Costain’s A30 upgrade drives planning from the ground up

Using Aphex Field to measure the activities on a daily basis for each contractor, I can identify where those activities are failing and know where to mitigate in future.
Lee Piper, Construction Director at Costain
Project type
Lee Piper
Construction Director, Costain

Upgrading the single-carriageway stretch of the A30 between Chiverton and Carland Cross will reduce congestion and improve the Cornish economy.

When completed, the new dual carriageway will reduce congestion and delay along the A30, particularly in summer. This is expected to reduce accidents along the road too.

The project is being delivered by Costain on behalf of National Highways as part of the Strategic Road Network scheme. Successfully delivering a significant amount of work over an 11km stretch of Cornish roadside relies on consistent updates from the teams out on site.

Check out the video below, or read on, to see how using a planning software that can be used out on site is a daily event for Costain teams on the A30.

2.6 million cubic meters of earthworks is just the start on the A30

The A30 Upgrade is expected to make the route between Chiverton and Carland Cross more reliable by reducing congestion, journey times and providing more space for the travelling public.

This will unlock growth by supporting employment and residential development opportunities and connect communities by separating the strategic road from local traffic on the old A30, maintaining a route for local traffic and non-motorised users.

But how are Costain ‘upgrading’ the road to a dual carriageway?

As Lee Piper, Construction Director on the A30, puts it, through “a significant amount of structures”. Along the 11km stretch, this includes

  • 10 new underpasses and underbridges
  • 3 new bridges over the new road
  • Over 2.6 million cubic metres of earthworks
  • 33 new culverts and wildlife crossings
  • Nearly 29 miles of new highway drainage
  • Over 12 miles of wildlife-proof fencing
  • 8 miles of Cornish hedge

This strategic road upgrade relies on the entire delivery team, this much work requires a plan that’s accurate every day, not updated once a week.

When we visited Costain’s A30, Construction Director Lee Piper explained that the value he gets from Aphex hinges on responding to issues as they arise.

Updating the Plan Daily keeps the A30 on track

“So for me, it’s key that the Site Team planning is done on a daily basis.”
Lee Piper, Construction Director at Costain on the A30 Upgrade

Lee runs a tight ship, ensuring that plans aren’t made and forgotten in an office on this project.

Daily activities are recorded on the A30 so that teams can understand the impacts of what’s actually happened, “or what’s not happened,” as Lee mentions. Waiting for updates to be recorded and discussed on a weekly bases runs the risk of compounding problems and creating larger delays in the future.

But, this focus on daily updates & changes to the short-term plan required Lee to find a solution that capture this near-constant stream of information from site teams, foreman, and contractors directly, as Engineers on the project would struggle to work more granularly than their weekly planning cadences.

A Planning Routine for Site Teams

We caught up with Lee just as he finished a drive-through with a Foreman, where he used Aphex Field on an iPad to capture daily updates on-site.

Field was specifically designed for site teams, and it creates daily work plans for everyone on site automatically from the short-term schedule on Aphex.

Lee uses it “to measure the activities on a daily basis for each contractor, or each owner”.  On Aphex Planner, the Statusing features let engineers capture why and how their lookahead plans change week on week. With Aphex Field, this is extended to site, allowing site teams that are assigned to tasks to report how they are tracking from the field.

Bringing everyone into the plan has immediate benefits for the A30. With Lee being able to identify whether planned work is delayed because of weather, lack of resource, design issues...and sets him up to prevent them from happening again, “I can mitigate against them in the future”.

Getting the whole team working together is easy on Aphex, right through to the teams on site.

Lee and the Costain team on the A30 use Aphex as part of a logical, strong routine to keep site teams, engineers, planners and PMs working together.

So, the importance and knowing how to structure a good routine, get the team on board and find the right software to support the routine persists across all construction projects - no matter your role.

Want to see more on Aphex Field? Check this out.