Site success for Hinkley Point C and Osprey Group
The British energy sector needs informed, best-practice based, cross-sector insights to accelerate the transition to net zero: an investment in capability-led insight that will benefit us all.
Our HPC Site Manager Darren Warner brings over 27 years’ experience to our team, having worked in specialist logistics and heavy lift operations around the world. Darren believes rich, insightful, experience-informed communication is one of the most valuable contributions we make as a Tier 1 logistics supplier at HPC.
Darren: “This is one of the largest construction sites in Europe. Osprey’s cross-sector experience is incredibly beneficial here, but it’s underpinned by a huge commitment to communicating what we’re learning and how we can find even more efficiency in our operations, day to day. We work better, together, with our clients and their wider teams.
There are thousands of people working at HPC and each individual’s input counts. It’s essential that everyone who needs to know, knows what’s moving, where, when, and how we’re co-ordinating the safe transport of irreplaceable assets around the site – we need to be sure all the right stakeholders have the same, key technical information, not just the size of the assets, mass and centre of gravity, but also how the transportation or lifting interacts with major temporary works designs on site and the way we’re approaching installation.
Attention to detail is paramount – everything matters, from the right lashing equipment such as chains, wires, Dyneema fabric or rigid bolted connections, to the temporary lighting systems.
It’s not uncommon for a team like ours to be moving all kinds of large, valuable assets for a variety of clients, but each move here is unique: there’s no blueprint or off-the-shelf template for constructing a nuclear facility of this size. Everything we do is based on best practice and the team’s wealth of experience in moving critical AILs, here at home and overseas. It all needs conceptualisation and is engineered and project-managed specifically for the site here at HPC: every part of our operation must be right first time, every time.”
Before taking on the responsibility of heading up our HPC site team, Darren helped us to deliver project management and supervision to unique projects the world over. This breadth of experience now delivers day-to-day insights that inform best practice at Hinkley Point C, but the value our team is creating now should have long-lasting value for the wider industry.
“We always want to exceed our clients’ expectations. That’s a given. As is the development of new techniques that help them to work faster, more efficiently, more cost-effectively, and more sustainably. For our rail clients, for example, we developed a method of modularising bridge assets before we lifted the infrastructure itself – that meant a faster, safer project plan, which meant less downtime for the rail network overall.
It’s the same for some of our marine clients: by talking about the art of the possible at the ECI stage and, what we want to achieve as an end goal, rather than limiting ourselves to the ‘tried and tested’ methods of doing things, we’ve been able to engineer new ways of working with barges. It’s not every day that ‘submerging a ship 13 metres’ turns out to be the best possible way to float off a critical piece of marine-transportable infrastructure into place – but that’s what we delivered.”
“We know we’re working with the right equipment, because we choose and buy that from the outset. We liaise incredibly closely with our clients to find the best possible solutions for each and every aspect of their project, and I’m proud to say our brilliant team knows that all feed ‘back’ takes us one step further forward.”
As the site manager, Darren is responsible for every aspect of lifting, transportation, and installation of critical assets that can be worth millions of pounds. He’s the first point of contact in all things; allocating teams, managing the hands-on aspect of asset delivery, and attending meetings with HPC clients too.
“In many ways, the work that’s happening at HPC is ground-breaking: we’re constantly updating and working with our clients to integrate even more efficiencies into projects. Working together, that’s the key to success. Every single member of the Osprey team knows they’re playing an important part in supporting HPC, accelerating the move towards net zero. It really does hit home that we’re developing new approaches to site logistics, which can be replicated to become the starting point for works needed on the next new UK nuclear sites.”
As the UK is looking at more nuclear plants, mini-reactors, tighter and yet even more ambitious build plans, greater demands on resources and manufacturers the world over – and yes, modular construction is still uppermost in our minds as a future way to replicate best practice, at scale. And of course all of this is being underpinned by on-site safety being paramount – although I should say there’s never a case of ‘of course’ when it comes to QHSE. Safety isn’t the only thing, it’s the starting point for everything in our business.
“The whole world is watching us here at HPC – the safety standards and procedures we’re setting together are industry leading. Every day, we’re working together with traffic management teams and project managers to decide the right levels of detail, of documentation, and of processes and planning. We’re talking all the time, all learning from each day’s operations and finding new ways of making efficiencies during the build, from Unit 1 to Unit 2, without cutting corners.”
Experience and enduring sustainability should go hand in hand. At the end of March 2022, the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act 2022 received Royal Assent. By facilitating investment in new nuclear power stations, the Government’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will hopefully become more achievable. We believe that, by building Osprey’s insights into such ambitious plans – giving suppliers of all kinds the confidence to develop construction at pace, safely, and with project-focused sustainability and efficiencies in mind – we can help deliver on the UK energy vision.