The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


MSc Students visit Supreme Court, Tideway and Institution of Civil Engineers

Governance and Control Module students on the MSc Strategic Management of Projects programme recently visited The Supreme Court, Tideway, and Institution of Civil Engineers.

supreme court visit

Public and private organisations seemingly could not be more different. However, in the governance context, where decisions must be made during projects, similarities exist. We are a group of experienced practitioners studying for the MSc Strategic Management of Projects. Being exposed to peers, getting out of our comfort zone, and gaining industry insights from top-notch organisations are the gems we have longed for. This October, Hon. Prof. Paul Mansell (PhD) had arranged three visits in London for the Governance and Control Module for both 2020/21 and 2021/22 students. We were fortunate to be able to visit The Supreme Court (a governmental organisation), Tideway (a megaproject scale private organisation), and Institution of Civil Engineers (a professional association).

The morning started with a guided tour around the beautiful historical courtrooms at the Supreme Court. We then settled and had an insightful Q&A session to understand their challenges and approaches regarding contractual relationships with suppliers in relation to the IT & Building Service department. The remote classmates were able to access a virtual 360 degree tour and then joined the visit facilitated by video-conferencing friendly equipment. This technology allowed us to experience the visit together. The highlight of this visit was definitely debating the importance of control and trust exceptionally in the prestigious courtroom with our classmates. Through engaging debates, we understood the arguments and reflected on our unique project experiences.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aUpHVpjq2Y

Our breath was taken away by the panoramic views and creative workspace when we arrived at Tideway’s office in the afternoon. This visit provided us a glance of projects at a megaproject scale. The Tideway team has introduced us to a new level of ambition.

Sustainability, legacy and commitments were significant parts of the company and the talk. We also had the opportunity to learn about their delivery model, corporate governance and financing. The innovative and ambitious nature of this megaproject can be demonstrated by the ‘Company of the Year’ in the 2020 Global Good Awards.

The Environmental Agency, as a stakeholder, also joined the discussions and explained the usage of UN SDGs to explore value, meaningful partnership and positive legacies in infrastructure. It was refreshing and inspiring to see how an executive non-departmental public body collaborated with a private company to best support sustainable development.

tideway visit

The following week, we visited the Institution of Civil Engineers. The first session consisted of a lecture and group discussions. Hon. Prof. Paul Mansell (PhD) has shared his valuable experience in various programmes and how risk management and portfolio management can be done strategically - which is one of the most critical elements of our degree. During the discussion, everyone was engaged in the scenario setting, and we differentiated between project outcome and project impact, concepts that can often be confused. Following this session we had an active coffee break walking through the displays of the infrastructure learning hub zone inside the impressive library. This exhibition showcased the engineering achievements and the global challenges in the present and future, associated with the UN SDGs. We reflected on how we can think differently and do things differently.

civil of engineers visit
As a student of UCL’s Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, we aspire to create a better World through the strategic management of projects. The exclusive conversations provided us with different philosophies across sectors and organisations. We were able to combine our theoretical understanding with real-world project situations from the public and private sectors and gain insight into what works in practice, and what does not. By interacting with the professionals we met, we could get exposed to up to date industry standards and be prepared for the externalities and risks. The experience was inspiring, fun and phenomenal. We all thoroughly enjoyed the visits.

Comments from classmates:

These series of visits were an amazing experience. The management insights, decision making processes and approaches to risk and insecurity were very insightful. The best takeaway in my opinion was learning how various organisations found the courage to reimagine the standard project process, asking themselves: How can we do something new? Is there a better way? And actually doing it. - Loretta Benjamin
The debates are my favourite highlight because we had our moment to shine and we also benefited from a concise summary from Dr. Antoine Vernet (our Programme Leader). I am very grateful for this opportunity! - Dilyana Germanova

It was indeed a fantastic experience to have the opportunity to visit the Supreme Court and debate with my peers in the court! After having online courses for an entire year without meeting with the programme leader - Dr. Antoine Vernet & module leader - Hon. Prof. Paul Mansell (PhD), it was truly

an exciting reunion for the 20/21 SMP class. Thank you Paul for having us again and arranging this valuable visit. - Iris Ding

Written by Vivian Chih
Photo by Vivian Chih
Video by Silin Li