UK Project Management Roundup


By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent 

Salisbury, England, UK


The New Year has got off to a hectic start with new projects announced by the Government and further policy developments on some super projects in the energy field.  In this report, we look at projects in the capital, developments in the nuclear industry and some ethical issues in major projects.


While the various cases for new airports for London have taken the headlines over the last few weeks, there are other projects that command attention.  The Shard was topped out this time last year and was opened to the public in mid February 2013.  The landmark near LondonBridge has become a perennial second place edifice.  It is the second tallest free standing structure in UK behind the EmleyMoorTransmittingTower and second tallest building in Europe behind Moscow’s MercuryCityTower.  It is, however, the tallest building in the European Union at 1016 feet (309.6 meters) and 95 floors.  The Shard is really just a small building compared to some others either planned or under construction.  The good news is that the team that successfully delivered the Shard has just been selected to build the world’s tallest building in the Saudi Arabian capital Jeddah.

According to reports in the UK press (Times 23 February), Mace and EC Harris are scheduled to manage the construction of the 1400 meter KingdomTower.  It is expected that construction will begin later this year and cost in the region of £780 million.  The tower has been designed by US firm Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill.  Completion is expected in 2018.

Meanwhile, back in London, a new ‘supersewer’ is being planned for the capital.  Plans were announced in 2010 for a 20 mile tunnel to run from west to east and would deal with contamination from overflowing sewers in times of high rainfall.  Many see this £3.6 billion project as long overdue – London’s original sewer system was built in Victorian times under the direction of Sir Joseph Bazelgette.  Reports put the discharge of untreated sewage at 39 million tons annually and Thames Water, the private utility company has devised a new sewer system to deal with this and other problems.

The Supersewer project is not without its critics.  Cost has escalated to £4.1 billion and how the project is to be funded is attracting the attention of several Members of Parliament.  The plan has been met with fierce local opposition – the work affects 14 London boroughs.  It is expected that the project will increase average water bills, currently around £360 a year, by an additional £80.

Councils such as Hammersmith and Fulham are against the plan, claiming that the current plan is ‘gold-plated’.  Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh was reported by BBC News as saying: “We have consistently pushed for a shorter, smarter tunnel that minimises disruption to Londoners.  The gold-plated ‘super sewer’ with a £3.6 billion price tag threatens our parks and will drive many hard-working families into water poverty to pay for it.”

Controversy seems to dog London projects and the possible ‘new’ London Air Hub continues to attract heated debate.  Apart from simple matters such as location and finance, there is a substantial political dimension with observers claiming that the decisions will affect the leadership prospects of the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister as the Mayor of London proposes an alternative to the current government policy.


To read entire report (click here)

About the Author

miles shepherdflag-ukMILES SHEPHERD

Salisbury, UK 

Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World in the United Kingdom. He is also managing director for MS Projects Ltd, a consulting company supporting various UK 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 the Chair of the ISO committees that are developing new ISO 21500 Guidelines 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].