ALICE Technologies and Align JV partner on HS2

Align is delivering the C1 package of the high-speed railway. Comprising a 21.6km stretch of railway, it includes a 3.37 km (2.09 mi) viaduct and 16.04 km (approx. 10 mi) twin-bored tunnel, with five ventilation shafts.

Summary 

ALICE Technologies and Align JV (comprising Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick) have partnered on an innovation project for HS2 Phase One.

Align is delivering the C1 package of the high-speed railway. Comprising a 21.6 km (13.42 mi) stretch of railway, it includes a 3.37 km (2.09 mi) viaduct and 16.04 km (approx. 10 mi) twin-bored tunnel, with five ventilation shafts.

Align’s innovation team is constantly looking for ways to improve project delivery. When parent company Bouygues suggested using ALICE, having used it on other projects, the team had a look. With P6 mandated by HS2, the schedule had already been built over the last three years. However, ALICE offered an opportunity to test the assumptions and look for improvements.

In October 2022, Align JV + ALICE were awarded the Industry Innovation Champion at the British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA) in London for the optimization work on the Colne Valley viaduct. Read more about it here.

Bringing innovation to HS2

A six-week trial was proposed, using ALICE to review the viaduct schedule only. A critical and complicated part of the overall schedule, it would provide a perfect opportunity to test the solution.

Complexity was added because the viaduct had many constraints, with issues such as local planning restrictions, environmental requirements, landscaping, logistics, and contractors to consider. Some factors had to stay as constraints too, including using a specific launch girder provided by subcontractor VSL and shipped from its previous job in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the decision to build the viaduct from north to south.

ALICE generated six million potential options in ten minutes.

“ALICE has opened people’s eyes to the way AI can be applied to construction project management. Running different construction scenarios using traditional software is time-consuming and error-prone. This innovation has supported collaborative planning with our subcontractors and enabled the project team to rapidly run alternative build sequences.”

Nick Podevyn Innovation & Improvement Manager

The Results

ALICE enabled the team to bring the client, contractor and subcontractors together and discuss the schedule on a more neutral basis, which was particularly useful when it came to potential risks and preferred solutions.

ALICE enabled Align to make significantly faster decisions about their scheduling choices. The initial six-week trial has now been extended into a 12-month strategic pilot to capture the viaduct superstructure, finishes, demobilization and trial the Manage function of ALICE.

About

Align is a joint venture of three international and privately-owned infrastructure companies; Bouygues Travaux Publics, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick, a subsidiary of VolkerWessels.

In July 2017 the Align joint venture was awarded the C1 package of the UK High Speed 2 line (HS2).


Location

United Kingdom


Industry

Infrastructure

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