Reading STW

Customer: Black and Veatch

Site Owner: Thames Water

Value: £3.5M

FSD were the electrical contractor for the construction of the Reading Sewage Treatment Works, having worked with Black and Veatch from early in the process to develop and cost and electrical installation design. Initially, FSD were employed for only the main electrical package, but its role grew when the majority of subcontractors for the smaller packages let their electrical work to them.

At the time of construction, Reading STW was Thames Water’s biggest investment to date. It was an innovative design that was intended to look more like a business park than a traditional sewage plant. In addition, everything was to be sealed and contained, and there was to be an intricate and extensive odour control system.

A Profibus fieldbus system was installed throughout the site to enable Thames to achieve a fully automated system. Each building had a dedicated remote control centre which were powered from a central plantroom. This involved many separate, but interconnected, buildings and processes and meant that close coordination between all parties was vital.

Textbook supply chain management and open book partnering was employed to ensure that the fast track project was completed on time and to budget. All teams set up their offices on site and held daily meetings to discuss the project together. FSD worked with the mechanical contractors to avoid installation clashes, and had involvement in the civil design to make sure it was buildable in terms of the cable ducts and plant / MCC layout.

FSD’s input in the distribution network was essential. Cabling was run in underground trenches and ducts from the central plantroom to the various buildings, and careful planning was needed to ensure that the cables were laid into the trenches in the order to suit their exit points.

Another area of FSD influence was the distribution boards. Black and Veatch bought the main MCC’s and allowed FSD to coordinate their design with their supplier. This was an unusual move, but gave FSD to opportunity to ensure it was buildable when it came to site.

The fast track nature of this project led FSD to split its team into 4 areas, each with a separate supervisor – the fact that FSD won several of the electrical packages greatly helped the overall coordination. FSD were able to react quickly to the daily changes and deploy manpower appropriately, and this meant, not only greater flexibility, but reduced costs to the client.