Queensferry – New Forth Road Bridge – Scotland. Amongst all the complexities and technical challenges, we should remember that during construction the bridge deck itself is going to be the longest free cantilever cable stayed bridge in the world. The Queensferry Crossing is a cable- stayed bridge which is to the west of the existing Forth Road Bridge. So I decided that would be the career for me.”, After graduating from Leeds University in 1975 with a BSC (Hons) in Civil Engineering, a move to London followed to take up his appointment with Ove Arup. “It wasn’t long before we had 40 people round our table, bottles of vodka, lots of excited conversation most of which we couldn’t understand but, every now and again, someone would say the name of an English football club and we would shout “Yes!” and they would pour another slug of vodka for yet another toast. In the years to follow, Michael took over responsibility for the international division which, by then, was turning over about £10m a year, picking up globally diverse work in Dubai, Ghana, South Africa and the former Soviet Union, focussing on emerging opportunities in the oil sector. Second Forth Crossing. The work included water and sewerage repairs as well as the reconstruction of harbours and airports. The consortium said it … Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors was founded in 2011. “It’s not an especially big bridge, but it was exceptionally difficult to build with a hugely complex geometry and lying in a very exposed position. Despite this challenge – or, perhaps, because of it – Michael rates it as “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.”, “SWS operated in every corner of Scotland and I got to visit each and every one. Only the Forth Road... Story so far: six years of non-stop progress - 5 March 2014, 0 to 200 in three months: southern approach viaduct on the move - 14 April 2014, On the deck: the amazing scale of the Queensferry Crossing project - 23 May 2014, Queensferry Crossing: why reaching deck level matters - 8 August 2014, Queensferry Crossing getting a Sheerleg-up from Taklift 6 - 9 October 2014, Hit the north: the “other” viaduct set to take the spotlight - 12 December 2014, First you named the bridge, now FRAME it - 19 March 2015, BBC Radio Scotland: Brainwaves - 22 April 2016, Iain Murray, Operations Director for Employer’s Delivery Team, Neil Robinson, FCBC Temporary Works Co-ordinator for Foundations & Towers, Jim Woods, FCBC Deputy Laboratory Manager. He and a colleague were delayed on a flight to St Petersburg and then missed their connecting flight to Baku in Azerbaijan. There’s been a whole world in between, but there’s a satisfying symmetry to Michael’s journey from the Kessock Bridge to the Queensferry Crossing. It’s too important a job and it needed somebody to come in, run it, build on the great work done since 2011 and see it through to completion. The only thing more complex might be putting a motorway through a city centre but for a rural location, which is what it really is, it’s as hard as it gets. In fact, it was similar to the Queensferry Crossing in that we lifted the centre section with strandjacks just as we will be doing with the deck segments here. Following the A69 success, they won a succession of major contracts: the first water PFI contract with Scottish Water (water treatment works in Inverness and Fort William), the first Ministry of Defence PFI contract (housing for RAF Lossiemouth) and the first local authority PFI contract (construction of Perth & Kinross Council’s new offices). “In part, I joined Morrison because they were obviously doing very well. Such third party cookies may track your use of The Forth Bridges websites. “In fact, it turned out to be a very successful period for the international business and, on the back of it, we won another contract in Antarctica for the British Antarctic Survey expedition. But it didn’t work out like that.”. saved by using Prism. Michael was by now head of the Infrastructure Division and playing a key role in the company’s rapid expansion, an expansion which led to the company’s flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 1996 and Michael’s subsequent appointment to the new PLC board. “I agreed with the Morrison Board that we needed a clear strategy in order to consolidate the rather disparate international focus which was challenging for a company the size of Morrison. When that programme of works was delivered, that was the end of the company. For all these reasons, I couldn’t stand back from this role.”. It wasn’t exactly what my wife, Mary, and I had planned for the next three years, but we both knew I would always have regretted shying away and not standing up to the challenge. After a short spell doing estimation for temporary works, a project to build a bridge over the remote Loch a’ Chairn Bhain in Sutherland came along in 1984. I was responsible for the temporary works design for the tender and I remember during the celebrations when we won the contract one of the directors saying to me “Aye, well done, but now you’ve got to build it!”  That really struck home to me. How about working on this bridge job in the Highlands?”. One for wholly unexpected reasons. Around this time, Morrison acquired Shand Construction, an English company with a subsidiary office in the Middle East. This includes cookies from third party social media websites if you visit a page which contains embedded content from social channels or if you share content. They are to submit a … The Forth Bridges has updated its cookie policy. Morrison was on the up and up. Forth Crossing The contract for the main crossing of the Firth of Forth was awarded to FCBC and construction started in late 2011. And that is exactly what we’ve got here. It was a limited life company, the programme being there to deliver £2.4 billion worth of work. The £2.3 billion ‘second’ Forth crossing currently undergoing construction will create an iconic new structure to the west of the existing Suspension bridge that was built in the 1960s. Morrison have been there ever since and have carried out some fantastically interesting projects in the harshest of environments.”. Following extensive Parliamentary scrutiny throughout 2010, the Forth Crossing Actwas granted Royal Assent in January 2011. The Morrison Group was purchased by Anglian Water Group (AWG) in 2000. It also saw Morrison working in joint venture with partners Christiani Neilson, an experience which has stood Michael in very good stead in the many JVs he has managed since. He helped us speak to the receptionist and paid for us in roubles because dollars, which were all we had, were an illegal currency. Years later, even though not permanently stationed abroad, his job heading up Morrison’s Infrastructure Division was now allowing him the sort of international travel opportunities that had caught his eye in the job vacancy pages. AWG were very supportive of me during my time with them, but, looking back and despite my achievements at AWG, it had been disappointing to get on the board of the Morrison Group only for the picture to change so much in a relatively short time.”, There were some advantages to retirement: time spent in the great outdoors indulging his great passion for salmon fishing, for example, or out on the golf course where his handicap got down as far as 9 (“It’s not that any more, but I have kept the certificate proving it was as low as that once!”). “Anyway, we did bid and we won the contract,” Michael says with a smile. 4 formerly Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors Design JV Ramboll, Southampton, now MDL Marinas Consultancy, Southampton, UK. Ironically, Michael missed working with his Queensferry Crossing opposite number, Transport Scotland’s Project Director David Climie, by a matter of a few months. “Although Morrison hadn’t planned to go international at that point, we now found ourselves on the US Corps of Engineers’ list of approved contractors, so the opportunity to bid for sizeable contracts to rebuild war damaged infrastructure was very attractive and a great opportunity to grow the business. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on The Forth Bridges website. Being there at such a momentous time in world history “was one of the highlights of my working life,” says Michael. 250 tonnes sheltered waters, 150 tonnes coastal waters. Michael assigns much of Morrison’s success at the time to the emergence of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I really treated it as a secondment – I had agreement from Ove Arup that a couple of years in construction would be a good thing for me and then I’d go back to them. And encourages others to do the same. Up till then, I had sort of been playing, but now this thing had to be built.”. “A job like this demands the best expertise available in our industry, globally. Sitting in his office in the main site office in Rosyth, gazing out at the emerging Queensferry Crossing, Michael’s career has in some respects come full circle. As it has turned out, a number of aspects of the Dornoch project were to be replicated in much that was to follow in Michael’s career. He was soon providing management consultancy services for global multi-disciplinary firm Atkins Ltd before, a year down the line, he was approached to become Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Water Solutions, the major public-private sector joint venture with a massive capital construction and refurbishment programme to deliver on behalf of Scottish Water. SES was appointed by main contractor Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) to install services, and the complexity and scale of the project is reflected in its £20m contract. The Queensferry Crossing was constructed for client Transport Scotland by contractor Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC), a consortium of Hochtief Solutions, American Bridge International, Dragados, and Morrison Construction. We sat at a table, there was a band playing, the menu was all in Russian and we were getting odd looks from people. The laying of the foundations, the construction of the 210m high towers, the construction and launching of the approach viaducts and the erection of their supporting piers – and a million tasks in between - have all been major challenges successfully met by the fantastic project team. “Things at AWG had not been fun, in truth, so with agreement I decided to take early retirement. During this period, Michael became Chairman of Roadlink, the first winner of a PFI road contract anywhere in the UK, operating and maintaining the A69 Carlisle to Newcastle route. A bridge to the future. I really fancied travelling the world. No sooner had this been agreed than an opportunity arose in the South Atlantic.”  The Falkland Islands Government were looking to enter into a five year, £40m partnership with  a construction company to complete work on the remaining infrastructure needing refurbishment and repair since the first wave of contractors had left the islands following the 1982 war. But he and Mary didn’t take to life in the big city and their desire to see the world, coupled with a love of the wild outdoors which has endured to this day, nearly saw the Martins emigrate to Canada. I learned a hell of a lot on Kylesku.”. Not long after, he was approached by former colleagues at Galliford Try (who had purchased the Morrison business from AWG) and asked to sit on the Board of FCBC, the joint venture which had won the contract to design and build the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland in a generation. And the bridge isn’t the only challenge. “It was the most complicated thing imaginable,” Michael recalls. And vacancies abroad, especially in Africa. This design and construct project, on which Michael was once again Chief Engineer, completed the ‘three bridges’ (Kessock, Cromarty & Dornoch) major upgrade of the A9 trunk road. Kylesku Bridge is a project which still gets Michael animated. cable-stayed bridge in the world. “There is no doubt that Sir Fraser Morrison, Chairman of Morrison, was the first industry leader to recognize the potential of PFI,” says Michael. “There hasn’t been another bridge on this scale built in Britain and I predict there won’t be again in my lifetime. Reviews from Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors employees about Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors culture, salaries, benefits, work-life balance, management, job security, and more. The new bridge over the forth estuary will connect the North and South of Scotland, with a span of 1.6 miles, the structure is the longest three tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world. The advice was “Look, lad, Canada’s a bit drastic if you just want to live in the countryside. “There was hardly a single straight line,” says Michael. We can be immensely proud of what we have achieved so far and can look forward to completing an outstanding bridge to sit alongside its world famous neighbours. Like Michael’s current role on the Queensferry Crossing, Scottish Water Solutions involved the challenge of leading a joint venture comprising several different companies with differing work cultures and several sets of shareholders. “The Board asked me to set up a dedicated PFI team within Morrison to address that potential.”, His team delivered, winning a variety of important first generation PFI jobs, generally in joint venture. I thought, I’ll get a hands-on job of my own there to build quite quickly. The north side works, in particular, are very complex. “I remember looking at the jobs pages with these marvellous salaries of up to £3,000 a year! Largely free of other work commitments, he had been able to stay very close to the Queensferry Crossing Project and was already a familiar face on site. You get the sense, right from his first job as a graduate engineer on the construction of the Brighton Marina to his latest role as Principal Contract Project Director on the Queensferry Crossing, Michael Martin doesn’t just pick up responsibility but scoops it up with both hands. The first visit involved a stopover in Moscow where Michael got to see the Kremlin and Red Square just a week after the famous attempted 1991 coup against President Gorbachev when tanks had entered Red Square to quell the rebellion. It is an honour to be leading such a team, able and willing to take up the responsibility to deliver a world class structure to our client. He left Ove Arup in 1980, following the opening of the Kessock Bridge where that company had been the client’s engineer, to join Morrison Construction. Founded by the eponymous Danish “Philosopher Engineer”, the company is renowned for the importance it places on its values, vision and the contribution individuals can make. “It was the smallest PFI contract of the first tranche of DBFO (Design, Build, Finance & Operate) roads projects, but it was the first and we got there first, so it was immensely important to Morrison’s growing reputation.”. 3 formerly Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors Design JV Ramboll, Leeds, now Coffey Geotechnics, UK. Successfully, as it turned out.”. It was only the Canadian Embassy being closed on a Saturday and some timely, friendly advice from a colleague that stopped this story being very different. The Forth Crossing Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament in November 2009, the same month as the procurement process – one of the biggest the Scottish Government had ever undertaken – got under way. There have been three main contractors for the full scheme: Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) – a consortium of Hochtief from Essen, Germany, Dragados from Cadiz, Spain, American Bridge from Pittsburgh USA and Morrison Construction, originally from Inverness, Scotland – is building the bridge and connecting roads. Already an FCBC Board member (since 2012) representing one of the partner companies, Morrison Construction, Michael was well acquainted with the Project and had a detailed knowledge of the progress to date and the challenges ahead. The opportunity to travel had always been a major draw to the engineering profession for Michael. The spectacular sight of three of the world’s most impressive... Can I walk across any of the Forth bridges? This forms the centrepiece of a major upgrade to the cross-Forth transport corridor in the east of Scotland, representing a total Scottish Government investment of over £1.3 billion. So, despite that strategic focus, here was a commercial opportunity that saw him going to the Board to recommend bidding for work on the only continent Morrison was not currently working on. The bridge was Kessock, outside Inverness, where the Martin family has been based ever since. Less weight in the individual sections, perhaps, but even more technically difficult because reinforced concrete is very stiff and can be damaged if mishandled. It will be a bridge in which people can take pride for generations to come.”. Important for Scotland, important for the industry’s reputation in Scotland when there have been a couple of high profile major infrastructure jobs that have not gone well here in recent times. Not wanting to go through another sale, Michael opted to take on a temporary role as AWG Head of Health & Safety where he introduced a new, effective, group-wide safety regime. The two consortia were Forthspan, which included Morgan Sindall, BAM Nuttall and Balfour Beatty; and Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC), which consists of Dragados, Hochtief, American Bridge, and Morrison Construction. Carlisle-born Michael assumed the leadership of the FCBC (Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors) joint venture at the end of 2014 after previous Project Director, Carlo Germani, moved on to a major infrastructure project in Qatar. It was designed by my former colleagues at Ove Arup and is a fantastic bridge which has won multiple awards. The Principal Contract to design and build the new bridge and connecting roads was awarded in April 2011 to the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium with a s… Michael was able to apply that learning on his next major bridge contract, the Dornoch Firth Crossing (opened in 1991 after a three year construction programme). The Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium is made up of Dragados, Hochtief, American Bridge International and Morrison Construction. Trips to the then Soviet Union to investigate potential opportunities around the opening up of the oil fields of Azerbaijan stand out. The design-build contractor was Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, a joint venture of Hochtief Construction AG (28% ownership), American Bridge International (28%), Dragados SA (28%) and Morrison Construction (16%). With a more satisfying professional experience in the rear view mirror this time, Michael retired again. related. "My psyche is such that I wanted to be a part of it. The Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic on 30 August 2017. It’s not me.”. Growing up in Carlisle, he recalls a friend of the family showing him some back issues of the industry journal New Civil Engineer. So, the idea that the bridge was built by Scottish materials and Scottish labour is unfortunately something of a myth. It was a successful, groundbreaking time for Michael’s PFI team. CLIENT: Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) Consortium (HOCHTIEF Solutions AG, American Bridge International, Dragados S.A. and Morrison Construction) 32,500 hours. No longer a small, regional contractor picking up work in the Scottish Highlands, it had grown its civil engineering, construction, homes and facilities management operations throughout the UK and was gaining a national and international reputation for the quality of its work and its approach to working closely with clients. Guidance for abnormal loads and agricultural vehicles. “And it was a structure that only became stable once complete. Responsibility is a key word. The people who built the bridge. Michael, enjoying semi-retirement, had been invited on to the FCBC joint venture board after a distinguished career in global civil engineering working on many significant infrastructure projects with Morrison and other companies. By 2005, it had become clear that AWG was heading for a major structural reorganisation taking it back to its regulated water company roots and divesting it of its other businesses. “It was something of a surprise that Morrison actually won the contract, given the lack of proven competence at that time for a job of such complexity. It’s an amazing construction project and I just didn’t fancy admitting to myself later on that the challenge had been there but I had avoided picking it up and had just watched from the sidelines. Fuel in vessel tanks 54 tonnes The contract to build the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was also won during this period. The bridge’s towers stand over 200 metres tall, making it the highest bridge in the UK. “I have no idea where this place was, somewhere in the St Petersburg suburbs. A subsequent trip was even more of an adventure. All you have to do is bend down and pick it up.”. “This is major, world-class engineering being done here at Queensferry,” he says. Try as we might to blend in, we stood out like sore thumbs.”, A little later, Russian hospitality kicked in. Carlisle-born Michael assumed the leadership of the FCBC (Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors) joint venture at the end of 2014 after previous Project Director, Carlo Germani, moved on to a major infrastructure project in Qatar. Has won multiple awards new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was also won during this period Queensferry Crossing: Accepted Design Architects! The construction of the Forth Road bridge team water Group ( AWG ) in 2000 cheque authorised! Do is bend down and pick it up. ” a limited life company, the Forth bridge network. Walk across any of the – admittedly beautiful – curved Design was remarkable to on! Things at AWG had not been fun, in particular, are very complex like Michael ’ s fascinating began! That was the only challenge `` my psyche is such that I wanted to be to. 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