Our panel of experts answer you questions :
Q: Will there be an opportunity for local contractors to get involved with the project and how?
GD: Yes. Firstly, ensure that you are registered on the Supply Chain database and ensure that your local or regional credentials are there – that means your business location and premises.
It also critical that when you are telling us about your capabilities, the key works you use are accurate and up to date.
How it works is the Civil Works Alliance contacts the Chamber with a project and we search to supply a match. We then compile a list that goes to the Alliance for them to down select.
SC: Look at the example of Hinkley Point C. It would not have been possible to build HPC without the local community and local companies because no one company can deliver this, it is too big. We will be contracting with big companies, but they do not have the size and capacity to deliver this, the local economy does.
HPC has put £2.5bn into the South West economy, and we want to do the same here in the East of England. Local companies are at the heart of this project. We are committed to spending locally and now we are in a position to put the meat on the bones and see where local companies fit in and we are working with Suffolk Chamber to do that.
Q: What would be the limits of the net zero Leiston plan? Would it reach to the neighbouring villages?
JB: The plan follows the of Leiston/Sizewell parish boundaries. However, the purpose of the project is to create a roadmap that is replicable and can be in other villages and towns in Suffolk and throughout the UK.
Q: How will you as a team balance the ambition of Net Zero with the inevitable cost increase which may be associated with this Target?
JB: A lot of these wider initiatives won’t increase profit at Sizewell C, they are more closely aligned with the Government’s policy ambitions for things such as decarbonisation and diversity. We have to consider what value they will bring to the local area, and to the UK as a whole, and decide roughly what they will cost. We will then negotiate with the Government to understand the appetite for these initiatives and how they would feed into the funding model and to help the UK achieve net zero.
Q: You mentioned rail infrastructure. Will this be driven by Sizewell C or via a third-party principal contractor?
MV: As per all Enabling and Associated Development Work, the Suffolk Chamber Sizewell C Supply Chain team, as part of the Civil Works Alliance, will lead on the procurement work. The CWA will go to the Suffolk Chamber to help with tabulating extracted information from the portal so, please make sure that your entry on the site is up to date. If you are interested in ‘rail’ related work then please check that ‘Railways’ and ‘Network Rail’ have been entered in your Key Word section on the site.
Q: On enabling works both for the rail and possible road work projects are there any contacts/contractors that I can talk with to highlight my company service?
MV: There will be, for the moment though please make sure that your entry on www.sizewellcsupplychain.co.uk is up to date. If you are interested in ‘rail’ related work then please check that ‘Railways’ and ‘Network Rail’ have been entered in your Key Word section on the site.
Q: It is encouraging to hear of the number of apprenticeships. Do you have any ideas on how these will be created and with whom?
GD: Sizewell C will create up to 1,500 apprenticeships in a breadth of skills that will stretch right across the project. Apprenticeships will also be available to help backfill where employees have moved to Sizewell C and when we get more information about that we will pass it on.
SC: We will be looking at every company that wishes to get involved in the project to understand what they are prepared to do in terms of apprenticeships and it will be part of the tender assessment criteria.
There will also be a jobs service where people can log on and see what jobs are available, and apprenticeships will be advertised there too. We are also looking into levy transfer from our allocation to smaller companies.
GD: This is in its early stages but keep in touch. SZC Supply Chain portal will be used as a conduit for information. Organisations who can deliver apprenticeships – West Suffolk College, Suffolk One, East Coast College etc will advertise though our website what is available and what courses they will deliver. You as companies registered on the portal will be able to see that and start a relationship, so please continue to check our websites as opportunities become available.
Q: How does the tender process work for smaller contractors to work with main contractors?
GD: The larger companies will be mandated to look for solutions in the local supply chain and the Chamber will support the tier relationship to deliver that capability.
SC: The Tender Assessment Criteria is the same for a Tier 1, Tier 2, 3 or 4. It’s about Net Zero 2050 and if your company is not working towards that, then why not? The whole country is working towards that and it is something you should be thinking about.
Local companies have an advantage here because using a company from Leiston, above a company from Wales, instantly reduces emissions and the carbon footprint of the whole project.
We’ve heard of the Sizewell C Consortium – what is it how do we get involved? And what does it offer?
JB: Sizewell Consortium is a membership organisation and is essentially a group of companies with a common goal of seeing Sizewell C happen and they are coming together to promote the project, as well as their own businesses, and to discuss collaboratively what they can do to further the project.
If you are interested in the consortium, please visit the site and fill in membership form to be on-boarded and you will have access to a collaborative space about events and opportunities. There are also social media pages which show case studies of good work done by consortium and opportunities smaller suppliers to interact and sub-contract with the larger companies.
Regarding apprenticeships, the consortium is looking at Kick Start Scheme encouraging members to get involved with this. They will also assist companies to take some of the leg work out of joining the scheme.
Q: We already supply products & services to EDF & contractors supporting the construction of Hinkley Point. On the assumption that Sizewell C will be a direct replica to Hinkley (with improvements) through lessons learned, would there be an opportunity to discuss this directly with EDF & contractors early? If so, who would be the conduit for this and will there be opportunities for 1 2 1’s once the current restrictions are lifted?
GD: The Chamber is the conduit – it is a little early, but as the project develops, we will be able to arrange one-to-ones and enable those conversations.
SC: It is important to remember that we are in the high-level design phase. Also remember that it is the Tier 1s you need to influence and we are committed to Meet the Buyer events throughout 2021 so you can meet them.
JB: The Sizewell C Consortium is also a force for good for smaller companies wanting to get involved as it can be daunting for them to approach such a large project.
Q. We like to look at innovative ways to construct prefabricated structures. Will there be an avenue to discuss design potential and detailing at an early stage?
SC: Yes there will. At the moment we have a high-level design for the power station but beyond that, design and build of the rest of the site is up for grabs.
Q: We are a company who could stand up a new local office in Leiston to build design related services using local staff. How could we bring this concept forward?
SC: When requirements from the Civil Works Alliance become live, you will be the first to hear about it through the Chamber of Commerce. Everybody in the Sizewell C Supply Chain has one goal, and that is if you can source what you need in Suffolk or in the region you must. If you cannot do that, then you look nationally, then to Europe and then to the rest of the world. That is how everyone involved is thinking – it starts at Sizewell and works out.
Q: During survey and construction what environmental analysis will be undertaken? Will this analysis (eg: soil analysis) be carried out on site or sent to local Contract lab?
MV: We understand that soli analysis will happen off-site
Q. As the only locally based manufacturer of HV induction motors in East Anglia, and the supplier of the vast majority of such motors on Sizewell B, we would hope to be considered as a supplier for this project, but fear that the replication of Hinkley Point C will exclude the company as we were not encouraged to register for the plant because of our geographic location and therefore lost out to our French competitors. What reassurance can you give that such consideration will be given to the local supply chain?
GD: Creating a local supply chain is our job. We need to understand the opportunities and put local companies forward, so even if a national or multi-national company gets the contract, we will encourage them to use the local supply chain. That will be supported by Sizewell C.
SC: The key to successful build of SZC lies in our ability to replicate at lower cost what we did at Hinkley. Design of Specialist pumps has been done. If there are opportunities to build under licence then you will be in with a good shot of winning that contract. We will introduce you to the right people. Not one company is big enough to deliver this project and we need the local companies to bolster that workforce.
JB: The other reassurance we could give it that the total UK spend at Hinkley is 64%. We are confident that we can improve on that figure at Sizewell C to over and beyond 70% UK spend. We are also in talks with non-UK companies involved in the project about how they could partner with UK businesses to improve that number even more.
GD: I am hugely competitive, and when I hear about the numbers at Hinkley Point C, I want to beat that. I want all of you in that supply chain in some way, large or small, and that the economy of Suffolk is well furnished.
Have the projects for the community fund been identified yet?
JB: Not yet. That will come once we have planning permission, a live project and therefore funding.
To reduce HGV or other deliveries to site will you be investing in external storage such as ambient or refrigerated containers?
SC: Probably not during the early phase as that will be rail and sea deliveries of aggregate. However, as we start to get into the more technical part of the build, then yes there may well be a need for atmospheric-controlled storage so not yet, but watch this space.
Has thought been given to setting up an on-site plant and tool hire facility to help with logistics efficiencies?
SC: The answer is yes, even though there is not a lot of room on-site. We will need to use Suffolk Chamber to understand who those tool hire companies are – some of these bigger Tier 1s will have preferences but they will need to use our Sizewell C assessment criteria, which is committed to local and regional where possible, and they have committed to do that.
So yes, and there will be an opportunity for local and regional companies to be a part of that, possibly through joint ventures for the very small companies.
What guidance, assistance or leeway will be given to smaller, local contractors to meet the standards for environmental impact and legacy to avoid the need to revert to larger, national suppliers with greater resources, impact and experience in these areas?
SC: There is no leeway on this project – it is about building a power station to meet Britain’s Net Zero targets for 2050. We urge all companies to understand how they will meet Net Zero 2050 targets. The Government, in December, published its Construction Playbook, which details how infrastructure projects should be undertaken, what assessment criteria should be used and what socio/economic impacts construction should have on the local environment and that is not just for Sizewell C, that is for the construction of anything.
As for leeway – the industry and construction requirements are heading towards smaller, local and all contractors meeting the standards to make sure there is a level playing field.
Where do you get assistance? Well in the coming months, the Chamber will be employing business advisers if you think you have gaps, Miles is at the Chamber to help, the LEP is also a good place to start. We want smaller, local, businesses to be part of this project, and you may have seen the Sizewell C Consortium, which is made up of some of the bigger companies and we are going to look at how businesses within that consortium can act as mentors or role models for smaller companies to make sure they are in a good place to win work on this project.
For more guidance on this, keep in touch with the Chamber, and look out for that information and talk to us we are happy to help.
JB: We are talking about transitioning and looking at what will it take for small companies to make that transition and what support there might be with funding. That will develop alongside the project.
GD: The Chamber are set up to provide support on this. We are happy to provide gap analysis and ISO alignment, and help with the understanding that environmental piece and to help align you with the project.
MV: It is very important for a project like this that you understand the management of risk. If you become part of a supply chain, EDF and Tier 1s need to know they can rely upon you 100% in terms of managing the risk that may affect your ability to deliver the service you have signed up to, so there’s a quality side to it, health and safety and the protection of the environment as well.
How confident are EDF that the program on previous slides will be met?
SC: Very Confident. The build will be between nine and 12 years, that is what we believe. Can we stick to the timescale? That depends on when we get the go-ahead and the FID. We have spent millions of pounds this year and last de-risking Sizewell C and learning from the experience of HPC. So, I would say I am 100% confident that we can deliver.
Will there be opportunity of small contractors to be involved?
SC: Absolutely yes – that is why the Chamber is chasing smaller contractors to get on the database. At HPC, £2.5bn has been spent with local companies around the site and they have actively sourced local. The project is absolutely committed to engage with large companies down to one man and his van.
GD: From the Chamber perspective, that is our role. If a Tier 1 wins a contract they will be encouraged – and I hope mandated – to seek support from local businesses. HPC will deliver at least £1.5bn into the local economy and the target we have set ourselves at the Chamber is to achieve and hopefully exceed that number.
How much peripheral development/construction work is expected to come to the area as a spin-off of Sizewell C? i.e. housing/accommodation, business/commercial, local amenity etc.
SC: Legacy is absolutely what this is about. Sizewell C is not being built on its own and Joe mentioned there are some other projects and opportunities to get involved with. For businesses, I would say keep close to the Chamber of Commerce and the LEP as there are other opportunities in construction in this region, including wind farms and other peripheral developments.
JB: It is also worth mentioning the operation phase of the power plant which will provide 900 permanent jobs, and also the outages which will see extra people coming in adding to the requirement for accommodation and ancillary services.
Can you touch on distribution avenues for supply of materials for both the associated development works and the main site?
SC: What HPC has shown us is that we need an extra 50 acres outside of the site in various locations for lay down and storage but where we need it is not decided on yet. We haven’t got into bed with a port or with hauliers as we don’t have a project. But it is something we will be looking at in the next six months and we are already talking to the CWA about this. Stay in touch with Suffolk Chamber.
MV: In terms of available Brownfield sites in Suffolk, there aren’t very many. Most of the land available is owned by various stakeholders already, so building on what Steve was saying, we’ve established relationship with these people and when the need becomes clearer, we will be able to progress those discussions.
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