Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Glenn Clark, Managing Director of RCU Solutions Limited about founding a startup, getting accredited to the rail industry standard and what the future will hold.

RCU Solutions Ltd offer a fresh approach to the rail, construction and utilities sectors, led by Nick Carroll (Operations Director) and Glenn Clark (Managing Director) RCU deliver projects on budget, on programme and without compromising on quality or safety. RCU work with a diverse supply chain to deliver multi-disciplinary projects across a variety of industries. Whatever the scale of any project, RCU will provide the right solutions using their expertise in the civils, E&P and telecoms disciplines. You founded RCU Solutions Limited in 2008, how do you feel the industry has changed in that time? The world is forever changing and with that so does our industry. Whether it be new technology, new incentives to help improve the planet, new ways of working with PACE and Project Speed roll outs gives us a lot to keep us on our toes and ensure that we are adapting with it all.

When you look back on that first day that RCU started operations, how do you feel the company has changed?

The business started with just Nick Carroll and myself having a few good ideas and taking on the challenge. We started off working from home and have since had to move twice due to outgrowing the office space. We now have a team of 78 staff (and counting) who help us delivery day in, day out for our clients.

What was the inspiration behind starting RCU Solutions?

Being better and offering what a client wants and needs. Nick and myself used to be client side so understood the struggles of using a poor supply chain and that’s where it all stemmed from. RCU are a multi disciplined company working across three different sectors; Rail, Construction, Utilities and having three core work streams; civils, electrical and telecoms. The name and brand is becoming a recognised name in the industry and a chosen partner for its clients.

Last year you received a major rail contract to carry out a lot of the civils work for Phase 3 of the Victoria re-signalling programme. Do you intend to bid for more of these larger projects and how did you get the company into a position where they could deliver this level of work?

Yes of course, we now need to keep up the momentum. One of the struggles of a new start up is that you have no evidence or back up to what you are offering / selling to the clients. We have been building up the photos, case studies, testimonials to showcase our great works and to back up our offerings.

What more can you tell us about the project?

Work on this phase of the project is now underway and involves replacement of all signalling equipment in the Clapham and Balham areas, and lines into London Victoria as well as relocation of signalling control for the area from Clapham to the state-of-the-art Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre (TBROC). Other work involves upgrade of track at key junctions surrounding Clapham and Balham with new, more reliable equipment. A new and improved track layout will be installed between Clapham and Victoria stations, improving line speeds and

Our core work scope is delivering the lineside civils package of works for the project:

  • Gap analysis of existing available information.
  • 5x cable route work packages (packages 1-5).
  • 4x level ground loc bases (CJ105, CJ116, CJ121).
  • 5x minor retaining wall loc bases (CJ103, CJ108, CJ112, CJ118, CJ120)
  • 5x loc suites on stagings (CJ107, CJ110, CJ111, CJ113, CJ115).
  • 1x Signalling REB base, 12.2m x 3.2m (CJ104).
  • 3x PSP bases, 14m x 3m (Queensroad, Wandsworth, Streatham).
  • 6x Under Track Crossings (UTX) o 4x 2 road (UTX 1, 2, 8) o 1x 5 road (UTX 3) o 1x 1 road (UTX 8).
  • 30x bases, posts, standing areas and walkways as specified to accommodate SPTs.

We are also working on construction of Ground Position Lights (GPL) bases as per the scheme plans and construction of Signs bases and associated post and caps as per the scheme plans (Signage included) with the troughing supply and fit as specified.

Our scope of work also includes:

  • Any temporary works design, management and lifting plans required to complete these services.
  •  Production and management of all construction ITPs.
  • Production and supervision of entry into service documentation and processes.
  • Production of red line drawings/updates. Submitting to the designer and liaising; for production and completion of AsBuilt drawings.

Whilst delivering our scope of works RCU are responsible to provide a cable watcher which holds an approved IRSE Licence and HV competent person when required.

Do you credit these big contract wins to your decision to invest in several new pieces of plant and equipment? Was that investment in expectation of this increased scope of work?

The investment in our new plant (32t Grab lorry, Bobcat T590, Garbin TZ450) was mainly due to the growth in our utilities side of the business and becoming a Tier 1 contract contractor but the plant we have invested in will be used across all projects and work streams due to its versatility.

You have received certification for the NICEIC Approved Contractor Scheme and you also have accreditation by the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS), how important is it to get these accreditations and how do you ensure you qualify?

These are industry standard requirements to enable RCU to demonstrate our commitment to health and safety along with compliance to the latest standards and rules. RCU are always looking to better themselves, this is demonstrated by also holding an Integrated Management System consisting of ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 for the last three years which has been audited by BSI. RCU are looking to continue investing and working towards gaining NERS for our Utilities division along with working within the principles of ISO 44001 Collaborative working and gaining the certification in the near future.

What do you have planned for the year ahead?

We are finally rolling out our digital solution; SimPro for the business, this has been a long time coming but with lots of effort and works being done in the background we are nearing the implementation of it. This will bring great change and benefit to the business which everyone is looking forward to.

With the coming launch of Great British Railways, how do you anticipate your place within the supply chain changing?

It is such a big unknown currently but luckily we have a diverse client list that ranges from the Asset Owner to TOCs, FOCs and some of the biggest spending Tier 1 contractors that Network Rail spend money with so we are hopeful that whatever the outcome we will be part of the supply chain for years to come.

What do you expect the biggest challenges that come from this transformation of the railway industry?

Who knows what the future will bring but hopefully things like Covid won’t impact the budgets too much and we can continue in building a great railway for the UK. Resources is always a hot topic spoken about due to demands, Covid and the changesthat Brexit brought with people being able to come and work in the UK. Luckily for us we have a good robust network of individuals and supply chain to ensure that we aren’t affected