How do you effectively manage the exchange of vital data at one of the UK’s largest and most complex development projects?
That was one of the immediate challenges for Fugro, when it was tasked with carrying out a major site characterisation programme at Moorside, the location of a proposed new nuclear power station in West Cumbria.
The £20M project involves onshore and offshore investigations, including terrain, seismic and ocean floor surveys as well as groundwater monitoring and sampling and testing from 330 land and marine boreholes.
During the project’s lifetime, Fugro estimated that more than a million emails would be transmitted, containing data from around 25,000 samples and 6,500 core photographs collected from the 330 site locations.
All these documents would make their way through a complicated approval loop, and keeping track of all the changes to each document could prove almost impossible. For long-running projects, staying abreast of changes in personnel and email addresses is a potential nightmare.
So, to Fugro engineers on site at Moorside, the answer to the communications challenge was obvious – avoid using emails.
“That may sound radical, when email is the global standard communication tool,” said Romain Arnould , Fugro’s Project IT Manager. “But we have developed an extranet solution that simplifies the delivery of data for our clients – saving time and money by enabling every project partner to manage all documents in a unique central repository that’s instantly accessible through a user-friendly web interface.”
FugroOnLine is a web-based content management system with a range of benefits from customised properties, such as document status, specific borehole identification and identification of staff involved in the work.
The aim of FugroOnLine is to help service providers improve the way they collaborate with partners. Relevant data are readily accessible, giving them the ability to make real-time assessments and adjustments, with timely progress reporting, rather than waiting for a formal report to be completed.
All users can read and comment on uploaded documents, and one of the key benefits is a significant reduction in emails transmitted – as observations are posted directly on to the site, rather than different versions being emailed between the different parties.
FugroOnLine security requires every user to have their own log-in credentials through a system of privileges that define what they can see and what they can do. It keeps track of all actions and logs them against the authenticated user.
With this information, ground characteristics and behaviours can be confidently determined and potential hazards identified, allowing solutions to be modelled and managed.
All historical versions of the same document are stored. Only the most up-to-date is readily accessible, but, for example, a user can view the history of a borehole log as it develops by accessing all the relevant documents.
A straightforward geographical information system (GIS) allows access via a map-based interface, allowing users to zoom-in on any test location and access relevant information – and a pop-up window links to relevant documents in other areas of the website.
The platform also alerts users when certain criteria are met – for example, a geo-environmental engineer could subscribe to receive an alert only when new documents related to chemical tests are uploaded.
Fugro's on-site sample storage and logging facility
Ian Judge, Fugro’s Project Director said: “Responsible land development depends on accurate environmental, geotechnical and geophysical data. With this information, ground characteristics and behaviours can be confidently determined and potential hazards identified, allowing solutions to be modelled and managed.
“This enables clients like NuGen to make informed decisions during the engineering, design and construction phases of infrastructure development projects, such as at Moorside, ultimately reducing project risk and costs.”
FugroOnLine has significantly supported NuGen’s ability to make proactive and timely decisions, and greatly reduced the management overhead required for such a large and complex investigation.
NuGen plans to build three Westinghouse AP1000® reactors at Moorside, the first of which could be online by the mid-2020s. With a combined output of up to 3.8 GW gross capacity, the proposed nuclear power station will operate for around 60 years, generating enough electricity to power six million homes.
Matt Waddicor, NuGen’s Site Characterisation Project Manager, said: “By providing a centralised store of real-time data, FugroOnLine has significantly supported NuGen’s ability to make proactive and timely decisions, and greatly reduced the management overhead required for such a large and complex investigation.
“The inclusion of a specific ‘partner area’ has also allowed NuGen to control distribution of data within our supply chain, assisting in the early communication of technical, safety, environmental and site management aspects of the project.”