NEC has been used for the emergency remediation of a short stretch of urban culvert in Bradford, UK. Client City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council engaged contractor JN Bentley under a £1.3 million NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option A (priced contract with activity schedule) in June 2022. The work was successfully completed two weeks early and on budget in January 2023.
The design and build contract involved relining a 22 m long section of the Bradford Beck culvert, which runs under much of the city. The culvert in this section is directly under the former Bradford Odeon building, which is being converted into 4,000 capacity events venue. It was found during the conversion works that the 1930 building was supported over the culvert on heavily corroded iron beams that were at risk of collapse.
To avoid disrupting the works above, the contractor’s solution was to install twin structural glass-reinforced-polymer liners and grout them into place via holes drilled in the building floor slab. The nearest access point was 100 m upstream, requiring the liner sections to be carefully carried downstream inside the culvert. For the duration of the works, most of the water flow was diverted via a temporary dam into a flood relief tunnel around 0.5 km upstream. Residual flows were carried through the works in two 225 mm diameter pipes, while temporary pumps were installed upstream in case of heavy rainfall.
Contract easy to understand
Bradford’s NEC project manager Stuart Peder says the Council prefers NEC contracts due to their ease of use. ‘Despite not being a full-time dedicated contract manager, I find them easy to understand and easy to work with.'
He says ECC Option A was used because the Council needed certainty on cost outcome. ‘The contract was prepared in collaboration with the contractor to allocate risks equitably. Such early contractor involvement can save a lot of time and effort and point the client in the right direction.'
Peder says the NEC requirement to work in a ‘spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’ helped to ensure a collaborative approach by the project team. ‘I was kept informed all the way through the job with telephone calls and emails and the contractor liaised closely with the building works contractor above. In the end there were no compensation events, the out-turn cost was exactly as tendered and the project was completed 13 days early.'
The highly successful remediation scheme was shortlisted for the Upgrade and Renewal Project of the Year in the 2023 British Construction Industry Awards.
Benefits of using NEC
• NEC contract was considered to be easy to understand and work with by the client’s part-time project manager.
• ECC Option A gave the client certainty on cost outcome and, together with early contractor involvement, helped to ensure the project was completed early and on budget.
• NEC requirement to work in a ‘spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’ helped to ensure a collaborative approach between the contract parties and interfacing building works.