Building a megaproject in Central London

“With lots of contractors on site, effectively what we were able to do is replace something like Excel, bringing together multiple project managers all reporting and accessing data from the same database.”
Mark Holland, Head of Planning Mace Dragados JV
Project type
Mark Holland
Head of Planning, Mace Dragados
Malcolm Fraser
Operations Director at Mace
Jake Porthouse
Planning Apprentice at Mace

HS2 Euston Station, part of Europe’s largest infrastructure programme, is being delivered by a workforce of over 3,000.

When completed, Euston Station will not only be the Southern Terminus of HS2, but will also see an expansion of current underground networks.

The project is being delivered by a Mace & Dragados joint venture in partnership with HS2 and, to be successful the team need to deliver immense amounts of complex work across a wide range of trades in a very constrained site.

Read on, to see how maintaining a solid routine is paramount to Mace Dragados at Euston Station.

NB: The scope & project stats were correct as of Feb 2023 for Euston Project.

Euston Station is a complex part of HS2

HS2’s London Euston station is one of the most complex parts of the HS2 route, situated in a densely populated residential area and adjacent to a busy operational railway.
Laurence Whitbourn, Euston Area Client Director at HS2 Ltd

HS2 London Euston Station design was led by a consortium made up of Arup, WSP, Grimshaw, Haptic and LDA Design, with delivery by HS2’s Station Construction Partner, Mace Dragados JV (MDJV). And it is a monster of a project.

Delivered in a single stage, the station will see 10 new high-speed rail lines and the largest station concourse in the UK. Each of the 450m long platforms sits around 10m below street level, and the ground-level concourse will be 300m long, and 20% larger than Trafalgar Square.

This much work requires a big team with lots of specialisms & disciplines working together. When we visited HS2 Euston, Operations Director Malcolm Fraser explained that they already had 30 subcontractors working together on the project.

“Routine is huge for us, we need the consistency across the project for everybody to work safely, collaboratively, and ensure we get the same outcome”

A strong project routine is critical for coordinating the vast supply chain

Weekly Planning Meeting on HS2 Euston - Taken by Aphex Jan 2023
“On any project, having a structured last planner routine ensures work is planned, reviewed and executed consistently - this is even more important on a major infrastructure project like HS2 Euston.”
Mark Holland, Head of Planning at Mace Dragados on HS2 Euston

Mace Dragados as the main works contractor for Euston Station, has taken a managing contractor approach to the project, employing lots of subcontractors to deliver work. Part of the challenge is to manage these subcontractors effectively.

So, that’s thrown multiple contractual relationships, different ways of working and siloed communication channels into the mix of things to overcome to coordinate teams well at Euston Station.

Keeping so many different people from different disciplines and teams working together over such a complex & large site requires skill, a lot of experience, and an approach that makes as much sense to the teams on the ground as it does to those in the offices.

An unforgiving site demands everyone plans together, and on time

“It’s not just one subcontractor, we’ve got multiple interfaces there, and it’s key for us that both of those subcontractors are using the same format and program to enable them to work safely. Especially when they’re working above and around each other.”
Malcolm Fraser, Operations Director at Mace on HS2 Euston

- Visualising planned works over both Gantt charts and maps
- Reviewing upcoming work split by section, team or subcontractor
- Map-based Clash Detection

All came out as key points of discussion in the Mace Dragados weekly planning routine by PMs, Engineers and Subcontractors, using Aphex, Mission Room and other tech for clear visualisation.

However, the creation and upkeep of Mark’s reporting routine is what keeps the team on top of potential scheduling issues, clashes on site, and moments of delay.

This includes involving supply chain and subcontractors directly in updating plans, submitting plans routinely for review by package managers, and contributing as the whole team in update meetings. And this inclusion hinges on using the right tech and the right time.

This inclusive routine builds trust in the plan across a large team on a landmark project.

HS2 Euston Project - Jan 2023 Mace Dragados Footage

What exactly is Mark’s Planning Routine for Euston Station?

“Working on-site effectively means having a weekly routine”, Mark explains before detailing that on HS2 Euston, the teams don’t just report upwards. They follow a weekly cycle that starts on a Monday and ends with programme publication on Friday.

Prior to publishing this baseline each week on Aphex, suppliers confirm plans are made ready, and PMs confirm each part of the plan has been reviewed.

Site teams break down the plan in daily activity briefings, with construction management teams using Aphex Field displayed on Mission Room in their War Room to track progress and focus on works planned for the day ahead.

Weekly Planning Routine for Mace Dragados Teams on HS2 Euston Station

Getting the whole team working together is easy on Aphex, no matter how mega the project

“Aphex is great. With lots of contractors on site, effectively what we were able to do is replace something like Excel, bringing together multiple project managers all reporting and accessing data from the same database.”
Mark Holland, Head of Planning at Mace Dragados on HS2 Euston

Mark and the Mace Dragados teams use Aphex as part of a logical, strong routine to keep engineers, subbies, planners and PMs working together.

“What is a Mega Project? It's a group of smaller ones”
, Mohammed Bolbol mentioned when we spoke to the EKFB JV teams on HS2 using Aphex. So, the importance and logic of how to structure a good routine, how to get the team on board, and how to find the right software to support a good routine, persist across projects of any size.

Want to plan like HS2?