Blog: Integration & Collaborative Working SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Mace

23 May 2019

Sponsored by Waterloo Air Products

Automation at Heathrow airport - submitted by Mace

Heathrow and its 'airline community' are working together to deliver a simplified, efficient and resilient journey for all their passengers. There is an ever-increasing demand for self-service options that marry speed and simplicity with a good customer service. Modelling indicates that increased efficiency achieved by automating the passenger boarding process, through the use of Self Service Bag Drops (SSBD’s) & Self-Boarding Gates (SBG’s), could lead to nearly twice the current throughput for all Heathrow passengers.

Mace had already delivered Automation scope throughout Terminal 5A in 2016 and 2017 and due to this success, were asked by Heathrow to align collaboratively with Heathrow framework colleagues, Balfour Beatty.

This was to share past project success methods and management alongside aligning commercial principals and supply chain management to deliver a consistent approach irrelevant of location or main contractor. This was proposed as a working charter agreement for Mace with Balfour Beatty.

Heathrow also asked Mace to provide efficiency with regard to cost for these works in line with an innovative unitised cost for each product. Mace had to counter stringent commercial principals to allow a collaborative ‘open book’ procurement for works throughout the Heathrow environment with Balfour Beatty.

The project was situated within a live operational airport environment and therefore, required small precise working windows during night shifts and hour by hour programmes to deliver construction works before handing work areas back in a safe useable state for normal operational hours. These works were closely integrated into a collaborative programme between Mace and Balfour Beatty to ensure a sequential install throughout the entire programme.

A key output of the collaborative working charter was a declining cost per unit rate for the automation works, which was consistent throughout the Heathrow environment. Mace’s key success earlier on in the programme was successfully shared with Balfour Beatty and subsequently, all automation works have been delivered in time, under budget and without a single safety incident.

The Automation programme at a glance;

  • A single Integrated programme of works across all Heathrow terminals
  • Health & Safety learnings shared directly across the entire programme
  • A collaborative working together charter created to ensure other Delivery Integrators at Heathrow can learn from Mace’s success to date
  • A single design team designing out Residual Risk collectively across all Heathrow terminals
  • Providing an innovative solution to the manual boarding process
  • No safety incidents since beginning construction in early 2017
  • Designing works that enable construction within a live terminal area
  • Sequencing the planning of works that enable passenger safety with no compromise
  • Further Improvement on the programme delivery speed
  • Further efficiencies in programme cost


  • Collaboration has been a key objective of creating further success through Heathrow framework colleagues, which has been evidenced by a professional third party report.
  • Integrated delivery programme to ensure sub-contractors could deliver work throughout the programme regardless of contractual relationship.
  • The client has valued the success of the programme and is looking for similar procurement charters for future programmes.

For more details:

Visit Mace

The SECBE 2019 Integration & Collaborative Working Award is sponsored by Waterloo Air Products.

Recent Blog Posts

CoTrain apprenticeship update
03 September 2020
We are looking to place apprentices - can you help?
Read More

CoTrain in Top Gear recruiting
03 September 2020
Contractors and supply chains
Read More

CoTrain sponsor the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2020
03 September 2020
Virtual awards were held on 2 July 2020
Read More