When it comes to adding value to UK railway clients and at all levels of the rail supply chain, Railway Project Services (RPS) is the SME consultancy to watch
Since 2017, RPS’ team has expanded organically to 15 project managers, estimators, graphic designers, and bid specialists in response to growing client demand due to award-winning service. Railway clients with the foresight and vision to engage SME project management benefit from reduced overheads, detailed expertise, and agile and adaptive services. Operating as an SME
means RPS avoids excessive management layers, so clients interface directly with senior decision makers. This is important because the future UK rail sector will embed SMEs into the drive for efficiency.
RPS at the Federation of Small Businesses 2020 Awards
The business counts some of the UK’s most important clients among the recipients of its problem-solving approach to infrastructure development and upgrades. They include
Network Rail, West Midlands Trains, HS2, and Siemens. This calibre of clients is testament to the high-quality, proactive service that encompasses:
• Client-side project management across all lifecycle stages to maintain programme and minimise budget risk.
• Technical stakeholder management across complex, multidisciplinary, multifunded projects.
• Project business case development for station and infrastructure improvements to justify funding requirements.
• Delivery-stage contract administration for projects.
• Entry-into-service, handover, and project close-out support to de-risk these critical stages of delivery.
Our work at University Station ensures that all parties’ requirements are supported by the developing design
Led by Managing Director Joe Whalen, RPS’ passion for improving project cost and time efficiency, from scope definition to completion, stems from its having recognised opportunities for those benefits on dozens of projects and work programmes. RPS’ accolades include awards from the Railway Industry Association and the Federation of Small Businesses.
In 2020, RPS secured ISO 9001 certification on top of its RISQS verification, Menabling it to support a wider range of clients operating to the strictest governance and quality assurance protocols.
Core to RPS’ offering is client-side project management. Infrastructure organisations such as West Midlands Trains rely on RPS to deliver projects as important as:
Major station upgrades such as at Perry Barr and Birmingham University.
• Operational station asset improvements including customer information screens and ticket office facilities across the whole route.
• Improvements to maintenance depots where complex safety-critical requirements interface with influential stakeholders.
Such complex, multidisciplinary scopes can be delivered only with the integral involvement of project management resources proven to be credible and experienced in guiding schemes through all stages. RPS unlocks client value by addressing critical safety, cost and programme issues. The business aligns delivery with stakeholders’ disparate requirements to ensure contracts are administered to meet on-time and safe handover. So what makes RPS uniquely placed to support infrastructure clients? Most of all, its resolute focus and agility for applying its experience for the benefit of each client’s unique and nuanced requirements.
RPS overseeing trial installations of new station tactile composites to reduce project cost and risk across the West Midlands Trains network
Getting the job done
RPS drives successful project delivery through collaborative leadership with clients. The team works with clients’ teams to build the right behaviours. It maintains continuity of resources on projects to avoid loss of project knowledge due to changing teams.
Consequently, clients benefit from cumulative project and corporate knowledge gain due to the consistency of expertise. The expertise includes detailed understanding of operation and governance gained from environments such as Network Rail, train operating companies, and freight and major infrastructure settings. This combination is particularly critical in third-party-led projects for which multiple funders create complex networks of needs and drivers.
Defining and delivering the scope that actually achieves clients’ requirements RPS believes project requirements must inform project scopes. The scope drives design, leading to the Construction Phase Plan that delivers the requirements. Changing project demands, multiple stakeholders and time constraints can disrupt this rigour. To safeguard against that risk, Director of Projects Richard Gannon believes: ‘Recording and tracking requirements through development and into delivery is a key way in which we protect our clients’ projects against budget and
programme risks.’ For that reason, all RPS projects use a requirements log to collate, track and manage requirements throughout the project lifecycle.
Managing stakeholders’ concurrent requirements RPS is currently working on multi-million pound station upgrades at which multiple stakeholders are contributing funding
and expect specific benefits in return. The NHS, English Heritage, Canal and Rivers Trust, Highways England, Midland Metro Alliance, and higher education institutions are all working with RPS to deliver projects. RPS’ management of those parties is underpinned by:
Open and collaborative communication to unlock challenges and align requirements with project scopes.
• Communicating project changes openly so that all stakeholders are aware of the impacts on developing designs.
• Stakeholder mapping to ensure no parties
are ‘off radar’.
RPS is Project Managing the delivery of station improvements across the West Midlands Trains network
Robust contract administration
Recognising that effective contract ensures open communication of risks and protects all parties from increased cost, all RPS’ project managers are trained in administering NEC contracts. By working with clients’ procurement teams, RPS builds the best Options for each project to ensure risks are borne by parties most able to manage them.
The ideal project management service
RPS’ strength lies in its agility as an SME, high-quality project teams, and a commitment to driving forward the UK’s capability in railway project management.
Tel: 01664 494098