Regional Prime contracts are preparing for winter

26 September 2018
Image of a snow plough pushing snow.

Amey’s Regional Prime contracts and supply chain partners have been busy looking ahead to prepare all sites across the four Regional Prime contracts for the winter period. Earlier this year, Amey faced significant challenges across all contracts when the ‘Beast from the East’ kept the country covered in snow, ice and freezing temperatures for days.

Staff and supply chain members across the Regional Primes worked around the clock making sure that sites remained open and maintenance work could still be carried out. They have been reflecting on what worked well and also discussed any potential improvements and lessons learned to make sure that they continue to deliver a great service.

In the Regional Prime South West, from a heating perspective, there is significant activity during summer to ensure that heating assets are working correctly and if any issues are found, that they are fixed ahead of winter. There is also a significant spend on maintenance and repairs to ensure all fixes can go ahead without any issues. The Catastrophic Failure process is also being reviewed by the Royal Navy for implementation. This is a process that the Regional Prime advisors at the Customer Service Centre follows when a catastrophic failure to a specific asset is reported. They’re reviewing it in order to make sure that it works and also to check whether there are ways it could be better to get a better solution for customers.

There was also feedback session with the area managers following the bad weather and there were no significant problems raised. Snow and ice plans and processes are currently under review and will be ready to go in time for winter.

The largest planning task on the Regional Prime Scotland & Northern Ireland (RPS&NI) contract has been preparing for snow clearance and gritting operations. This contract is such a big one with many of the sites quite a distance apart and sometimes on challenging and vastly different terrain, ensuring access on and off these sites is important as well as making sure they are kept operational 24 hours a day.

As early as this July and August, the RPS&NI team have also started to take a fresh look at last year’s winter plans and assess them for ongoing suitability. They also take a look at gritting routes with our customer to make sure they’re still the right ones. Most establishments have a store for stockpiling road grit and this needs to be re-filled ready for the start of the season on 1st November.

In the Regional Prime South East, Tivoli’s Area Managers have been working together with their Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) counterparts reviewing snow and ice drawings to check if any amendments are needed to make sure any changes are made ahead of winter. The email list has also been updated for snow and ice alerts across the region and they have also been working on reviewing their snow and ice plans. Amey’s Regional Prime South East teams across the region are also asked to check their heating early to check for any issues so that they can be resolved quickly before they are needed.

In the Regional Prime Central (RPC) contract staff were walking to work or going miles out of the way to drive to work due to road closures when the bad weather conditions hit. They also stayed overnight on sites to ensure they were there for any emergencies and so that they could stay operational. This time around the Amey RPC team are engaging with local authorities to understand their snow clearance regimes. They’re also sharing and discussing plans with supply chain, the DIO and customers once they’ve been agreed. In more remote or hilly areas, the team are keeping an eye on forecasts and will be pre-booking rooms in Single Living Accommodation blocks prior to any snowfall in the event that staff need to stay on site due to access difficulties.  In these situations hot drinks and food are also provided.  If forecasts predict heavy snow, they will also be suggesting that key staff also bring an overnight bag.

From a grounds perspective across all four contracts, Tivoli make use of their bespoke winterisation App to ensure that they are fully prepared for any challenging conditions. Their approach will also be to forecast in the morning and proactively grit in the afternoon. Tivoli have also got rotas in place for out of hours cover where it’s required and confirmed that their winter prep, including checking machinery, equipment and salt supplies, is underway. Tivoli is working hard behind the scenes to secure staff availability throughout the season. The tractors that are used through summer for grounds maintenance are also serviced and swapped for winter duties, where they’re fitted with gritting equipment and snow blades. Smaller equipment, such as pick-up trucks, have gritting boxes mounted on the back too.

An on-call rota is also put together by Tivoli, and agreed with our staff, so that we can communicate this to customers ahead of time so they know that we’re prepared. Last winter was the first time that the Amey systems had really been tested and the big lesson learnt was that the system worked. The challenging weather conditions were dealt with successfully, with commendations being received across the contracts so Amey are confident that sites will stay operational through the challenging winter months.