What is the real social value of a major construction project? Tideway, the Global Good Awards Company of the Year in 2020, is aiming to establish just that, looking at the value of the project’s legacy to both London and the UK.
Tideway is the company building a £4.1 billion ‘super sewer’ underneath the River Thames to intercept millions of tonnes of raw sewage that spill into the river each year. Tunnelling began in 2017 and will be complete in 2023, with all works due for completion in 2025.
As well as delivering the 25km-long tunnel from Acton in the west to Stratford in the east of the capital, the company wants to leave a legacy by bringing a range of benefits to London and the rest of the UK. It has set out how it will do this in its Legacy Statement, explaining how it aims to:
• bring jobs and recreation back to the river;
• create new areas of public space;
• invest in local communities, education, training and the supply chain;
• set new standards in major projects for sustainable use of transport; health, safety and wellbeing; responsible sourcing; supporting the vulnerable; and diversity and inclusion.
Learning from predecessor projects like London 2012 and Crossrail, Tideway embedded legacy commitments within the commercial arrangements with its supply chain. It also aligned the project’s financing with its legacy commitments, linking a £200 million Revolving Credit Facility to its performance, setting stretching targets around the percentage of commitments that are on track to be achieved and reporting on this performance annually. It has also mapped its commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, down to target level – see its Sustainable Finance Report for more information.
Now the company is working with consultants State of Life to establish the social value of the project’s legacy work to date and set out what it hopes the final value will be at the end of construction. The analysis will be grouped into outcomes and will include five ‘deep dive’ areas exploring the human story behind the social value creation. It will also build on previous social value assessments, including Tideway’s initial analysis which showed a potential social value of £3.39 for every Tideway pound spent. Tideway also commissioned a study on one specific commitment – to support people with convictions into employment – which found a positive social return of £6.86 per £1 spent.
The study will be finished in 2022, when much of the construction work will be substantially complete. Samantha Freelove, Tideway’s Legacy Manager, is overseeing the study. She said: “On Tideway we aimed to embed legacy into what we were doing: we did not want Tideway to have a ‘tick box approach’ to social value. We hope our findings will demonstrate the possibilities open to the sector to embed social value into their business if they commit to it within the strategy and planning of the project.”
For more information on the Tideway project and its legacy, see here.