Mott MacDonald duo win award for work during Covid-19

Ian Watkins (left) and Martyn Frackelton have received the President’s special award for pandemic service from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

A leading railway design engineer has been recognised for the work he and a colleague during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ian Watkins, a director and project principal at Mott MacDonald, normally specialises in the design and construction of heavy rail, metro and light rapid transportation infrastructure projects. He has led several high-profile commissions, including the design of the new London Underground station at Battersea Power Station.

However, when the epidemic hit and the world changed, Ian teamed up with his colleague Martyn Frackelton, who leads lead Mott MacDonald’s buildings advisory team in the North West and is lead for the education sector, to take on the job of project leads for two of the Nightingale hospitals – in London and the North West.

For Ian, converting the London ExCeL international convention centre to a life-saving facility required solutions to several major logistical obstacles, including power generation, drainage, clinical waste management and traffic control. As the project manager of NHS Nightingale London, Watkins led a growing team of contractors, managing the interface requirements of the 80-ward field hospital to a tight deadline.

London’s Nightingale Hospital was built inside the ExCeL exhibition centre.

Meanwhile, Martyn Frackelton used his 20 years’ experience of project management in the education and health sector to manage the creation of NHS Nightingale Hospital North West. In the space of only 13 days, he coordinated the transformation of the Manchester Central Convention Complex (formerly the G-Mex Centre) from an exhibition centre to a healthcare facility with up to 630 beds. He was the key interface between the contractor, IHP, and the NHS team that was responsible for the ambitious project.

The Nightingale hospitals were designed to cope with the nightmare scenario that every permanent hospital was overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Thankfully, they treated only a fraction of the number they were built to care for, but that does not diminish the achievements of the engineers who delivered them at such an incredible pace, displaying gold-standard project management skills.

As a result of their hard work, operating on extremely tight deadlines and out of their normal comfort zones of railways and education, Martyn Frackelton and Ian Watkins have received the President’s special award for pandemic service from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAENG), in recognition of their exceptional engineering achievements in tackling COVID-19 in the UK.

Manchester’s Nightingale hospital in the Manchester Central Convention Complex – the former Central railway station.

In total, 19 awards have been made to teams, organisations, individuals, collaborations and projects across all technical specialities, disciplines and career stages within the UK engineering community who have contributed to addressing the challenges of the pandemic. Specially commissioned silver medals will be presented to all 19 winners later this year.

Martyn and Ian weren’t the only people from Mott MacDonald working with the NHS during this period. A wider team of project managers, engineers and cost consultants from Mott MacDonald also supported delivery of The Dragon’s Heart hospital in Cardiff, where the company was project manager, lead designer, cost consultant and employer agent for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

In Scotland, Mott MacDonald provided project management services to the NHS for the NHS Louisa Jordan hospital in Glasgow. This covered overall integration of the work streams, on-site logistics planning, operations coordination, facility management advisory services, as well as design input to bring about schedule and successful delivery of the hospital.

Richard Cantlay, Mott MacDonald.

Richard Cantlay, Mott MacDonald’s global head of healthcare facilities, said: “We’re immensely proud of our work on four of the Nightingale hospitals, which continue to offer extra capacity to the NHS this critical time.

“Our congratulations go to Ian and Martyn and the wider team who also deserve recognition for their efforts.

“It really has been a collaborative effort and shows Mott MacDonald at its very best.”

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