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6 Alpha Wins Institution of Civil Engineers Award
Written by D. René   
Friday, 24 October 2014 13:01


Strategic risk advisor for unexploded ordnance, author of CIRIA UXO risk reports and advisor to Crossrail, wins health and safety in construction prize.

6 Alpha Associates, the strategic advisor for managing high risk offshore initiatives, has been co-awarded the Safety in Construction Prize for a paper published by the Institution of Civil Engineers Journal in 2013. 6 Alpha Associates was jointly awarded the prize alongside Phil Smith, Geotechnical Consulting Group, Ursula Lawrence, Capita, and Sarah Terry, LBA.

Institution of Civil Engineers Award 2014


The paper details the work undertaken by 6 Alpha and GCG on the Crossrail project, and the subsequent methodology the firm developed over the course of the development. This methodology was subsequently used as the basis for the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) guide to managing unexploded ordnance. The guide, for the first time, established an industry best practice for the assessment of unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk to construction activities in the UK.


As the construction industry continues to tackle the legacy of munitions left over from war-fighting, disposal and training, it requires specialist risk consultants to gauge the extent of the risk, evaluate and mitigate if necessary.


The Crossrail project is a largely subterranean rail link between Maidenhead in Berkshire, terminating in Shenfield, Essex and Abbey Wood in Kent. With the route passing through the former East London docklands – an area extensively bombed during WWII – it was decided that addressing the UXO risk would require more than just a desktop study.


The eventual technique involved a combination of assessing historical data from the WWII period, together with a record of land use, which would together help to determine the likelihood of UXO having been uncovered previously. Once this data had been qualitatively assessed, it was then decided if it was necessary to undertake a magnetometry survey via specially sited boreholes.


“The scale and the nature of the UXO risk on the Crossrail project meant that we had to develop a new risk approach,” said Simon Cooke, Managing Director, 6 Alpha Associates.


“This methodology involved a review of wartime records and reported UXO/abandoned bombs, as well as taking into account site geology and local conditions, to enable a holistic assessment of UXO risk to be generated. Ultimately, this approach has become the gold-standard for UXO risk mitigation on large construction projects and it played a significant role in informing the CIRIA guidelines.”


For its work on the Crossrail project, 6 Alpha Associates was highly commended by the developer. In 2014, 6 Alpha started work on a second CIRIA project, developing guidelines for managing offshore UXO risk for construction in marine environments which is expected to be published in Q2 2015.


In addition to its activity onshore, 6 Alpha Associates has already provided specialist risk consultancy services for 75% of the UK’s Round 3 offshore wind projects, four of five French offshore renewable energy projects and a number of further developments in Dutch and German waters.