Latest update from Littlehampton Sea Defences

Would you trust this company?

We’re in 2014 and it’s hard to believe that one of the world’s largest and, supposedly most respected, engineering companies would publish this picture in their staff handbook.

Halcrow Engineering

This sketch is taken from the staff handbook of the engineering company responsible for delivering the £14.5m Littlehampton Sea Defence Project.

Halcrow, which is now part of CH2M Hill, are one of the largest engineering companies in the world. But don’t let these credentials fool you, as this company has so far had a number of embarrassing spank-your-bottom  moments thus far in Pier Road.

It would be funny if it wasn’t costing you and I the local tax payer so much money to put right the ongoing incompetence.

For those who don’t know, Halcrow Engineers are the company responsible for delivering the engineering side of Littlehampton’s East Bank Flood Defence Scheme. This £14.5m project is now seriously behind schedule (at least six months) over-budget (at least £600,000) and has just been awarded an additional £297,000 of local Tax Payer’s cash by Arun District Council. This despite being assured by the Environment Agency Project Team that is a Fixed Price Contract.

Let me remind you that it was the engineers who insisted during our consultation meetings that Pier Road was suitable to take the heavy machinery they were proposing to use.  Pier Road Traders argued that the road wasn’t capable of taking their machinery, after all, many of us have lived here for most of our working lives. Some have been born here.

These concerns were ignored, engineers in shiny suits and patent leather shoes know better than fish and chip people in aprons with flour on their hands…

Pier Road Traders were subsequently proved right when the project team finally announced (this after 4 months of doing nothing in Pier Road) that the road was indeed unsuitable for taking their heavy 130t crane. This expensive, and in my view, utterly avoidable engineering mistake has added £400,000 to the costs of delivering the scheme.

Not forgetting the additional costs of that are ongoing in compensating Pier Road Traders for the loss of business suffered as result of these ongoing, and entirely avoidable delays.

During one of our consultation meetings I asked one of the halcrow engineers who was giving a presentation with no less than four other civil engineers as to what would be the revised width of Pier Road once the project was completed.

He told me that he didn’t know.

‘But I saw you this morning measuring the road?’ I said.

The bizarre response he came out with is worth a spanked bottom in anyone’s book – ‘I don’t know how to measure a road, I’m a civil engineer not a Highways engineer,’ he said.

‘Gosh I didn’t know you use a different ruler,’ I said.

This generated an even more bizarre response as he leapt up, grabbed something from his bag and stood in front of us all and read out the measurements of the width of the road. These being the measurements he said he was unable to take as he wasn’t a highways engineer.

Maybe at this point you’re getting the picture as to why there’s been such long delays in the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences and why all of us in Pier Road are looking as stressed as we are.

Anyway, back to that neat little, chicken soup for the soul, heart-warming Staff Handbook, which opens with the following helpful advice for employees:

“A good test to determine if a contemplated action
is ethical is to ask, “Would I want to see it in the headlines
tomorrow morning?”

I wonder how many red faces would be at the CH2M Hill senior management meetings if the Chief Executive was to start dropping the pants of his colleagues and put their naked backsides over his knee. Or we were to see public spankings in Pier Road. There are, I’m given to understand whole websites devoted to this practice…

Honestly, you couldn’t make this sort of stuff up.

And this shower is the engineering company appointed to deliver most of the UK’s main public sector contracts?

Halcrow/CH2M Hill company philosophy is also worth a look at.

Number one must be funniest.

“be the most respected company in our industry”

You’re kidding, right?

You put a picture of a naked backside being spanked in your company employee’s handbook and you expect to be respected?

Not in Littlehampton, you won’t….

Here they all are below listed in death-by-powerpoint presentation perfect.

Don’t miss bullet point number 3!  “preserve the Little Yellow Book philosophy”

Our Philosophy

  • Be the most respected company in our industry
  • Promote a safe, healthy, and environmentally aware culture
  • Preserve the Little Yellow Book philosophy ***** (this one gets five stars as it’s brilliant. Stand up comedians could do a whole night in Olympia on the contents of this book alone)
  • Commit to ethics and integrity
  • Strengthen civility in the workplace
  • Enhance careers through professional development and advancement opportunities
  • Support an inclusive, stimulating, and creative work environment that values diversity
  • Empower employees to live the vision and strategy by providing tools, information, and resources
  • Commit to sustainable business practices

Here’s a few of my own I think they should add:

  1. Employ engineers who can correctly measure the width between two opposite pavements. (if they need any instruction – my bike shop in Pier Road is open 7 days a week and no prior appointment is needed for us to give you a demonstration of just how simple it is.
  2. During periods of consultation with locals, remember that you might have a great degree, be the best in your field, wear nice patent leather shoes, drive a nicer car than the locals, but, honestly, the locals know their locality better than you ever will and by listening to them, you might just save yourself £400,000 and a lot of wasted time.
  3. Remember, ultimately the public pay your fees, not the Environment Agency  or any other of your public sector clients. Ultimately it’s the hard put upon, over-taxed, over-squeezed people who have the taxes deducted from their wages & pensions to pay for you.
  4. When you let them down, as you’ve done in Pier Road, Littlehampton – you don’t just deserve to get your over-paid, over-indulged backsides spanked, you deserve to be fired.
  5. Never underestimate how hostile locals can become when you assume you can walk all over Littlehampton’s residents and business owners. You’ve made a mess of things, you should pay for your mistakes, not the local tax payer.

Halcrow Engineers

Above, the cover page of the Little Yellow Handbook, more of which you can read here.


LYB_English-24I reckon this walkway is just about the right size for the new walkway in Pier Road, Littlehampton, although I must admit, as I’m not a highways engineer I won’t be able to measure it..”



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