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Galliford Try faced a significant challenge in constructing a 7.1km long, 7.3m wide single carriageway as part of the £127m Melton Mowbray Distributor Road highways scheme. The specified starter layer for numerous embankments required a 500mm thick 6C drainage stone with a separation/filtration geotextile layer both above and below. Concerns over the environmental impact of importing 8,829 tonnes of stone via 444 trucks led Galliford Try to seek a value engineering solution to reduce time, cost and carbon emissions.

In collaboration with Burdens, Galliford Try explored alternative solutions. Burdens proposed using a BBA approved geocomposite drainage layer with a HDPE core 7mm thick known as Fildrain, which completely replaced the traditional 6C fill and separate geotextiles. This innovative solution promised significant savings in time, cost, and carbon emissions.

Stakeholders, along with Galliford Try included Aecom, Collins Earthworks, Burdens, and manufacturer ABG, assessed the viability of the Fildrain solution. Following approval and supporting case studies from other highways schemes, the Fildrain solution was implemented. The use of Fildrain resulted in a 66% reduction in carbon emissions, a 50% decrease in construction time, and a 135% cost saving.


The solution provided by the Burdens Technical Solutions team led to the project’s application being shortlisted for a Sustainability Award at the prestigious Ground Engineering Awards. By championing the use of sustainable geosynthetics, Galliford Try, Collins Earthworks and Burdens are committed to minimizing environmental impact, maximizing efficiency, and enhancing cost-effectiveness in construction projects. This collaboration exemplifies a dedication to prioritizing innovative and sustainable solutions in the construction industry.

Galliford Try and Burdens aim to establish sustainable solutions like Fildrain as standard practice in their projects. By engaging with Burdens Technical Solutions on every project, we can continue to provide valuable insights into innovative solutions that offer significant benefits. Promoting the Fildrain solution at industry events, such as the GE Awards, will help drive wider adoption and integration into future projects throughout the industry.

The successful collaboration across all parties involved and Burdens on the MMDR highways project underscores the importance of value engineering and sustainability in construction projects. By embracing innovative solutions and reducing environmental impact, the companies have set a new standard for future projects in the industry, signalling a positive shift towards more sustainable construction practices.

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