A collaboration of companies has come together to support the delivery of HS2
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, was among the special guests invited to formally launch the alliance of industry leading companies and world-class manufacturers focused on delivering value, innovation and sustainability. Led by A-Plant, L Lynch, P Flannery Plant Hire and Fortel, the alliance of ten equipment and people providers offers the option of an integrated ‘one stop shop’ with a menu of services and an impressive portfolio of manufacturer-suppliers for HS2 and its contractors It has also been designed to embrace innovation by creating opportunities for SMEs and niche, specialist regional businesses to get involved and work collaboratively.
CONNECT was launched at the Innovation Birmingham digital campus with high profile speakers including Tim Burnhope, Chief Innovation Officer at JCB, Craig Wakeman from the West Midlands Combined Authority as well as Clair Mowbray, Chief Executive of the National College for High Speed Rail and James Baker from the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester. As well as workshops and speakers, the event featured an on-site hire plant and equipment compound specifically designed to suit the needs of HS2 and showcase the capabilities of the alliance.
The compound featured world-class equipment including JCB’s new high visibility, safer dumper prototype and a Hydrema, which offers an alternative to forward tipping dumpers. There was also solar powered lighting which can be controlled remotely, biometric security, electric loaders, the Haggland ‘go anywhere’ service vehicle for transporting equipment to ‘difficult to access areas’ and hybrid low-noise, low-emission powered access machines.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, called on the construction industry to think creatively and said it was an exciting time that called for a ‘spirit of collaboration’ within the construction sector. “HS2 is a opportunity to build something genuinely world class. With £900m of contracts for enabling works being awarded, now is a very exciting time for suppliers to go forward confidently and bid for work. It is a huge opportunity to think creatively and ask ourselves, how can we do things differently?”
Dave Harris, Commercial Director at A-Plant, said: “CONNECT is a collaborative group of like-minded companies offering a broad range of services and solutions to HS2 and its contractors. We have come together across traditionally distinct categories of plant equipment, labour, training and operated and non-operated plant solutions, offering an integrated innovative supply chain.
“HS2 has been coined the ‘industrial revolution of the 21st century’ and together as CONNECT our strategic goals are closely aligned with its vision as a catalyst for growth across Britain. This really is an opportunity to revolutionise the construction industry, share best practise and expertise.”
Mr Harris added: “The challenges for HS2 are labour supply, labour skills, equipment innovation and safer, environmentally and community conscious equipment specifications. The CONNECT alliance is confident that together we will be able to meet these challenges, providing everything required across the categories of plant and skilled people. The launch has been an opportunity to raise awareness about CONNECT and gather feedback as well as planting the seed for long-term commitment and collaboration within the construction industry.”
Tim Burnhope, Chief Innovation Officer at JCB, compared HS2 to other disruptive innovations such as the smart phone. Disruptive innovations are revolutionary products and services that really change everything. HS2 will also change everything from how people are transported and live and work across the country to the world of engineering, how industry collaborates and how construction equipment is made.”
Roger Garnham, Major Accounts Manager for Flannery Plant, said: “The CONNECT Alliance is game changing in its approach to a major infrastructure project – it’s an opportunity for businesses to collaborate and offer our services and skills as part of a package for HS2.”
The combined capabilities of the CONNECT alliance feature:
- * £1.82bn annual turnover
- * £1.49bn worth of fleet
- * 23,700 number of direct employees
- * 494 UK locations
- * £256m investments annually
- * 600 apprentices
For further information on the CONNECT Alliance click here