British and French road networks are among the largest and the densest networks in Europe. In order to maintain these networks workable, roads need to be enhanced and in some cases widened to support heavy traffic volumes. Several infrastructure projects have been released the last few years to improve these roads. The MSc dissertation project presented through this paper aims to compare British and French realisation methods of these road projects. The investigation will focus on three areas of study : project management, safety management and traffic management. The study will consist of a case studies analysis of management methods used on the roadwork sites, and the data collected on each project will permit me to compare the different ways of enhancement and widening project realisation in the UK and France.
The United Kingdom and France own two of the largest road networks in Europe. These infrastructure networks are used to move freight and people from city to city around both countries. For the last two decades, roads in these countries are getting old and traffic volumes increase year after year. Renewal and maintenance operations are needed to keep these networks functional and efficient so large projects of construction and widening have been released. In the 90's, these two countries worked together on the largest linear project in Europe : the Channel Tunnel. They managed to coordinate their work in order to build the physical link between the UK and the continent despite of the differences in the ways and methods of construction characteristic of each country.
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As explained above, some projects are realised by joint ventures or consortia from the private sector. Depending on the size of the project, the structure of these entities is variable. Large projects are often run by big joint ventures which are composed of several concession companies, contractors, and investors. Their structure is complicated and differs between France and the UK. Both countries use these kinds of partnership but the way they are organised is different.
Over the last two decades the construction industry moved to the system of contractors which are in charge of the design and the construction of the project most of the time. One company or consortium is selected through a tender competition and awarded the construction contract (Morton, 2002).
These companies organisation is very different between France and the UK. The hierarchy system for example is not the same. In both countries, construction work is split into â€˜packagesâ€™ of earthworks, structures, drainage, and pavement, which require different levels of supervision (Robinson, 2004). The British and French systems use different ways to supervise these package works. One of the main examples is the role of the quantity surveyor in the UK, which is not used in France. Whereas one French package manager manages both work and finance, these tasks are split and managed by two different persons in the UK: the package engineer and the quantity surveyor.
Most of the time, the large motorway projects are realised by an association of national and international companies or joint ventures whereas dual carriageways projects are more likely to be realised by a single company or an association of companies owned by the same group. Small projects of maintenance are often held by PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) contracts or PFIs (Private Finance Initiatives). These three kinds of projects will allow me to study the different approaches towards the operations by French and British companies.