Proactive stakeholder engagement on a project in a residential area of Haringey, enabled us to turn negative expectations into a positive experience for everyone.
Our work comprised constructing a reinforced concrete retaining wall to stabilize the adjacent access road. This in turn was supported by a gravity retaining wall that had failed. Various elements comprised:
- A reinforced concrete retaining wall and capping beam, approx. 160m in length.
- Vehicle containment, kerbs and drainage works.
- Resurfacing and paving works.
- Temporary propping to install kerb bedding and pavement reinstatement.
- Traffic management (TM).
- Removing historic/heritage railings for refurbishment, repair and repainting prior to reinstallation.
We understood that the success of the project would be highly dependent on the effective management of the public including local residents and in particular, the adjacent ‘frontagers’ on the upper service road. Mary Feilding Guild assisted living centre is also located on this service road and pedestrian access had to be maintained throughout for all residents. Other key stakeholders, including local businesses, Highgate Primary School and road users were also central to our planning and management.
Our project manager served as our designated stakeholder liaison officer, focusing on two-way communication, managing expectations, and resolving issues effectively. He conducted letter drops to advise of progress and future developments and was available at designated times to meet those wishing to discuss the works and raise concerns.
Our approach focused heavily on:
- Maintaining access for residents.
- Managing interfaces with Highgate Primary School.
- Ensuring access for emergency services.
- Facilitating access for council services including refuse collections.
- Implementing an effective TM system.
A positive experience
During the early stages, we experienced some resistance from residents, particularly those fronting the upper service road, due to car parking and vehicle access being suspended in this localised area. We enabled parking on immediately neighbouring streets with permits issued to them.
Despite the official line being that access was entirely restricted, we were able to facilitate access at specific times throughout the works to allow residential deliveries. This involved, at times, temporary alterations to the TM measures to accommodate large vehicles. This was greatly appreciated by the residents who we witnessed starting to come around to seeing the long-term benefits of the scheme as work neared completion.
Facilitating customer changes
Throughout the contract we worked closely with our customer, the London Borough of Haringey, to ensure the works were delivered sympathetically, and in keeping with the surrounding area. This included making changes to our scope, such as:
- Installing replacement granite kerbs instead of standard concrete variants.
- Sourcing bespoke manufactured replacement fixings for those damaged on the original railings. These had to be designed sympathetically to the look of the originals and approved prior to manufacture.
Our customer-centric approach ensured the following key benefits:
- Minimised stakeholder interfaces and heightened project harmony through the on-site presence of our dedicated stakeholder liaison officer throughout works.
- Efficient TM measures that were frequently monitored and adapted through the provision of a full time Traffic Safety Officer (TSO).
- A construction period reduced to 30 weeks, enabled by our proposal for two works faces running concurrently from the centre of the wall outwards.
As the work drew to a conclusion, our site team received a string of emails from the residents, wishing to praise their efforts and the results. These are reproduced below. “I live halfway down the service road on North Hill and so have been greatly affected by the reinforcement works. In all the difficulties the workmen have been absolutely brilliant – to a man, they are friendly, courteous, always helpful, and they have worked hard in all weather, from the heat of the summer to the rains of autumn. They are a workforce to be proud of, and they seem to be on course to finish well on time! Please pass on my appreciation and thanks.”
“Yes, the whole project is indeed progressing well – in fact, I am astonished by your estimated completion date. We (as residents) have been well informed during the project’s progress. All the contractors have applied themselves with great endeavour. All members of the “teams” seem to have worked well together. Every member, without exception, has been extremely courteous and informative whenever I/we have spoken with them. In total, this is a credit to the contractors’ teams involved. Also, to the project management of both the Haringey Council and its contractors. It was an exemplary project. Well done to all those involved.”
“A big thank you to you and the team for the hard work on the slip road – it looks great and it’s nice to have access back earlier than scheduled, especially with the lockdown.”
“I just wanted to thank you for taking the time and effort to get the original paving stone edges, and some reclaimed ones, all done properly. They look really nice. In fact, the whole thing looks really nice – the railings especially, and I think the wall looks much smarter than before. I guess it will be finished soon, and we will miss the workmen, because they had been really nice throughout.”