Today our group went to Glasgow, Scotland, which is about an hour by train west of Edinburgh.  We went to meet with Balfour Beatty again to tour 2 hospital construction sites, as well of course to see Glasgow.  Our group was divided in two, one going to the Victoria Hospital, and the other which I was in going to see New Stobhill Hospital. 

Upon arrival at the site we were greeted by David Weatherstone and Barry Nichols who lead our tour around the site.  As it is a safety regulation, we were all fitted out again with full safety gear, steel toed boots, high visibility vests, hard hats and gloves, which us along with everybody else on the site are required to wear.  Safety has been an extremely high priority with all the firms we have visited, and the sites in Scotland were no different. 

The New Stobhill Hospital project is a 80 million pound PFI ( Private Finance Initiative) funded project, with approximately 27,835 square meters of total floor area, and just to give a better idea of its size there is 2,400 tons of steel in the structure.  The building has been in planning for over a decade with the project being approved in 2001 and the financial backing closing in 2006, along with the Victoria Hospital.  Construction began on New Stobhill on November 20, 2006 and is scheduled to be completed on December 7, 2009. 

In the New Stobhill Hospital there are over 100 consult and exam rooms and over 20 different departments housed in the hospital which is designed with a north and south block.  The design of the building is more restrained than the Victoria Hospital with a limited materials and colors palette.  The more muted materials choice is to help with the functionality and wayfinding of the building and for the ease of patients the reception areas are differentiated with timber wall paneling and changes in ceiling heights. 

We toured all the levels of the hospital, going through the main atrium space and circulation areas.  And saw into almost finished exam rooms that were a kind of mock-up for all the other rooms so if there was a problem in the function of the mock-up it could be changed before all the other rooms were done the same.    And the company can be penalized if a room is over 5% smaller at the completion of the project than originally designed.  So the planning and execution of a hospital project has to be thought out even more precisely, which thus makes them more lengthy, complicated and expensive projects.  Seeing a hospital jobsite defiantly exemplifies and is an education on how complicated a medical project can be with all the equipment, requirements and required planning layouts.

Ashley Groom


Coming up soon 🙂

Today was a very interesting day for the group. We spent the entire day out at the Royal Highland Games, an annual competition in Scotland.  Something like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, but with a Celtic flair. From four of our own in Scottish kilts, chainsaw art, an American Royal Highlands Champion, and horse racing, we had our fair share of fun today. We started the day at 8:30 AM (which we are getting used to…whether we like it or not) and walked to the bus to go to the games.


We were down four members, and we weren’t exactly sure where they were. Well, they surprised us by meeting us at the bus in full kilt outfits. Yes, the skirt type. It was pretty comical, and there were plenty of jokes about underwear (or the lack thereof) showing when the wind blows. Fortunately, nobody was scarred for life by seeing that! We arrived at the games and watched some lumberjacks carve animal shapes into logs with chainsaws. The axe throwing competition and pole climbing events were next, and a few of our girls apparently wanted to meet the pole climbers. We were talking about how this particular girl is single, and the commentator overheard us and wouldn’t let us live it down. Mrs. Horlen didn’t help out much either, as it was she who would consistently yell out “This girl is single!!!”


After we had our fair share of mountain man sports, the group split and went to see different events. Personally, I went with Chase and the Horlens to watch the Terrier races and the falconry demonstration. The Terrier races was one of the more humorous events of the day, with little dogs yelping incessantly and a Doberman being terrified of a Jack Russell. The falconry was next, and we watched amazed as the trainer called out different commands to the bird, which had its fair share of maneuvers to show off in the air. This bird had been clocked at a 120 mph dive before, and I’m pretty sure that it reached that speed today as it went in for its prey. The rest of the group went to see the Royal Highland Games demonstration, which featured more men in kilts, except these guys were a little different than our own. They were no less than 250 pounds, and mostly muscle (no offense guys). The games consisted of throwing a 26 pound weight as far as you could by spinning and throwing, throwing a dumbbell weight overhead and clearing a certain height, and picking up a 20 foot, 140 pound log and trying to flip it over its end. To put it simply, it was a huge meathead-fest. One of the competitors was an American from Massachusetts named Mike, and he received plenty of encouragement from the loud “American Pride” section of the stands. Mike actually ended up winning the entire competition, so we took a picture with him.


The rest of the day at the games consisted of watching horses pull carriages (Clydesdales- picture the Budweiser team), run different relay races, and finally compete in a Championship Jumping Competition. Overall, it was a fun day at the Royal Highland Games that we won’t soon forget.




 Aggies with the “World’s Strongest Man”  🙂


 Bulls on show





 Pole climbing


 Chainsaw at work






Today is June 20, 2008 and we were moving to New Arthur’s Place in Edinburgh, Scotland by train. Starting at 5:15 a.m. cabs were taken from the Shafer House to the train station and after five and a half hours of travel by train another cab was called to the Edinburgh, Scotland station.  Oh! By the way it does help if the cab driver closes all of the doors before taking off down the road.  Whoops some of our luggage fell out onto the street before take off.  All bags were retrieved.


Finally, making it to the new residence “New Arthur’s Place” the personnel here is hospitable and courteous.  After unpacking and checking into our rooms we were off and running for something to eat and to take a look-a-bout.


Noticing the spectacular sites from the look-a-bout yesterday, our plan was to hike the notable mountain that can be seen from all around town.  This hike was just for fun without adjudication or any other academic law discussion involved. 🙂 The mountain is what remains of a volcano that erupted millions of years ago under water during Carboniferous period.  This mountain is known as Arthur’s Seat which is located within Holyrood Park in the center of Edinburgh.  Arthur’s Seat protrudes at a very steep angle but is only 823 ft in height or 250 meters.  Arthur’s Seat is also known as the Lion’s Head because it is the highest of a series of peaks which form the shape of a crouched lion.  Hiking only a few blocks we were at the base of the notorious mountain.  Getting to the top was not as hard as it looked; it was getting down the other side that was tricky and dangerous.  When arriving at the top the views were spectacular – the whole city of Edinburg could be seen from a 360 degree rotation atop of the mountain.  While on top of the mountain ruins of some type of historical building could be seen off in the distance so, it had been decided to go see what the ruins were.

Approaching the bottom of the mountain the sign gave information on St. Anthony’s Chapel.  The 15th century Chapel was just one partial wall left standing in rubble.  


 Everything here is at a much slower pace and the people are so friendly (if harder to understand).  And it is much colder here, even though we’ve had wonderful sunshine for much of our time here.  Scotland is really beautiful.


Shila Pettit

Brooke’s and Dr Horlen’s Birthday.  Celebrated at the Bee Hive Pub in Edinburgh.

Smile for the camera! Moments before we embarked upon our trek up to Arthur’s Seat.

Zara racing up the hill!

Steven, Sara and Jay at the summit

Prof Ellis, slowly but surely, making her way up the hill 🙂

All smiles!

The girls from A&M

Last Day In London….

We started off the day by meeting Dr. Joe Horlen, the COSC department head, at the Blackfriars tube station. We made our way to Jones Day law firm. Jones Day LLP has around 650-700 partners with roughly 2300 associates worldwide. The London office is the result of a merger between Jones Day and Goulden’s and
has around 45 partners.

We were greeted by Mr. Craig Shuttleworth, who focuses on construction litigation. He presented the topic on why construction contracts go wrong. Mr. Shuttleworth focused on the three key issues of why
contracts go wrong, those being: projects are late, aspects are not working upon completion, and finally contractors wanting to be paid more. We also had a lot of questions regarding planning which Mr.
Shuttleworth answered very thoroughly. Mr. Shuttleworth said he did have a somewhat jaded view of construction contracts since parties rarely seek legal advice if everything went splendidly but he did tell us it was
possible, using the Emirates Stadium (home to Arsenal football club) as the case study for contracts going well.  Mr. Shuttleworth was very entertaining and we really enjoyed his presentation.

After the presentation and questions, we were treated to all kinds of delicious snacks, notably the cakes! Thanks again!

After clearing those tables off, we broke up for lunch and a short break. We met up again for another law firm visit, this time with Cameron McKenna. Mr. Julian Bailey was our lucky presenter. Cameron McKenna LLP is a law firm focusing on commercial law with around 2200 lawyers in 48 cities. Some of you regular blog readers might be thinking, “Julian Bailey…hmmmm, that name sounds familiar.” And you would be right, because we heard him speak on his Hudson award winning paper at the Construction Law Society Meeting earlier this trip.

Though Mr. Bailey’s paper was on adjudication, he kindly refrained from speaking solely on that topic and instead discussed other issues of construction law such as the three steps of contracts, the hierarchy of the English courts and the upcoming changes with the opening of the English Supreme Court.  That was also a great presentation!

We said our thank you’s quickly and headed out to grab a quick dinner and then headed to the Palace Theater at West End for Spamalot! Though it had been a long day I think I can safely say everyone thoroughly enjoyed the show and our last day in London! Get ready for our next installment from Scotland!

Jones Day

Students listening to the presentation at Jones Day

Mr. Shuttleworth, Jones Day

Dr Joe Horlen

Aggies in London

Spamalot Play at the Palace Theatre

A Scene with King Arthur in the play

This morning we went out to the MW Kellogg Ltd. headquarter office. There Mr. McClement started our meeting with a “value” lesson, similar to the way KBR started yesterday. We learned that MW Kellogg is a British company, of which KBR owns 55%, and the remainder is owned by JGC.  We were impressed to learn that MW Kellogg is the leader in multi-billion dollar onshore hydrocarbon projects, and often have very large corporations as clients, companies like Exxon Mobil and BP.

Mr. Styles, the Project Manager of SEGAS Damietta LNG Plant, then took the stage to give us a detailed description of this particular project. This Egyptian plant was awarded to MW Kellogg for a competitive lump sum bid after a 5 ½ year design competition. It was very interesting to learn about the execution of this project because of its worldwide procurement, with sources from 21 companies.

We then heard from Susha Fisher, one of the company’s lawyers about EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) Contracts, about negotiations, and the benefits of spending some time on site to see issues first-hand.

Following the lectures, we split up into groups for a tour of the MW Kellogg building. This part was very interesting to me because each floor is essentially dedicated to a particular project. Also, it was interesting to learn about the phases of a given project, and how a company can do the engineering, produce drawings, procure and construct a project almost completely in house, only subcontracting the construction labor.  One of our tour guides was Anna, a TAMU former student who works in the London Greenford office!  She’s the one in the middle in the first picture, and on the left in the picture doing the “Gig ‘Em” sign below!


We really want to thank everyone at MW Kellogg for a great day!

Later that afternoon, we met Dr. Horlen and his wife (who just arrived in London today) at their hotel to grab dinner and drinks at a local pub, The Lamb.

Sara Hesson

Students at MW Kellogg

The Movers and Shakers at MW Kellogg

Today we got to sleep in a bit, not meeting up until 10:00. It definitely felt good to get some much needed rest. After meeting we got on a train to Leatherhead, which is the location of the KBR headquarters here in the UK. There, we were treated to a series of presentations. The presentations included a general overview of KBR, a lecture on their computer system IPMS, a case study about BP ACG, and a final presentation on Impact, an organization within KBR.

Our first presentation gave us a look into KBR as a company. We learned about the history of the company, starting with the formation of M.W. Kellogg and Brown and Root. These two companies later merged to form KBR which was a part part of Halliburton. Later, the company broke off and became independently traded on the New York Stock Exchange. After learning about the history of KBR we began to look into some of their recent notable projects. Among these projects were Palm Island in Dubai, the BP ACG project in Azerbaijan, and Kashagan, a floating barge to be deployed in the northern Caspian Sea. Many of these projects are notable as being the first or largest of their kind. For instance, one project was the largest floating off-shore oil rig in the world. Also, BP ACG and Kashagan are both being deployed in the Caspian Sea, which is estimated to be one of the largest remaining oil reserves on earth.  
Next, we heard a presentation by Mike Mitchell, who is heavily involved in the computer program used by KBR for procurement and project management. The program is called Integrated Project Management System (IPMS). This program helps deal with the challenges that arise from dealing with purchasing and managing supplies that will not be installed until 3 or more years into the future. Using IPMS, KBR can know what they will need to do to get everything in order so that no materials arrive too late. If something arrives behind schedule, it could cost KBR and their clients millions of dollars. When these materials do arrive onsite, IPMS has a system in place to read radio signals off of the materials so that one can instantly know what comes on the trucks with out even having to unload them. A final aspect of IPMS is that it enables data to be posted on the web up to date so that it can be viewed by the parties involved in the projects. In fact this program is so complete, that business consultants Perot actually considers it better than any comparable program on the market.  We were certainly impressed!
After this, Geoff Tate, a manager on the BP ACG project spoke about different aspects of the project. BP ACG is an offshore oil project in the Caspian Sea being constructed for a group of oil companies headed by British Petroleum. This presentation gave us a general idea on how offshore oil rigs are constructed. Basically the jackets, or legs of the platform, are constructed on land then taken to the site by barge and tipped into the water. Next, piles are driven through the jackets to secure them in place. Last, the topsides, or platforms, are constructed on land then taken by barge to be rested and fastened onto the jackets.
Our last presentation covered the Impact group within KBR. This is a group for people new to the company to have extracurricular activities. It also promotes networking, management training, and community service. A final job for this organization is the organization of major events such as the company Christmas party.
Many thanks to Francisco and everyone else who made this such an interesting and educational day for us!  The work KBR does is very fascinating and impressive.
After KBR, we went to eat dinner at Sitaray, an Indian food restaurant. It was delicious and a lot of food. I had especially been craving Indian food since we got on this trip so this was definitely a welcome treat for me. After dinner we all went our separate ways for the rest of the evening.
Brad Rutledge