A contractor has been appointed to deliver a flood protection scheme for Stonehaven which will offer comfort and security to local residents and businesses.

Northern Ireland-based McLaughlin and Harvey Ltd will carry out the work on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council following a detailed and rigorous competitive tender process.

The contract is being run as an NEC option C target cost contract, which means financial risks are shared between the client and contractor.

This is meant to ensure the contractor is motivated to carry out work as efficiently as possible, working in close partnership with the council.

McLaughlin and Harvey have a strong understanding of what’s involved in the construction of the scheme and are keen to work with the community to ensure any disruption is carefully managed.

A dedicated community liaison officer has been appointed as part of the contractor’s team and will be actively involved in updating the community as the scheme progresses.

Amongst other major projects, the firm recently worked on the £14m Water of Leith Flood Protection Scheme (FPS) for City of Edinburgh Council.

Stonehaven’s FPS is designed to protect homes and businesses which have previously been badly affected by flooding events around the River Carron.

It is designed to provide a 0.5% chance of occurrence (1 in 200-year flood event) standard of protection, including an allowance for climate change (33% increase to 2080) and a safety margin catering for uncertainties.

The project comprises a number elements, including:

  • Alteration to five bridges along the River Carron; removing, replacing and raising the Red Bridge and Green Bridge; repositioning the Green Bridge; removing, refurbishing and reinstating the White Bridge in a raised position; replacing the Bridgefield Bridge parapet with a reinforced glass type material; and raising and widening the Beach Bridge.
  • Construction of flood walls between the Red Bridge and the river mouth.
  • The island downstream of the Green Bridge will be removed.
  • Installation of two higher capacity culverts on the Glaslaw Burn and a new culvert under the gardens of Cameron Street.
  • The construction of a new pedestrian walkway from Bridgefield Bridge to the Beach

The Scheme will provide a standard of protection well above the current Association of British Insurers requirements, reducing flood risk to 372 residential properties, two public utility sites, a school and an emergency service site.

While it had been hoped work would start on the ground this summer, the first stage of the tender process took longer to complete, due to the very high level of interest from firms.

Work is now expected to start at the beginning of 2019 and to take 24 months to complete.

Project lead and principal engineer, Rachel Kennedy, said: “We now have a contractor, a project plan and the money we need to deliver it, so after many years of painstaking work we’re almost ready to start work on the ground.

“We are well aware many people in the town will be delighted to see this progress – flooding is not a distant memory in Stonehaven and it’s hard not to think of it every time it rains heavily.

“The format the contract takes, known as an NEC option C target cost contract, means the financial risk is shared between the Council and the contractor to a pre-agreed proportion – sometimes known as a pain/gain mechanism.

“This should help ensure the project is on budget and on time, though clearly with an undertaking of this size and complexity there can always be unexpected difficulties, but this and the painstaking design work which has been done up to this point will ensure those are kept to a minimum.”

McLaughlin & Harvey’s civil engineering director, Seamus Devlin, said “We are pleased to be part of the construction of a flood protection scheme which will provide security to the community in this area.

“To be awarded this prestigious contract is testament to the reputation we’ve built up for delivering high-quality flood schemes across Scotland.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Peter Argyle, said: “The council and its contractor are keen to keep the local community informed of progress and to work through any issues as they arise, delivering a flood protection scheme which offers the community security.

“With a project of this size and complexity clearly there may be some inconvenience in the local area while work is undertaken, but everyone will do their utmost to keep this to a minimum and I know a lot of planning has gone in to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

"Clearly everyone is keen to see this important protection for the town in place at the earliest opportunity, but it has to be done right, within budget and ensuring we take account of the complex requirements across the scheme area.”

Cabinet secretary for environment, climate change and land reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “Flooding can have a devastating impact on homes, business and communities, and that is why we are working with partners and investing in schemes to protect against it. We will continue to make available £42 million a year to help fund important projects like this to protect those communities most at risk of flooding.

“I am pleased that progress is being made on the Stonehaven Flood Protection Scheme, and that a contractor has now been chosen to deliver it. The damage caused by flooding in previous years is still very clear in all of our minds and I hope that today’s announcement offers some reassurance to Stonehaven residents.”

The Council’s Policy and Resources Committee approved funding for the scheme at an estimated value of £16m in September 2014.

Landowners directly affected by the works will be contacted by members of the project team to speak about the next steps of the project and what that will mean for them.

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