The North London Gas Alliance (NLGA) is a joint venture between Skanska McNicholas and National Grid Transco. The partnership was formed to carry out a major programme to replace all metal gas mains with new plastic pipes across the North London and East Anglia regions – part of the national ongoing main replacement scheme developed in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive.
This 30-year programme involves replacing some 440 kilometres of pipes a year at a rate of between 8-10 kilometres a week. Planning and tracking all the materials, people, time, money and schedules to ensure the right work gets done in the right place at the right time is absolutely crucial.
Now in its sixth year, this complex programme had originally relied on Oracle’s Primavera as the sole planning tool. While it provided a lot of detail, only a handful of people with specialist knowledge were able to access the information and it was proving too complicated for the much wider audience who needed to see and understand what was happening.
With crews and supervisors carrying out the replacement work in each of the five zones at any given time, a dedicated planner for each zone, programme officers, senior management and key stakeholders all needing to be kept up to date, a simpler real time source of information was required which could be presented in customised views to suit the different groups.
The NLGA solution is built on the Microsoft technology platform and includes Microsoft SQL, Project Server, and SharePoint. In addition to this, Program Framework has deployed their in-house technology to support report aspects of the reporting requirement.
To meet the low installation foot-print requirement, the solution has been hosted on Program Framework servers and is accessed by the users via a secure web connection.
Using this technology stack, and hosting the solution in this way has provided NLGA with a rapidly deployed capability, allowing them to begin to capitalise on their investment quickly, and seamlessly.
“Because everyone is now looking at the same thing, the programme officers and planners find it easier to plan in meetings and on screen and can clearly see the effects of any changes on the rest of the programme.”
“Senior managers can see web-based dashboard reports giving them the headline information they require. With customised views for each of the zones, each supervisor only gets the information that they need for their crews. It has given us a totally different way of working and takes half the time.”
“The work that Program Framework has done for us at the North London Gas Alliance has enabled our planning meetings to contain real time planning and has probably halved the time spent in revising and analysing the plan. The dashboards that have been designed give the management team a live picture of progress and forecast and are an invaluable tool to monitor both financial and physical progress."
"The support that Program Framework has given post implementation has enabled a smooth transition to the new way of working and if and when our business needs change, I will have no hesitation in working with Program Framework again.”
Spencer Knight, Programme Manager, NLGA