cost-effective way to achieve them. Often this has involved researching alternative suppliers or challenging stakeholder requirements through a wants vs needs assessment.

Delivering client benefits

Our work on the project has delivered several direct and indirect benefits to Network Rail’s Eastern Region, including:

  • Improved retention – Modern, fit-for-purpose maintenance facilities give people a better place to work, supporting employee health, engagement and retention
  • Better railways – Employees have the modern facilities they need to carry out vital maintenance, leading to a more reliable railway, better able to connect people to friends, family and jobs up and down the region
  • Value for stakeholders – By seeking value for Direct Delivery at every opportunity, we have helped the organisation make sure it is delivering maximum return on investment for stakeholders – including the public

Chris Round, Associate Director at Currie & Brown and programme manager for Direct Delivery comments: “It has been a real pleasure to work with Direct Delivery on such an array of projects. Sitting on the leadership team has enabled us to keep a tight handle on client objectives, and make sure we’re working constantly towards these. We look forward to supporting Direct Delivery with what’s next.”

David Peet, Senior Programme Manager, Direct Delivery comments: “Currie & Brown has provided Direct Delivery with project management, commercial management and planning services since September 21. During this time, they have supplied a number of very capable people who have been engaged and responsive in their drive to meet our changing business needs. Currie & Brown continue to lead a critical programme of work as we approach CP7 and are a trusted professional service partner.”

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