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Costain: The Four Capitals Model is at The Heart of The New Values Toolkit

4 min

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Following on from SPOTLIGHT’s Social Values event with Costain, Quadrant Transport takes a closer look at the four capitals model and how it enhances the new values toolkit. 

Keen to share the importance of social value in the rail sector, Costain’s Digital Social Value Consultancy Lead, Jeremy Galpin, joined the event to discuss what they can bring to the industry.

Kicking off the event, Jeremy explained the main objectives of Costain in terms of social value. The main goal is leveraging new thinking and the power of digital technology to maximise the impact of social value in rail.

Addressing the audience, he explained: “We are now tasked as infrastructure professionals with delivering social value within the rail. It is new territory so; we are exploring how technology can help us with the process and contribute.”

The four capitals model is at the heart of the new values toolkit

The four capitals model is at the heart of the new values toolkit that has been launched by the Construction Innovation Hub. This highlights four areas of value produced capital, natural capital, social capital, and human capital.

Quadrant Transport heard that there are two elements to social value on infrastructure projects. “There are intrinsic benefits and extrinsic benefits. For example, in one of our projects, the intrinsic benefit was cleaning up the river Thames. The extrinsic social benefit from the asset was the apprentices we employed to do the work gained vital experience.”

Both are part of the social value and contribution of the project, but they don’t only apply during the delivery of a project but for the whole life cycle.

 If we decide what we are going to deliver based on the four capitals then we must capture the data for the whole life cycle for the project and that is where the technology is critical

Continuing, Jeremy explained: “Our digital approach uses digital to improve people’s lives. We believe that digital can shape what is important in terms of delivery by engaging more effectively with stakeholders. Also, it can help us unlock how you can deliver value by unlocking the impact.

DfT is committed to creating a safe space for innovation

Also joining the event was Costain’s Charlie Davies, Strategic Growth Manager. He explained: “Government is really seeing the need to make this tangible and are actively looking at what initiatives are underway using digital techniques to deliver greater value, improve project performance and adopt more modern methods of construction (MMC).

Adding to this, he told Quadrant Transport: “Essentially that has been recognised recently within the Williams-Shapps review. The workers and users of infrastructure in transport are really at the heart of what we are delivering. So, ensuring that the project value because of that is far greater and far exceeding that capital infrastructure cost.”

Within the DfT and bodies within transportation, there is the Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy. All the different transport modes are assigned to this. In turn, this creates a safe place to innovate.

If the industry adopts MMC data, it will be key for building better business cases, making better policy decisions, and improving the delivery of projects.

Intelligent Infrastructure Control Centre is a key innovation

There is a key innovation at the heart of that, which is the Intelligent Infrastructure Control Centre, and this is promoted by the initiative to get better control of the values the sector is delivering.

Within the Q&A session of the event, we heard from Amanda Roper, Deputy Director of Restoring Your Railway at the DfT, highlighted exactly what the government is looking for from the rail industry.

She said: “I’m always wary of people that tell me it is all about cost, carbon or social value. It is all about finding the right blends of those key value drivers and recognising that the relative importance of them will change on particular project needs, location, the needs of the client and the needs of the local communities.”

We must make sure we are not prioritising one aspect at the expense of the other. So, to me, value is about getting the right blend of the key value drivers and making sure they are truly reflective

It was clear throughout the whole panel discussion that having social values at the heart of projects will bring clear benefits to the UK. It will help to boost economic opportunities as we emerge from the pandemic.