Client Situation

Our client is a joint venture between two leading infrastructure design companies which is executing key civil infrastructure design contracts for the UK’s most advanced railway. Comprising more than 1500 designers at its peak, this is one of the most complex high speed rail designs of the modern era

Our client asked for assistance in three dimensions

  1. Provide leadership to the joint venture team and represent the team at a senior level to the construction and ultimate client organisations
  2. Complete a detailed planning and costing process for the overall design and finalise the commercial negotiations with its customer
  3. Develop the operating model appropriate to deliver a project of scale and complexity, greater than either partner has completed in the past in the rail sector


Given the criticality of the commercial negotiations and operating model development, we fielded a 35 year veteran of the infrastructure industry to lead the engagement. He took direct responsibility to lead the planning, costing and negotiating activities, working with the joint venture partners and the full range of project stakeholders. Finally he assisted in recruiting his long term replacement, defining the necessary competences and and supporting their induction into the project to ensure a fully effective passing of the leadership baton

Backed by an equally experienced Aczel team he led a phased review of the critical operating model components

  • Organisation design and capability
  • Project controls
  • Change management
  • Programme management
  • Customer management
  • Commercial management
  • Risk management
  • Engineering resilience
  • IT/data model and requirements

Operating in a Covid environment, our team remotely accessed all necessary documentation, reports and detailed project information to conduct the analysis. Crucially we looked at the interdependencies between processes such as the impact of risk and change management on schedule delivery and the deployment of design resources across international design centres


We drove the creation of a realistic and appropriately resourced delivery plan that implemented creative solutions to maintain required timescales. We concluded negotiations that established an agreed and incentivised design budget against appropriate commercial terms. Finally we created an integrated, customer focussed delivery team supported by a clear operating model. This ensured resilience to the dynamic nature of complex infrastructure projects at the scale of national importance


Our leadership of the joint venture enabled a successful commercial negotiation of a major civil engineering design contract of unique scale, complexity and national importance and the establishment of a high performing delivery team to support the contract’s delivery

“Aczel quickly identified the key issues and provided a level of leadership needed by the joint venture to be recognised as the design partner on the project. Your recommendations for the operating model were targeted, practical and could be easily implemented”

Client CEO

Your contact

Richard Green


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