The MCS consortium, comprising UK firm Mace, US-based project management firm Comtech and French consulting engineer Systra, will act as delivery partner with Metrolinx’s team to support the scheme to extend the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway network by 16km and accommodate 200,000 extra daily journeys.
Already, the three firms are working as an integrated team with Metrolinx, supporting the delivery of the rail infrastructure program, GO Expansion, which was awarded in a programme delivery partner contract at the start of 2022.
As with GO Expansion, the Scarborough subway extension and Yonge North subway extension are intended to reduce travel times and improve access to jobs, schools and other important destinations throughout Ontario.
The Scarborough subway extension will bring subway service nearly eight kilometres farther into Toronto’s east end, providing quick and seamless transit for those heading into and out of downtown Toronto and those travelling within Scarborough.
Meanwhile, the Yonge North subway extension will extend subway service approximately eight kilometres from the existing Finch Station into the cities of Markham, Vaughan and Richmond Hill. Once complete, both projects will connect with local and GO Transit services.
Mark Ciavarro, executive vice president for subway extensions at Metrolinx, said: “Working with MCS will help us ensure these projects are delivered as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Establishing this partnership brings us an important step closer to bringing faster, better transit to people across the region.”
For any business with a gas-infrastructure need, using one provider to handle everything is bound to create efficiencies, saving time, effort and money.
Formerly part of National Grid, National Gas Metering is now a stand-alone company. Although its name has changed, it’s still the same business – with the same capabilities and resources, and the same people providing outstanding levels of safety, service and engineering excellence.
As Carl Evans, Siteworks Lead, explains, “Any business that requires a gas installation can come to us for everything – no matter how complex the project. We have a design team, a project-management team, and a team that organises all the metering elements.”
The company tackles new connections, disconnections, upgrades, downgrades, alterations and removals. It can install outlet pipework at a customer’s site, and carry out upgrades without interruption at mission-critical locations such as hospitals and factories, installing new facilities in parallel with existing supplies.
Across this wide range of projects, many different services might be needed. “Our Siteworks team can provide them all,” adds Carl. “From checking the capacity in the network to completing all the civil engineering involved in building and installing the meter kiosk, we can do it. We even take care of logistical details such as procuring Section 50 street-works licences.”
For high-usage sites, the team installs AMR (Advanced meter reading) and correctors that can provide half-hourly reads, feeding directly into the customer’s SCADA system. This is particularly valuable for power-generation sites with a carbon-capture element to their contracts, and an obligation to report to the local distribution network operator.
A different approach
While several companies provide gas-infrastructure services, very few offer a complete end-to-end solution for all kinds of projects. National Gas Metering is unusual in this, and recent research shows that customers in a variety of industries value this rounded approach. Plus, the efficiencies this offers are backed by a world-leading safety record and a reputation for engineering excellence.
National Gas Metering is also unusual in its ability to work across all four pressure tiers. As the UK’s largest manager of gas meters for industrial, commercial and residential application, it holds all the certifications required to work on the gas grid – from low-pressure domestic supplies to the high-pressure national network.
In spite of its size and wide range of services, the company is highly flexible in working with other utilities on site, and competitive in its pricing. It also uses its breadth of experience to help customers plan ahead: where there’s a tendency to begin projects with the assumption that grid connections will be swift and straightforward, National Grid Metering can prevent costly surprises.
Senior Design Engineer, Ian Wilson, points out the importance of being proactive: “Investigations should begin at the earliest opportunity to avoid unexpected costs and programme delays. So if people come to us as soon as possible, we can then approach the gas networks and make enquiries. We have no qualms about going out to site – we don’t just do desktop surveys. We can see what our customers are seeing and can advise them, even at an early stage.”
This concern for the whole project – and willingness to be involved from the very start – underlines all National Gas Metering’s services. Most importantly, it’s helping to raise standards and control costs in a safety-critical industry.
Eight developers – including Lendlease and Galliard – have still not signed the contract that commits them to putting right safety issues, despite being told it could impact on their ability to operate in the market.
Last week secretary of state Michael Gove revealed the 39 companies that had met the 13th March deadline to sign the contract, and the 11 that had not.
To the refuseniks, he said: “To those developers that have failed to sign the contract without good reason, let me be very clear – we are coming after you. If you do not sign, you will not be able to operate freely in the housing market. Your investors will see that your business model is broken – only responsible developers are welcome here.”
Since then Telford Homes, London Square and Ballymore have signed the contract.
The eight that have still not done so are:
Emerson Group (Jones Homes)
Signing the contract requires the developers to fix all life-critical fire-safety defects in all English buildings higher than 11 metres that they had a role in developing or refurbishing. It also requires them to reimburse the taxpayer where government funds have already paid for remediation, with that money being used to make other buildings safe faster.
The deal means that California-based Bigge’s 1,800-strong crane fleet is more readily available to customers on the east coast. Meanwhile Empire’s services now reach into the Gulf and west coast regions thanks for Bigge’s strongholds in California and Texas.
Through Empire Crane, Bigge will offer crane buyers dealer pricing and priority ordering for leading crane manufacturers including Tadano, Kobelco, Liebherr, Manitowoc, Potain, Peiner, Terex, Comedil, Broderson, Merlo, Magni, Xtreme, Manitex, and Jekko.
This strategic relationship will give customers access to more inventory and reduce freight costs associated with shipping equipment nationwide, says Bigge.
Since its founding 25 years ago, Empire Crane Company has grown to become one of the most respected dealers of new and used cranes on the east coast of America.
The company has three full-service maintenance facilities across New England, its own fleet of more than 200 machines and now access to the 1,800-plus cranes in the Bigge fleet. The company is run by two brothers, Luke and Paul Lonergan.
Bigge Crane & Rigging provides crane sales and rental, parts and heavy lifting services from 20 locations across the US. In addition to fielding its 1,800-strong rental fleet, the company also buys and sells new and used cranes.
Bigge chief executive Weston Settlemier said: “I’ve known Paul and Luke for over 20 years. They’re the two most trusted principals in the crane and equipment sales business.
“Furthermore, the Lonergans are the two best partners Bigge has ever had. I personally have been promoting the benefits of principled partnerships for over 12 years and the Bigge/Empire collaboration will be the standard by which all future partnerships are judged.”
Empire’s president, Paul Lonergan, responded: “We are thrilled to join forces with Bigge – the pillar of excellence in the crane business for over a century and, like us, to be in business with a family-owned company with common business values.”
The company said that its latest figures, for the year to 31st December, 2022, are the result of a decade of growth that has seen it triple revenues and create over 70,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Webuild – which until May 2020 was known as Salini Impregilo – now ranks itself as among the global top 10 contractors in rail and motorway construction and number one in the water sector.
Over the past couple of years Webuild has been concentrating on strengthening its position in overseas markets (especially Australia and the US) while continuing to dominate the Italian market.
It currently has a forward order book worth €53.4bn, mostly in Australia, the US, Europe and Italy. Around 75% of new orders are from foreign markets and 25% are from Italy.
Among the main contributors to last year’s revenue growth was Italy’s National Recovery & Resilience Plan which resulted in contracts for new high-speed rail work between Milan and Genoa, Naples and Bari, and Verona and Padua.
Major contract wins outside of Italy included those won by US subsidiary Lane and the Snowy 2.0 hydroelectric scheme in Australia.
Group chief executive Pietro Salini said: “We are particularly proud to have achieved these very challenging results, which are the crowning achievement of a strategic industrial project that inspired our actions and choices over the last 10 years, together with the 83,000 people who now work with us worldwide.
“We close 2022 with strong growth results and with a positioning that allows Webuild to establish itself more as a strategic interlocutor for the infrastructure sector in Italy and abroad, counting on a presence strongly anchored in low-risk markets.
“We have reached a greater scale that allows us to be more competitive, serving customers and local communities to deliver quality infrastructure that improves their lives such as subways, high-speed railways, dams, desalination plants and bridges.
Salini added that Webuild intends to strengthen its relationships with foreign governments in support of their programmes to tackle climate change, population growth, urbanisation and resource scarcity – in particular, water.
Scientists at the University of Strathclyde have discovered that crushing rock in carbon dioxide can result in trapping CO2 in a stable, insoluble form, thus reducing emissions.
A paper published in Nature Sustainability says that almost no additional energy would be required to trap the CO2.
The materials and construction industry accounts for 11% of global carbon emissions. More than 50 billion tonnes of rock is crushed worldwide every year and current crushing processes – standard in construction and mining – do not capture CO2.
Previous work has explored trapping carbon into single minerals by the same method, but the research at the University of Strathclyde shows this is unstable and dissolves out of the mineral when placed in water. The paper documents how a larger proportion of carbon dioxide can be trapped in a stable, insoluble form in rocks composed of multiple different minerals by grinding it in CO2 gas. The resulting rock powders can then be stored and used in the environment for construction and other purposes.
The abstract for the paper, called Mechanochemical processing of silicate rocks to trap CO2, reads: “Polymineralic rocks such as granite and basalt, whether high or low in carbonate-forming metals, are more efficient at trapping CO2 than individual minerals. This is because the trapping process is not, as previously thought, based on the carbonation of carbonate-forming metals. Instead, CO2 is chemically adsorbed into the crystal structure, predominantly at the boundaries between different minerals. Leaching experiments on the milled mineral/rock powders show that CO2 trapped in single minerals is mainly soluble, whereas CO2 trapped in polymineralic rocks is not. Under ambient temperature conditions, polymineralic rocks can capture >13.4 mgCO2 g−1 as thermally stable, insoluble CO2. Polymineralic rocks are crushed worldwide to produce construction aggregate. If crushing processes could be conducted within a stream of effluent CO2 gas (as produced from cement manufacture), our findings suggest that for every 100 Mt of hard rock aggregate sold, 0.4–0.5 Mt CO2 could be captured as a by-product.”
Principal investigator Rebecca Lunn, a professor in the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, said: “The hope is that the sector could reduce the emissions by adapting the current setups to trap carbon from polluting gas streams such as those from cement manufacture or gas-fired power stations.”
“If the technology was adopted worldwide in aggregate production, it could potentially capture 0.5% of global CO2 emissions – 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Future research can pin this down, as well as optimise the process to trap more carbon.”
Co-investigator Dr Mark Stillings said: “Now we know that CO2 trapping in most hard rock can be done in a lab, we need to optimise the process and push the limits of how much can be trapped through the crushing technique. We then need to understand how this process can be scaled up from the lab to industry, where it can reduce global CO2 emissions.
“If this process was applied, the CO2 footprint associated with building houses and public infrastructure could be greatly reduced, helping to meet global objectives to combat climate change.”
Professor Lunn added: “In the future, we hope that the rock used in concrete to construct high-rise buildings and other infrastructure such as roads, bridges and coastal defences will have undergone this process and trapped CO2, which would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere and contributed to global temperature rise.”
The work was part-funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, whose deputy director Dr Lucy Martin said: “This breakthrough research from the University of Strathclyde, which EPSRC has proudly played a part in funding, is truly revelatory. It points to a new process for the construction industry that could significantly reduce global carbon emissions and help us meet our net zero goals.”