August 2017 UK Project Management Round Up


Good project news: buildings in London, robots, UK Infrastructure and Projects Authority report on major projects; Bad project news: F35 Lightning, Hinckley Point 3, tram projects, Stonehenge Tunnel, Tintagel Bridge and rail electrification goes

By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK



Traditionally, the summer months have been seen in UK as ‘Silly Season’ with the press and mainstream media finding little ‘serious’ news to report. With so little hard news around, anything remotely serious is picked over endlessly and for that reason, we are getting more and more over-analysis of political utterances and this year those concern BREXIT, a topic which has induced utter boredom in UK; so this is the last I will write about it in this issue.

One of the key aspects of the Silly Season is that it is not a good time to announce news as the national press goes to town on almost anything. So it is a surprise that there is news of major projects, some of which falls into the seriously bad bucket. As last month, there is also some good news even if the Fourth Estate gives it minimal coverage. Those of us in the Fifth Estate do not shirk what we see as our duty to bring you outlier views of contemporary society.


New buildings in the City of London are frequently given names like the Walkie-Talkie, Gherkin, The Shard and so on. Most have become notorious for one reason or another either from problems in the technology behind them or from finance problems. I reported on the Helter Skelter back in 2012 when the money behind the project dried up after some £500 million had been spent. The project, which was planned as the second tallest building in Europe (after the Shard) supported by the deepest foundations ever laid in the UK, was funded by oil money from the Middle East.

Anyway, the site was abandoned and was nicknamed the Stump (see picture left) nothing happened till the site was purchased by Sir Stuart Lipton. He saw an opportunity, the site already had planning permission, the foundation and basement had already been laid and best of all, it was cheap at £300 million.

Photo courtesy of Londonist.com

The project has been redesigned since the 2015 purchase and is now officially known as 22 Bishopsgate although it will no doubt get another, less formal, name soon. Much of the original Stump has been demolished and a new design by Karen Cook whose previous employer had designed the Pinnacle. Work is now progressing with some 400 construction staff on site, including 30 who work overnight. Progress to date is 27 stories at a rate of about one story a week. The final build will top out at 278 metres and 62 stories. Cost is estimated at £1.5 billion.

More good news comes from the futurologists who predict that robots will not be quite the threat the doom-sayers claim. Productivity in UK is pretty poor according to the reports in the press and there have been many reports in the media that the robots are coming to take all our jobs. For the more tech savvy reader it will come as no surprise that the robots are already here and doing a pretty wide range of tasks. So we see much automation in a range of engineering industries. Some of the professions also feel threatened by humanoid robots having seen robot assisted surgery.


To read entire report, click here


About the Author


Salisbury, UK


Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World Journal in the United Kingdom. He is also managing director for MS Projects Ltd, a consulting company supporting various UK and overseas Government agencies, nuclear industry organisations and other businesses. Miles has over 30 years’ experience on a variety of projects in UK, Eastern Europe and Russia. His PM experience includes defence, major IT projects, decommissioning of nuclear reactors, nuclear security, rail and business projects for the UK Government and EU.   Past Chair and Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM), Miles is also past president and chair of the International Project Management Association (IPMA). He is currently a Director for PMI’s Global Accreditation Centre and is immediate past Chair of the ISO committee developing new international standards for Project Management and for Program/Portfolio Management. He was involved in setting up APM’s team developing guidelines for project management oversight and governance. Miles is based in Salisbury, England and can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Miles Shepherd, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/miles-shepherd/.