CMYA Awards 2009 - Categories

7 January 2010


Name: Mike Morris

Position: Project leader, Laing O’Rourke

Project: New Biochemistry Building, University of Oxford: construction of 13,000m2 of laboratories over six levels, completed in 105 weeks

Value: £50.2m

Contract: JCT 1998

Few sites could have been more constrained. Mike Morris had to build a large building in the middle of an historic city, on a university campus with powerful and influential neighbours. The proximity of research buildings on three sides of the site and a grade II-listed museum on the fourth made work scheduling a real headache and demanded a well-considered site deliveries plan.

Morris delivered a robust supply strategy by employing a full-time logistics manager who co-ordinated all deliveries on a just-in-time basis. He set up holding areas outside the city from where materials could be called into site when a slot became available.

He also solved the traffic congestion problem – the project’s excavation phase alone involved 3,000 lorryloads of waste removal – through careful planning and clear communications with the council and the neighbours.

He deployed his considerable interpersonal skills to great effect in the many neighbour meetings held. He communicated the project activities effectively, resolving the issues by putting in considerable efforts to minimise disruption. His personable approach prevented situations from becoming polarised and confrontational, while his relationships with the client and the architect were harmonious.  

Morris showed a strong grasp of the technical problems and was instrumental in solving them. For example, the top-down construction of the two-level steel-framed basement posed severe difficulties for the installation of steel columns within plunge piles. Morris spearheaded the development of the solution in the form of 51, 18m-long plunge columns.
He instigated technical workshops to add value to the project without compromising the design. One result was a change in the roof construction from screed to an insulation material that brought financial, programme and thermal efficiency gains. And he had
the flexibility to deliver key client requirements when newly-recruited academics requested changes which ultimately amounted to more than £2m worth of variations.

Not only did Morris smoothly integrate the extra work within the programme, but he worked hard to ensure the client gained best value in procurement.


Name: Bill Brock MCIOB

Position: Project director, Skanska Construction

Project: 30 Crown Place, London EC2: construction of 19-storey office block, completed in 98 weeks

Value: £60.7m

Contract: JCT 1998

Whether it was the big picture or the dense technical detail, Bill Brock demonstrated an impressive understanding of this project to construct 16,000m2 of new-build office space in the City of London.

The developer was looking to Brock come straight off the starting blocks on a speculative build that aimed to capitalise on tenant demand as soon as possible. It wasn’t disappointed. Brock worked proactively to develop the contract before works had to begin, accepting that the design had not been fully detailed but determined to deliver the uncompromisable quality required.

With the contract signed and the main parameters set, Brock set to work digesting the practical details. He identified and resolved the construction problems head-on, including recovering from the effects of an archaeological investigation on site by reviewing the sequencing, and decommissioning an electricity substation within eight weeks to avoid lengthy programme delays.

He showed an exemplary ability to co-ordinate the safe construction of a transfer truss at level nine, implemented a robust and thorough change control process, and managed the cladding contractor’s first central London installation.

Brock’s in-depth project knowledge, allied to a motivating leadership style that put a premium on team-building, won the respect of the professional team. He kept a powerful grip on the progress of works and the problems encountered. His opinion counted with the design team, his management decisions were relied on, and his 30 years’ construction experience was given the respect it deserved when he suggested alternative methods of design and construction.


Name: Richard Tyler ACIOB

Position: Project manager, BAM Construction

Project: Redcar & Cleveland College: construction of college, completed in 85 weeks

Value: £21m

Contract: JCT 1998

In the tricky position of middle-man between a client rebuilding its entire facility and an architectural practice that changed its project manager five times during the project, Richard Tyler emerged from this scheme with distinction.

The client’s need to open the building in time for enrolments for the new academic year was critical. Even though BAM had little design responsibility, Tyler decided to take a proactive approach by appointing a design manager.

He then built the relationships and trust through partnering workshops to help the stakeholders understand each other’s expectations and needs. Acutely aware that the designers needed as much support as possible, Tyler cemented team spirit and collaborative working.

But late release of design information and incorrect detailing and a stream of design variations and changes (amounting to £4m), left the schedule in tatters. In danger of not even meeting a revised completion date set 13 weeks after the original, and a month after term was due to begin, Tyler took decisive action.

He called the client to a make-or-break meeting, emerging with a new, realistic completion date and a mandate to resolve the issues. He then met with the key suppliers and subcontractors to finalise a reprogramming and resequencing that would claw back some of the slippage and allow the college to open in time for the new term.

He made it clear to the design team that only critical variations could henceforth be accepted. The success of such a strategy depends entirely on having the strength to stick to it. Tyler did so, standing his ground on accepting only design alterations that would benefit users.

The building opened for the new term. Just as important, it oozed quality, leaving the college principal happily accepting compliments about the splendour of the finish from peers.


Name: Peter Lynton-Jenkins MCIOB

Position: Senior project manager, Bowen 

Project: 7-10 Old Bailey, London: construction of seven-storey office block, completed in 77 weeks

Value: £22m

Contract: JCT 2005

When his client’s demolition contractor was hauled before an Old Bailey judge and threatened with contempt of court for being too noisy, Peter Lynton-Jenkins realised just how unique his project was. There aren’t many schemes where disturbing the neighbours can land you in jail, but that was the case with this office block that shares a party wall with the Old Bailey.

Lynton-Jenkins immediately stepped in to take over the troubled demolition contract, completing it in parallel with the construction programme. He then acted as the liaison with the law courts, personally handling the daily and often hourly management co-ordination of court sittings and construction works. He successfully pulled back the delayed demolition without ending up in the dock.

He deployed a single tower crane, rather than the pair proposed by rival bidders, and sourced specialist piling rigs that reduced noise and vibration.

As the first UK project for this Irish contractor, the scheme not only needed to succeed commercially, but also demonstrate that Bowen could deliver safety, quality, programme and client satisfaction.

His leadership proved faultless in handing over the building a week early despite a string of challenges. There were weather delays, hold ups in the electrical services connection, no storage areas for materials, and difficulties with the only access road, which had to be shared with prison escort vans. In addition, archaeology finds demanded resequencing, the proximity of St Paul’s Cathedral led to noise-related working restrictions, and an unrecorded services tunnel was found below the site.

Lynton-Jenkins showed tremendous energy in dealing with these challenges and keeping his team focused.


Name: Harry Dhanjal MCIOB

Position: Operations manager, Willmott Dixon Construction

Project: Shrewsbury Theatre Severn: construction of 650-seat theatre, 250-seat studio and a dance studio, completed in 119 weeks

Value: £19.3m

Contract: JCT 2005

Archaeological intervention can make mincemeat of even the best-planned projects, arresting momentum and undermining the construction team. On this theatre project, though, Harry Dhanjal’s determined management kept the site team and the subcontractors focused and on track.

Dhanjal resequenced the works so the archaeological investigations under the theatre’s fly tower could be carried out unhindered and progress on the project maintained, ultimately delivering a fine building to a delighted client.

His teamwork ethic and partnership approach was the foundation of that success. His relationship with the client was characterised by openness and honesty, keeping them fully informed of issues and problems throughout the build so there were no nasty surprises.

He managed a difficult site in a responsible and proactive way. Bounded by the River Severn’s flood defences, a main road and listed buildings, the tight brownfield site was also within a residential area. Vehicle manoeuvring was a particular issue, and Dhanjal did everything to make all deliveries to site off-road.

Project finances were also a recurring problem, with the original contract sum exceeding the client’s budget. Dhanjal reviewed the envelope and internal finishes, developing alternative specifications to reduce costs but maintain quality. His reconsideration of the building services, replacing the planned standby generators with uninterruptible power supplies, also yielded substantial savings.

And when the unforeseen archaeological dig brought additional costs, he again went down the value-engineering route. He secured a large saving in the cost of the theatre seating, for example, by investigating alternative products.

Throughout this project Dhanjal kept his eye on the ball. The client praised his project management excellence, which included professional and level-headed dealings with all parties, including subcontractors.


Name: Nick Hilton MCIOB

Position: Project manager, Morgan Ashurst

Project: Nottingham Science Park: construction of 15,240m2 research facility and 21,300m2 academy, completed in 83 weeks

Value: £17.7m

Contract: JCT 1998

When a client undertaking its first project makes winning awards its top priority, the construction manager has good reason to swallow hard. Yet Nick Hilton hit the target several times over, with the project taking everything from sustainability prizes to design medals to building awards.

A key theme was Hilton’s formidable relationship-building skills. His open and honest approach and regular meetings to establish the key drivers convinced the client it had made the right choice. The regeneration developer now has Hilton working on another of its projects and has asked Morgan Ashurst to be its construction partner on a bid for a development scheme.

The lead project architect is also recommending the contractor for other work, while the concrete frame, M&E and groundworks subcontractors have been promoted to preferred status on the Morgan Ashurst supply chain thanks to the great relationships developed on
this project.

Hilton brought the programme and design output into alignment by working closely with the designers to ensure that timescales were deliverable. He made sure the design scope was clearly allocated so each party understood their role and there were no misunderstandings.
What was even more impressive was Hilton’s assured handling of sequencing, buildability and value engineering.

With one of the two buildings £1.5m over budget, he suggested changing the floor-to-ceiling heights of the undercroft and teaching rooms to allow for future expansion. It saved £1.2m in avoiding the costs of additional futureproofing for the foundations and frame.
He also developed a standardised facade that looked random, as required by the design, but saved money by reducing the number of window types.


Name: Peter Roberts MCIOB

Position: Project manager, Wates Construction

Project: Winchester Prison: construction of 155-cell prison wing, completed in 93 weeks

Value: £12m

Contract: PPC 2000

Peter Roberts didn’t so much exceed as comprehensively outstrip expectations on this project. He completed the project five weeks early and £800,000 under budget, while still delivering quality and a perfect safety record.

With Roberts implementing lean planning techniques for the first time at the client’s request, the concomitant weekly rescheduling and critical path analysis proved instrumental in achieving the target programme. Three weeks behind at the start of the superstructure, due to unforeseen ground conditions and structural issues, the project still finished five weeks ahead of the contract completion date.

Because he took the time to consider how the prison operated, Roberts was able to challenge the suggested access route. His alternative involved less work, saved six weeks and £165,000, improved vehicle access and holding arrangements, and involved less disruption for the prison.

Unimpressed with the precast concrete panels at his inspection of the supplier’s factory, he repeated his visits to ensure consistency, and rigorously applied finish checks to ensure quality. He knew his efforts had paid off when a fellow project manager mistakenly thought the walls had been plastered. He handed over the completed prison wing defect-free and virtually snag-free.

When it sank in that he really did want operatives to work safely and get home uninjured, the workforce responded positively to his safety culture. To overcome the frustrations of no parking on site, he laid on a shuttle bus from a park-and-ride point – it was so successful that he had to order a bigger bus.

Roberts also proved a very effective communicator. His weekly liaison meetings with key prison stakeholders co-ordinated the prison’s operational requirements with the project’s need for escorts so smoothly that the prison “hardly knew they were there” as far as the governor was concerned.

In the context of demolishing and replacing one entire wing of a building in operation 24/7 and the first time that such a project had been attempted in the UK, that’s high praise indeed.


Name: Rod Nutbourne MCIOB

Position: Project manager, Norwest Holst

Project: Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset: construction of exhibition hall, completed in 69 weeks

Value: £10.4m

Contract: GC/Works

The scale of Rod Nutbourne’s success on this project is clear from his membership of a very special elite: the handful of people the client has permitted to ride in a working World War II German Tiger tank, pride and joy of its collection.

It was an honour awarded for forging a genuine and extremely successful partnership. Nutbourne handled change pragmatically and collaboratively. Client and contractor were willing to help each other out, and both gained as a result. A good example was during project close-out, when the client let Norwest Holst use its office space at no extra cost, while the contractor left the temporary site toilets in place for use by museum visitors during the peak season.

Nutbourne worked hard to keep the client relationship as effective as possible. His tender proposal was the only one willing to compromise the convenience of the site operation to allow the venue to remain open during the works.

He was the only tendering project manager to undertake a ground survey to quantify the risk. His appreciation of the museum’s need for the contractor to take charge of risk was the sort of insight that impressed the client throughout.

Nutbourne was clearly in charge from the off. He personally supervised the overnight concrete pours, and even postponed his holiday at a key moment.

He proved resourceful and determined when things did not go to plan. Faced with a delay to the structural steel package, for example, he identified the key elements and negotiated with the following trades to mitigate the programme loss. When design information flowed too slowly, he held workshops with the architects so his team could elicit and understand the key design principles.

He reaped the rewards of forming a good understanding of the design vision and how to implement it.


Name: David Wilson

Position: Project manager, Morgan Ashurst

Project: De Grey Court, York St John University: construction of three-storey teaching block and refurb of two Grade II-listed houses, completed in 68 weeks

Value: £9.4m

Contract: JCT 1998

With 76 capital projects undertaken over the last eight years, the client on David Wilson’s project has plenty of scope for making comparisons between construction managers. Yet Wilson has come out top, achieving the nearest to a perfect delivery the university has ever experienced. Indeed, the client even delayed his annual holiday so that he could support Wilson in his interview for these awards.

Having played a key part in winning the contract for Morgan Ashurst, Wilson tackled its construction and logistical challenges with zest. Three major arterial routes, including the busiest intersection in the city, converged close to the 4,800m2 site, which was itself surrounded by a public car park, residential properties, shops and other university buildings.
Further complications included a high-tech M&E specification and innovative low-carbon technologies, such as chilled beams, underfloor heating, and passive heating and cooling.

There was also the underpinning and refurbishment of two listed buildings, ground contamination, archaeological investigations, the movement of student and staff around the site perimeters, 57 planning conditions, and a programme  with no room for slippage that had to be complete for the next academic year.

Wilson applied his extensive technical and construction knowledge, lateral thinking and can-do mentality. His open and proactive approach delivered the challenging value engineering required to overcome cost pressures.

His communication and problem-solving skills were excellent and he was ready to get to grips with the detail of any issue. He combined effective resource planning and co-ordination with great discipline, motivation, humour, professional integrity and confidence. He showed respect for the skills of others and gave praise and criticism in equal measure.
He argued issues of design, detail and quality with the architectural team, but always displayed wit, wisdom and a clear desire to find a fair resolution to every problem.

Crucially, he appreciated the value of design and was good at balancing objectives; never more so than when things seemed to be going wrong and the right decision needed to be made quickly. As a result, the project has been entered for a number of prestigious awards.



Name: Steve Wimpenny ICIOB

Position: Project manager, Mansell

Project: Sefton Water Centre, Merseyside: construction of sports centre, completed in 46 weeks

Value: £7.8m

Contract: JCT 1998

You don’t often get ducks swimming between the pile caps on a site, but, as so often on this project, Steve Wimpenny took the problem and found a solution. He quickly and efficiently developed a dewatering system that could deal with the high water table. His solution moved away from the original well-points plan to a series of interceptor trenches at strategic points across the site that also brought the cost down from £120,000 to £50,000.

Wimpenny kept a keen eye on design throughout the scheme. With the connections between the steel and glulam frames depending on a series of galvanised metal shoes, he smoothly managed the co-ordination between the four designers involved, preventing any delay in construction of the tricky interface between the glulam beams and the steel structure.

From the start, Wimpenny put in place an ambitious programme, streamlining progress by identifying and targeting the critical elements. His treatment of the foundation design allowed the piling rig to operate on site from week one, alongside the groundworks. This in turn allowed the structural steel frame to go up five weeks earlier than originally planned.
He maintained this momentum throughout the project, completing the building five weeks ahead of schedule and having incorporated £700,000 of variations.

His practical and professional approach got results. When information or decisions were needed, he requested them; and if they didn’t arrive, he was polite but forceful in insisting.
Leadership, management skills and sheer hard work were the keys to his success. Personable and easygoing, he showed a commitment to the job that was mirrored by the site team. 


Name: Adrian Kelly

Position: Project manager, Miller Construction

Project: Wetherby Enhanced Primary Care Centre, West Yorkshire: construction of health centre, completed in 65 weeks

Value: £5.9m

Contract: Bespoke LIFT

Cruising along in the comfort zone is not for Adrian Kelly. His ambition and drive have  taken him along the long road from joiner to project manager, and is evident from the distinction gained in the NEBOSH certificate in construction health and safety he undertook while on this project.

Kelly’s desire to continually raise his game applies just as much to his projects as himself. On this health centre project, he focused whole-heartedly on giving the users exactly what they wanted. At the same time, he went through the programme and construction strategy with a fine-tooth comb to hand the building over two months early and within budget.

In the lead up to the site start, he set himself stringent targets to guarantee the out-turn delivery. He challenged the programme, streamlining the enabling works and instigating additional temporary works to give earlier site access and allow workfaces to be opened up much earlier than scheduled. This programme gain was the key to achieving early completion.

An important success was persuading an adjacent landowner to lease him enough land to house the site accommodation. This avoided the disruption and upheaval of relocation
at a critical stage of the works.

He managed the design team efficiently and successfully integrated the supply chain with it, as well as the facilities management partners. This allowed him to manage out design and building risks by incorporating the suppliers’ advice on effective detailing at the key build interfaces.

But the issue at the forefront of his mind was always user satisfaction, and Kelly made every possible effort to achieve it. He organised weekly visits for the users and guided them step-by-step through the construction process. Determined to understand what the key features for users were, he found that the colour and material selection of the finishes was paramount, then made sure that the health centre staff drove those decisions. Not surprisingly, the staff love their new building.


Name: Pat Thornton ACIOB

Position: Construction manager, Parkeray

Project: Central Library, Imperial College London: refurb and extension of library, completed in 52 weeks

Value: £6.9m

Contract: NEC 2

Most projects meet with a potentially disastrous turn of events sooner or later, but few encounter calamities and setbacks on the scale that threatened Pat Thornton’s.

Hearts must have sunk when huge ground obstructions were encountered during the piling. Knowing that the size of the foundations meant there was something substantial below, and recalling an historic photo of the area, Thornton headed for the college archive. There he discovered that the piling had hit the footings of the Imperial Institute, demolished a half-century earlier. The foundations had been missed by the pre-contract drilling of test holes.
With time of the essence and the piling rig rebooked for two weeks later, Thornton ruled out probing with the rig to find a way through. His solution was to grub up as much of the footings as possible, cart off the spoil and redesign the piling around what was left. Just as important, he communicated the sense of urgency to the design team, which undertook a rapid redesign to maintain the programme.

Then there was the fact that the specified fan coil air-conditioning would be too noisy in a library lacking an acoustic ceiling. With the design already far advanced, introducing one would compromise the architectural integrity.

Issuing a memo to everyone to come to the table the next day with solutions, he led the team towards a consensus that the fan coils should be omitted and an air-handling unit installed.

The design team worked round the clock, and the subcontractors offered their installation buy-in. Most crucially of all, Thornton solved the location issue. The roof was too small and the new service tower unable to accommodate the four huge units, so he negotiated to install them in the basement.


Name: Gavin Colton ICIOB

Position: Senior site manager, Kier Marriot

Project: Bowbridge School, Newark: construction of two-storey classroom block, completed in 54 weeks

Value: £3.3m

Contract: NEC 3

Incorporating glulam timber from top to bottom, Gavin Colton’s project was not for the faint-hearted. The double-curved “lamella” roof supported by timber beams and posts, structurally insulated wall and roof panels and curved roof panels, plus plywood floor panels bonded to timber joists all made for a complex build.

It also made for a project that constantly teetered on the budgetary brink. By the time Colton was appointed, the design had been under development for a year, and the project was over budget and in danger of being shelved or so heavily reworked that the unique design would be compromised.

Colton rescued the project by offering a stream of sensible ideas and practical initiatives that helped bring costs under control. His keen interest in timber technology also gave him the technical insight to realise that critical design issues had been overlooked. He immediately organised a series of meetings with the key subcontractors to seek specialist advice on how to reconstruct the programme.

His open, straightforward and collaborative approach won the commitment of the subcontractors.

Colton’s ability to form productive relationships was demonstrated when the original project architect departed just before work started on site. He quickly gauged the new architect’s aspirations for the project and forged a relationship so good that the architect has asked for Colton to work on future projects.

Relations with the other stakeholders were equally strong. Not one complaint was received from the neighbours, despite the potential for problems from the dead-end access road and the volume of construction operations.

Despite the difficulties of making the budget stretch, Colton delivered fine quality and minimal defects as well as the innovative sustainable build.


Name: Justin Penhallurick

Position: Senior site manager, Midas Construction

Project: Princess Alexandra Maternity Wing, Royal Cornwall Hospital: refurb of maternity ward, completed in 67 weeks

Value: £3m

Contract: JCT 1998

Justin Penhallurick’s hospital project might best be described as a bed of nails. As well as the budget, quality and programme demands that apply to every project, the scheme posed formidable technical challenges, the user group had real clout, and the stakeholders were legion. Despite the workload this imposed, Penhallurick demonstrated a can-do attitude that motivated the entire team.

The technical installation covered water, electrical and ventilation systems along with medical gases and alarm systems. Installation was made particularly testing by the need to maintain all services to temporary decant accommodation as well as the rest of the hospital while the maternity wing’s facilities were upgraded.

During the works, there were 10 decants of patients from the delivery suites, theatres and neonatal intensive care unit. In each case Penhallurick consulted ward staff in exhaustive detail to ensure all essential life support equipment was available wherever and whenever required.

He engaged with the clinicians and nursing staff throughout the project, giving them confidence that there would be no loss of in-patient services or facilities, and maintaining patient privacy and dignity.

Penhallurick had to consult with nine separate hospital departments, from infection control to health and safety. His willingness to listen built trust and confidence, which was of enormous importance for staff and patients.

The client declared him “an example to the construction industry of the ideal site manager for a project that has demanded extreme extra effort and personal commitment”. The hospital has since awarded additional works to Midas – on the condition that Penhallurick and his team are involved.


Name: Gemma Sapiano MCIOB

Position: Building manager, Willmott Dixon

Project: Winterflood Theatre, City of London School: refurb of school theatre, completed in 16 weeks

Value: £1.08m

Contract: JCT 1998

Like most school projects, this one had an uninfringible deadline, but here there was an added twist: Gemma Sapiano was four months pregnant when works began, and her baby was due just three weeks after the scheduled handover.

As unmissable dates go, it’s a hard one to beat. Equally hard to beat is Sapiano’s attention to every detail to bring this complex project in on time, on budget and to quality.

She rightly identified access as one of the keys and put a great deal of time and effort into scheduling and out-of-hours deliveries. Set right in the heart of London’s congested City, the multi-level school has a road running through it. And while the first half of the project occupied the summer holidays, the second half had to be undertaken with 900 pupils and 100 staff on hand.

Sapiano placed material orders very early in the programme. The steelwork, in particular, had to be ordered and fabricated from day one. With the theatre a windowless room in the middle of a live school, there was no space for storage, so deliveries had to be co-ordinated for the consecutive trades on a just-in-time basis.

Use of weekly snagging sheets kept the programme on track for its allotted 16-week span. And by championing off-site manufacture, she increased control over material quality as well as making more space for the trades to work in.

While the budget was small, it was non-negotiable and it was Sapiano’s leadership on value engineering that held the line on costs. When it became clear that the timber panelling specified by the architect could not be made within the project budget, she took the decision to standardise it, arranging for sample panels to be delivered to win client and designer agreement before fitting them.

Her determination, enthusiasm and unflagging efficiency pushed this project through to completion.


Name: Adam Cannon MCIOB

Position: Site manager, Wates Construction

Project: Winson Green Prison, Birmingham: replacement of three roofs, completed in 30 weeks

Value: £831,000

Contract: PPC 2000

Given the difficulties of the environment, this project would have given many construction managers sleepless nights. But Adam Cannon, a former design manager promoted to project leadership and on his first solo project, did more than justify his employer’s trust.

The technical challenge alone was substantial, replacing three different roofs in confined and restricted spaces. One was flat, another pitched and the third  was an octagonal cupola light above a four-storey wing.

Cannon challenged the external consultant’s advice to replace the composite metal sheet on one of the roofs, because its ends had rusted, by inviting the original manufacturer to the site to provide guidance. As a result, he was able to implement an edge treatment that avoided the removal of the sheets, resulting in less disruption.

With the prison insisting that plywood linings be fitted under all metal roofs, he carried out extensive surveys that established that the sarking board beneath the pitched slate roof was still in good condition and adequate for the replacement composite cladding. It brought a substantial budget saving and ensured the programme remained lean.

Security was paramount. Construction workers had to be escorted by a prison officer to and from their working position and have their tools tracked and checked. If escorts were unavailable, there was the potential for delays.

Cannon mitigated this by acting as the liaison with prison staff. He persuaded the subcontractors to work unsocial hours to maximise escort potential, and issued the main security gate with a daily bulletin with information that allowed workers and deliveries to be processed quickly in and out of the prison. It was all part of a success story that directly resulted in Wates winning further work at the prison.


Name: Martin Brown ICIOB

Position: Project manager, Interserve Project Services

Project: Allerton High School, Leeds: construction of 1,150-place school, completed in 72 weeks

Value: £24.2m

Martin Brown brought drive, vision and commitment to this project, one of four new-build schools in Leeds’ Building Schools for the Future programme.

He took immediate control of all the major stakeholder interfaces. He worked closely with the client to develop the design in a sequence that would allow construction to progress simultaneously. He chaired regular design meetings with the consultants, and visited their offices to ensure specific issues were quickly resolved. And he demanded high standards of external site presentation and maintenance, personally dealing with issues raised by local residents.

But most of all Brown worked hard at establishing positive relationships with the school, which already had existing buildings on site that it continued to use during the project. He explained his plans, his schedule and why and when the programme would change, and installed vision panels around the site so staff and students could view progress.

Brown also spoke in school assembly about the site, judged a student design project and helped physics students doing research on forces and power.

And he listened attentively to any concerns from senior staff following site visits, patiently answering questions and moving swiftly to impose effective solutions where necessary.

Starting off with a clean slate in terms of site personnel, Brown built a capable and integrated delivery team that acted as a cohesive body. He involved the whole team before making the key construction, commercial and design decisions. And he instilled a right-first-time culture, a preference for keeping it simple and a determination to close tasks off.
He owned the schedule, mastering the risk register and deploying a site-based design manager to ensure the design was buildable, affordable, safe, timely and sustainable. He monitored trades to maintain progress, and implemented offsite fabrication where advantageous.

Despite a tight programme, and the safety and logistics implications of the site’s proximity to an existing school, Brown met all the critical deadlines. His decisive pre-planning and detailed understanding delivered a fine project.


Name: Paul Heald

Position: Senior contracts manager, Morgan Ashurst

Project: Harrop Fold School and Buile Hill School, Salford: construction of two schools, completed in 90 weeks

Value: £35m

On this scheme to build two new schools to replace two facilities, Paul Heald saw off a set of challenges that only rarely coincide on a single project.

First, there was a worrying legacy problem. From his first meetings, Heald realised that the first wave of schools built for the client had not been a success. He slowly but successfully achieved a turnaround in attitudes that brought accolades and repeat business from an initially hesitant client.

Then there were the neighbours, who showed a high degree of hostility toward the two schemes. Determined to show the community that it would benefit from the works, Heald engaged 90% of site operatives from the local area and initiated regular forum meetings with residents. He listened to their concerns and acted on them, running the sites to cause minimal disruption. He improved relationships by donating fencing to neighbours, getting site to put out residents’ bins, removing grafitti, providing a parking area for site workers, and managing site waste and rubbish.

But the biggest bomb of all was dropped when, with the substructure works well under way, the client decided on a fundamental redesign of one of the schools to reflect a downsizing of the school roll from 1,200 to 900.

Heald resequenced the phasing to allow the redesign to be completed without delaying the final handover. The redesign affected every part of the school, including the main steel frame, but Heald’s proactive approach gave the stakeholders time to properly consider the redesign while site works progressed.

Even though he could have reasonably argued for an extension of time, Heald decided that the right thing to do was to make sure the school could open on time. That it ultimately did was thanks to his initiative and determination.


Name: Andy Lee

Position: Site manager/project manager, Kier Wallis

Project: BMA House, Tavistock Square, London: refurb of five state rooms, completed in 56 weeks

Value: £9.3m

Contract: JCT 2005

Two months in and this project to refurbish the historic, Lutyens-designed home of the British Medical Assocation had already lost its first two site managers. With confidence in the contractor draining from the disconcerted client, the arrival of Andy Lee soon provided welcome reassurance. 

Lee addressed the understandably strained relations with the client by immediately adopting an honest approach and regular communications. He remained approachable and helpful, despite what must have been unbearable pressure at times. He frequently made last-minute alterations to accommodate the client, which remained in occupation of the live building, even suspending noisy site works altogether on occasions.

He supported the client when the council planning department’s protracted consideration of resubmitted details following a design change prevented progress in a key area. It prevented a planning breach that could have compromised the client.

Lee divided the project into three areas, giving the separate teams with responsibility for delivering them. He held daily informal half-hour catch-up meetings to keep everyone aware of progress, plus formal meetings once a week.

Each time the building threw up its many surprises, he rapidly reprogrammed to minimise disruption, often shifting operations from one part of the building to another to maintain momentum. The unexpected discovery of steel columns encased in brickwork walls destined for demolition was a serious problem, but Lee’s clever resequencing of the hastily revised programme chopped four weeks off the 12-week extension of time granted to deal with it.
His value management and buildability input brought consistent gains. A joiner by trade, Lee simplified the design of desks for the BMA council chamber that had created a hole in the budget and damaged the programme.

When the only option left to keep on programme was longer working days and weekend working, Lee carefully managed his resources to maintain quality. He himself worked long and hard, directing operations during many busy weekends.


Name: Kieran Gardiner ACIOB

Position: Senior construction manager, Urban Splash

Project: Midland Hotel, Morecambe: restoration of Grade II*-listed building, completed in 156 weeks

Value: £12.9m

Contract: Management

Renovation projects are notorious for encountering unforeseen problems. But on Kieran Gardiner’s scheme, a restoration of an iconic Art Deco hotel that had lain derelict for nine years, it wasn’t just the construction strategy but the client’s intentions that fell foul of some very nasty surprises.

The client planned to complete the shell and core works before undertaking the fit-out to the future operator’s specification. However, after failing to attract a hotel chain the client, which was also acting as the contractor, decided it would need to operate the hotel itself.
In the ensuing nine-month design review, Gardiner lobbied hard for the project not to be shut down during this time. Pointing out that a shutdown could lead to yet another false dawn for the hotel, he won the argument. The project remained live, with Gardiner identifying areas of works that could continue without incurring extra costs or affecting the sequencing.

Even before the fit-out began, Gardiner had shown exceptional ability. He pushed the project through the delays and additional costs that resulted from the discovery of asbestos in the original specialist wall coatings, and maintained project progress despite constant design and layout reviews. As the situation became more complex, with the decision to replace rather than repair significant elements, he tirelessly co-ordinated the works and related trades.

He also fought hard to rein back the extra building costs linked to the discovery of concealed asbestos and poor-quality original work, such as unbonded hollow clay block partition walls. Gardiner’s ability to offset these costs by respecifying other areas of the works was crucial in keeping the budget under control.


Name: Gavin Davis

Position: Project manager, Wates Construction

Project: Sunrise Knowle, Solihull: construction of two three-storey care homes, completed in 62 weeks

Value: £16m

Contract: JCT 2005

Having successfully completed another Sunrise project, Gavin Davis was the obvious choice for this one. But this second project was always going to be a much trickier affair.

It was the biggest Sunrise development yet, with 114 rooms in total, and the first to be split into two separate buildings, each with its own communal areas. With the typical 80-room Sunrise project taking around 62 weeks to build, Davis put forward an ambitious programme schedule of just 63 weeks.

He then established a clear strategy, based on treating the buildings as two separate sites, and set precise team accountabilities. Having worked with the design team before, he was particularly successful in promoting a partnering approach with an ethos of continuous improvement. He extended the collaborative culture to the subcontractors, working hard to build up trusted relationships at the workface.

He created a close-knit team of designers, subcontractors and suppliers that consistently delivered against tough targets. Members of the design team were able to talk openly with the subcontractors and trust their advice.

Davis met all the problems head-on. For example, during the steel erection phase, a decision was made to change the formation of the gables so they were no longer flush but jutted 600mm out from the rest of the elevation. Whereas the structural engineering solution was for time-consuming steelwork, Davis made the most of his good relationships with the steel erection and carpen try supply chain to propose a programme lifesaver: a timber solution that could be implemented after the frame had been erected.

His ability to push through the build while maintaining the quality was noted by the client. Two months before practical completion, he was asked to achieve early completion.
By concentrating resources and continued careful planning, he delivered the project four days early, a remarkable achievement in any context, but particularly impressive given the worst snow for 20 years in the weeks leading up to it.


Name: Steve Leese MCIOB

Position: Project manager, Inspace Partnerships

Project: Church Road phase 4, London NW10: construction of 81 flats and 62 houses, completed in 116 weeks

Value: £14.1m

Contract: PPC 2000

What marks steve leese out as an outstanding construction manager is his ability to see things from a user’s perspective and to take personal responsibility for the entire project.
The good relations he developed with the residents on this five-phase regeneration scheme offered them reassurance and created an atmosphere of trust and respect.

And when things went wrong, as they did one evening when the gas supply to residents on the estate was accidentally cut, Leese put their needs first. He ensured that electric heaters were distributed and visited residents’ homes himself until the problem had been fully resolved. He also communicated extensively with the community, mentoring local people employed as site apprentices and organising a football championship for local youths.
Respecting the tenants’ desire for a traditional build, Leese had limited opportunities for value engineering. However, initiatives such as replacing copper plumbing with plastic and the benefits of early handover allowed him to return more than £100,000 in savings to the client at the end of the project.

He recovered from the major initial headache of unmapped water mains in the area, which delayed the first handovers by a month, and he ultimately delivered the project four weeks early.

The effort Leese put into building good relationships with the statutory authorities paid off and helped him to incorporate a late design change to replace gas central heating with electricity in one block.

He paid rigorous attention to quality, drafting an 11-point checklist for each subcontractor milestone as well as first and second fix. He backed that up with stringent joint quality inspections before handover, resulting in limited defects.


Name: Shaun Hodgkin

Position: Project manager, Kier Marriott

Project: Stowe School Boarding Houses, Buckinghamshire: construction of 78 student bedrooms, completed in 40 weeks

Value: £3.5m

Contract: JCT 2005

Arriving midway through the first phase of this scheme after the client had dismissed the main contractor, Shaun Hodgkin was faced with a deteriorating project and fractured relationships. The workmanship had been poor, the subcontractors hadn’t been fully paid, and the programme had slipped so badly that it had thrown into doubt the official opening of the first of the two linked buildings by the Queen. But one thing on the project was for sure: the client was very unhappy.

The effect of Hodgkin’s arrival was instant. Before starting onsite, he organised regular meetings with the key specialists retained from the previous contractor to ensure continuity in finish and detail, working hard to revitalise them. His open and honest approach, combined with a no-blame culture, turned attitudes around.

He re-energised the team and lifted the project’s negative atmosphere. Confident and determined, he drew up a target programme and generated an air of positivity that remotivated the team.

Hodgkin’s completion of the first phase on time gave the client the confidence to award him the second phase. Through hard work and commitment, and his ability to get the same out of the rest of the team, Hodgkin brought a significant improvement on phase one. Despite prolonged bad weather, he completed on schedule, neither requesting nor needing extensions of time. Design detailing improved dramatically, with workmanship of the highest standards, and buildability issues were efficiently addressed.

Hodgkin quickly gave a disillusioned client the confidence that the project would be delivered to the quality it wanted and to the programme it needed. As the client ultimately conceded: “Shaun has demonstrated that the construction industry does contain successful, client-focused, results-driven individuals.”


Name: John Lyne

Position: Senior project manager, Leadbitter

Project: North Hants Hospital Keyworker Accommodation: construction of 88 four-bedroom cluster flats, completed in 108 weeks

Value: £11.1m

Contract: JCT 1998

By taking a refreshingly open, can-do attitude to site issues, John Lyne earned the admiration of the client and the construction team and speedily managed out project risk.
His efficiency and drive prevented delays on repeated occasions. The most critical instance was when 96 en suite bedrooms were ready for occupation, but BT could not install the infrastructure to allow the off-site monitoring of the fire alarms. Lyne averted a three-month delay in occupancy by having a security guard, equipped with a mobile phone to provide the link to outside, monitor the fire alarm panel overnight.

He led by example, ensuring all staff understood where they fitted into the team and the importance of their work to overall project progress.

The key factor in planning and scheduling was the erection of the timber frame, accomplished by mobile cranes. Rather than accepting the usual practice of driving the cranes on and off site every day, with the consequent loss of an hour or two of production time in mobilising and dismantling them, Lyne had the insurance documentation adjusted so they could remain on site overnight. It boosted production, reduced vehicle movements and didn’t even cost any more.

He proposed value-engineering initiatives that gained time and simplified logistics. He had the demolition waste crushed and graded, reusing it on site to save some 2,000 vehicle journeys in materials deliveries and muckaway.

And Lyne intelligently closed out the delay risk by putting a precise aluminium cladding envelope around an imprecise timber frame. He did so by oversizing the structural timber window openings so that windows positioned by cladding panels would slip easily into the timber-framed openings every time.

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