Balfour Beatty United Utilities (UU) Contract

Balfour Beatty is one of the UK’s largest utility solutions providers and the company has been selected as a Construction Delivery Partner on the United Utilities water contract. 

Customer Name

Balfour Beatty

Project Location


Products Used

MegaMc PolyHorse Pipe Loading System, Excavator Pipe Handlers, BDI (Bead Diagnostic Instrument), Welding Containers

Balfour Beatty is working collaboratively with United Utilities to develop and deliver solutions for the company’s capital programme, covering the delivery of clean and waste water, infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions to support United Utilities’ customer promises. PSS HIRE is a long-term supplier to Balfour Beatty on the United Utilities water contract. 

The Challenge

Every five years, all of the water companies in England and Wales submit a business plan to Ofwat, the water regulator, outlining the investment required in their network of pipes, sewers, water and wastewater treatment works and reservoirs. AMP6 and the TOTEX environment present new challenges and contractors such as BBUSL seek to drive efficiencies whilst also providing ‘best in class’ customer service.

The Solution

PSS HIRE adopted the innovative approach sought by Balfour Beatty’s key suppliers and engaged with the company’s gas and water business at a very early stage of the contract. This approach of early engagement was highly beneficial; for example the PSS Projects team could review jobs at the quotation stage and provide expert advice as to which PSS HIRE products would prove most cost-effective and productive. Where appropriate, pre-mobilisation site visits were carried out and the most suitable processes and use of equipment for each individual project were reviewed and agreed. This approach has required a change in mind-set for all parties involved and on occasion, additional upfront costs. Costs are stringently reviewed by both PSS HIRE and Balfour Beatty to ensure best value is achieved at all times, and management reports are presented and regular contact meetings held.

A number of PSS HIRE products were adopted and introduced to the United Utilities contract, including:

  • The MegaMc PolyHorse Pipe Loading System which allows up to 50% more productivity whilst also increasing site safety and reducing damage to pipe and butt fusion equipment.
  • Excavator Pipe Handlers, which make the loading of pipe both safer and more efficient.
  • The BDI (Bead Diagnostic Instrument). The BDI is a unique, on-site tool that gives operatives a clear and quick result regarding the quality of butt fusion welds without the need for destructive testing. As well as ensuring that BBUSL complied with the latest Water Industry Specification (WIS) which requires the ‘bend back’ test to be carried out every 100mm, the BDI has provided additional reassurance about joint quality and allowed for any issues to be rectified immediately, completely eradicating the potential for poor joints to be buried. This has delivered confidence in the weld quality and valuable data.
  • Specialist Welding Containers – these double up as a welding shelter and security cabin – allowing the additional equipment being used to be put into the cabin alongside the machine before being locked up for the day. The units have been modified as they have been used and now incorporate addition features such as strip lighting and carbon monoxide alarms.

The Results

PSS HIRE’s involvement in the United Utilities contract has led to a number of benefits for  Balfour Beatty - namely improved productivity,  identification of any efficiency measures and issues, development of a ‘get it right first time’ culture, ongoing cost savings and confidence from the contractor and client regarding joint quality. An alliance-led approach has been adopted for this contract which has encouraged buy-in from all parties and led to the development of close partnerships.

"Having dealt with PSS HIRE for a number of years, we decided to invite them to work more closely with us to see where we could collaborate to generate efficiencies and improved working methods on a number of challenging projects.

We have collaborated to introduce a range of new products and services on the contract, along with a new way of working to ensure best value for our client United Utilities."

Stephen Delaney, Balfour Beatty’s Delivery Manager (Advance) 

"Once we understood in detail some of the complex issues Balfour Beatty faced, using the experience of the PSS Projects team, we worked closely with the Balfour Beatty operational team to identify improved working methods and introduced a number of new products to provide solutions to some of the challenges they had.

The open minded approach and willingness to try new products and services has allowed us to collectively identify the best solution on a project by project basis, which in turn has helped deliver greater efficiencies."

Nick Eakins, PSS HIRE’s Strategic Accounts Manager

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