The prize was scooped by Murphy for the Victorian Mains Replacement Scheme (VMR) being undertaken for Thames Water Utilities to provide a robust, rationalized and fit for purpose water distribution network in London.

The VMR is a major clean water program to replace an ageing network of mains using four methods of construction, namely, open-cut, insertion, pipe bursting and directional drilling. The particular method selected was based on various factors considered at the planning stage including requirements of the area, up or downsizing, rationalisation and reticulation of the supply or site circumstances.

The scheme has involved replacing 46 km of the existing local distribution water network with just over 39 km of new PE pipes, as well as 11,000 associated customer supply connections, fire mains and fire hydrants in more than 270 streets in London’s West End. In total it aims to save an estimated 5.7 mega literss of water a day.

This project is being undertaken in the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities and is currently on pace to complete before April 2010, despite the many and extreme challenges that one expects to meet in a city of its size.

Kieran Starr, planning manager at J Murphy & Sons comments: “For the VMR program to win Best Major Scheme in the busiest area of London reflects the Team’s management approach and in particular the effective management of interfaces with all stakeholders and the public.

Murphy’s experience of working in London over the last 50 years and the unrivaled, delivery team of highly qualified and experienced project management and skilled and loyal construction site teams was essential to accomplish and maintain the ambitious program while keeping disruption to pedestrians and vehicle movement to a minimum.”

J. Murphy & Sons Ltd. and Thames Water Utilities organized many forums and drop-in sessions to inform stakeholders in advance of and during these works. The large Thames Water information banners and contact notice boards on every site also provided details of the works to the general public – communication being an important part of the success of this scheme.

“It is without doubt that the advice and guidance provided by the Metropolitan Police Service, London Transport, Transport for London and especially Westminster City Council representatives has facilitated this major scheme to be undertaken efficiently and effectively,” adds Kieran.

He continues, “We appreciate Westminster City Council’s Considerate Contractors Scheme Award for Best Major Scheme as a high commendation for the Teams efforts over the last year.

The Award follows similar accolades for the VMR project, which recently won first prize in the Renovation Small Project category for using pipe bursting and pipe insertion on the first ever attempt at a large scale deployment of trenchless technology around Leicester Square. A further Gold Award for Considerate Contractors was handed to Murphy by the City of London Corporation as well as the London Transport Award of Utility Contractor of the Year from Transport for London.