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Costain Case Study| Digitally optimising the delivery of Europe’s largest infrastructure project



Costain led the implementation of a digital ecosystem to accelerate and assure the delivery of the main works project. This has enabled considerable savings of both time and resources, leaving a legacy of best practice for future projects of this kind.


HS2 is a state-of-the art, high-speed line critical for the UK’s low carbon transport future. It will provide much-needed rail capacity across the country and is integral to rail projects in the North and Midlands – helping to level up the UK economy.


The team has implemented multiple digital processes and systems to enable cost and carbon savings during the design and construction stages of the project. The team’s virtual cost analysis reduced the time taken to calculate quantities and prices of the whole project, using a leaner team with 80% fewer resources and producing £600k savings. The subsequent optimisation of design saved a further £10m. The team was able to calculate the carbon footprint of our design plans 80% faster, allowing continual environmental optimisation of the design.


In a ground-breaking development, we have combined geospatial information systems (GIS) and building information modelling (BIM) to create a 3D GIS platform. The 2019 Esri UK award-winning virtual mapping environment has allowed the team to view vivid design plans and surrounding landscapes while sitting at their desks. This enabled the team to carry out their impact assessments 90% quicker.


We have integrated all systems and processes into a common data environment (CDE), which can be accessed by everyone working on the project. This centralised data hub has the capacity to analyse over 160,000 rows of data and 15 million data points to produce whole-project analytics. In return, individuals can tailor their own workflows with the confidence that they are working with one version of the truth. Ready access to high quality data – reducing the requirement for data cleansing prior to use – has improved significantly as a result, from 40% on previous projects to 98% on this project.


This democratisation of data has led to significant efficiency improvements. Duplication of effort was avoided, meaning we eliminated the need for over 500 drawings in the design phase and there was a 30% reduction in the time spent planning.


We have trained more than 500 employees across the joint venture on this digital engineering system, creating a robust legacy to facilitate similar savings on future projects.


Read More about this case study here.

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