Following their involvement in our Enfield Future Development Plans Event we’ve been speaking to Jacob’s Vice President of People and Place Kate Kenny…

Q. Could you share with us some of the work that Jacobs has been doing when it comes to the major £6bn Meridian Water project?

In early 2020, Jacobs was commissioned as Programme Lead to coordinate masterplan development and provide specialised services, including programme management, integration of design work by external consultants and technical advisory work on numerous fields, comprising supplementary planning guidance and the development of a Transport Strategy and a Infrastructure Delivery Strategy.

An important aspect of the ongoing masterplanning and design effort is the need to integrate initial phases One and Two, which have already progressed to Outline Planning Applications, as well as Strategic Infrastructure Works currently under procurement and to be delivered through the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund

Q. In addition to providing planning services and leadership on the masterplan you are also playing a role in the technical design of the scheme, how do you set out designing such a significant plan?

At Jacobs, we believe an integrated approach is key to designing such significant pieces of city. As Programme Lead for the Meridian Water Masterplan, we are responsible for the definition and delivery of a ‘Federated Model’. The basis for this collaborative digital space included a process of leading the client, London Borough of Enfield, through assessment of previous studies and goals, to reach a set of 10 KPI’s that encompass all aspects of successful delivery, including funding and finance, sustainability and circular economy, infrastructure requirements, housing delivery and employment uses. This model incorporates data from a variety of sources to create digital platforms, which support responsive, data driven decision making for the programme. This enables smarter, more integrated decisions more geared towards successfully delivering the Meridian Water vision (3 vision pillars below).

Q. What do you consider the most significant underpinning principles are when it comes to the Meridian Water project and how are they borne out by the design?

The 10 KPI’s which we developed with Enfield, build upon years of good work and encapsulate the underpinning principles of the masterplan. Alongside important targets for growth and housing, sit equally important targets for place, including 1. Parklife on your doorstep, 2. Your place to make and create and 3. Mixing uses animating streets.

Further KPI’s seek to maximise local benefit through 6,000 new jobs, as well as schools and other social infrastructure. Enfield’s role as lead developer, has tied together developer interests with community needs, delivered by a selection of the UK’s leading designers and planners. This highly collaborative approach has yielded a masterplan that is diverse in its design, in the various uses proposed and flexible in its delivery, with opportunities for meanwhile uses alongside newly built infrastructure.

Q. What are some of the major strategic infrastructure works needed to enable and unlock the Meridian Water scheme?

An interwoven network of infrastructure is needed to enable the development and ensure adequate functioning of neighbourhoods and support to residents, visitors and site structuring elements. Below-ground enabling infrastructure will allow new buildings to be connected and serviced – each part conceived and contributing to achieve the high sustainability standards promoted by the council. Mitigation of flooding risk, earthworks and remediation will be critical as well. Above ground, infrastructure will enable new movement and connectivity opportunities at a local and regional scales, harmonising with watercourses, green spaces and natural systems. Creating a public realm interwoven with vibrant urban spaces and more natural environments, with a ‘park life at your doorstep’ promise for every resident.

Q. How is your use of Geodesign technology ensuring that the development can reach the vision that has been set out?

The masterplan is an evolving programme that involves a wide range of consultants that come onboard at different times. The Federated Model is a crucial interface within the project, which can be plugged into to assess new designs and ideas. Both design synergies and conflicts can be identified and the current performance of the masterplan can be assessed against the vision and its agreed targets. The Model will support and enable the masterplan to be:

• evidence based

• end user focussed

• physically integrated and coordinated

• establish the appropriateness and sensitivities of developing ‘tall buildings’

• sustainable, flexible and resilient

• demonstrate the approach to development phasing

Q. You’ve also played a role on a number of other leading UK infrastructure schemes, could you share with us some of the highlights of your past experience?

As the No. 2 Programme Management and No. 3 Construction Management firm as ranked by Engineering News-Record, Jacobs delivers total design and construction management solutions.

Working with major clients such as the Environment Agency, Highways England, Network Rail and on partnerships such as Thames Tideway, TEAM 2100 and Dubai Expo, we use our expertise and innovative thinking around infrastructure, funding, contract management and project delivery, to bring diverse stakeholders around the table and make projects happen.

One of our proudest achievements in the UK was as delivery partner alongside Laing O’Rourke and Mace on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The consortium helped the project leave a positive and lasting legacy, particularly relating to sustainability, regeneration, enterprise-growth, and employment and skills, and gave the industry a clear example of how to effectively manage large-scale projects, being delivered on time and 10% below budget.

• We oversaw the construction of games venues, stadia and accommodation, and delivery of remediation works and infrastructure.

• We continue to work on the legacy as planning advisor to the London Legacy Development Corporation

• The programme of works included 19 major projects, 96 tier-1 contractors, 151 critical delivery milestones, and 10,490 site workers.

• The legacy plan included strict sustainability measures, Jacobs delivered these targets in partnership with the Olympic Delivery Authority and London Borough of Newham to create a clean site with public amenities and thousands of new homes.