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Construction Manager of the Year Awards 2019 - Leisure

20 September 2019

GOLD: Nick Preedy MCIOB, construction manager, Willmott Dixon Construction

Project: Sports and Wellness Hub, University of Warwick
Scope: Construction of 1,550 sq m leisure centre
Programme: 86 weeks
Client: University of Warwick
Contract: NEC 3
Value: £37m

Nick Preedy’s testing technical challenges on this Coventry leisure centre included installing a 17m-high climbing wall, coordinating a large steel frame, managing complex roof interfaces with three different products and seven different levels.

He had to lay five different types of gym flooring to allow for varying activities while maintaining the visual cohesion of the whole floor, and build a 25m-long 12-lane swimming pool 5m above ground.

Preedy redesigned the groundworks to get the cut and fill balance right. Although his design involved moving 40,000 cu m of material, repositioning a precast retaining wall with no impact on internal spatial sizing resulted in zero waste leaving the site and saved £1m.

With the contract sum still £250,000 over budget, he substituted a more cost-effective solution for the original design of steel-supported precast planks on the upper floors. Changing the floors to metal decking meant adding extra support beams but the total weight reduction allowed for a lighter frame. It also speeded up the steel erection, which was completed five weeks earlier than estimated.

SILVER: Oliver Caunt MCIOB, construction manager, Willmott Dixon Construction

Project: Village Urban Resort, Bristol
Scope: Construction of five-storey, 153-bedroom hotel and leisure club
Programme: 63 weeks
Client: Village Hotel Club
Contract: JCT D&B
Value: £21m

On this hotel project, Oliver Caunt faced a squeezed programme, when the client asked for a two-week reduction so it could open the gym, while another six weeks were lost to bad weather, where high winds imposed 186 hours of crane downtime.

Caunt raised plot productivity by driving efficiencies between trades. He ditched the spray-on plaster finishes for the bedroom walls, which would have sealed off 15 bedrooms at a time from other trades, opting for a traditional plaster skim instead. This opened up more workspaces for other trades.

Other innovation and engineered value included switching from a partly prefabricated plant room to full prefabrication, a move which took eight weeks off the installation time and improved quality.

When some of the client’s fit-out trades missed their well-flagged slot, Caunt stood his ground, putting their task on hold so other trades could take up their own scheduled slot. Those who missed their window were allowed to return to the site and complete their works during a “relief period” each night. Caunt delivered the project on time and defect-free.

Other finalists

Michael Deeming MCIOB, Galliford Try, Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre, Birmingham
Mark McCormick MCIOB, McAleer & Rushe, Newgate Court, Student Accommodation and Maldron Hotel, Newcastle
Paul Murray MCIOB, McAleer & Rushe, The Dixon Hotel, London
Stephen Neeson, McAleer & Rushe, Premier Inn, Wembley Stadium
Mark Tregelles MCIOB, Beard Construction, Emily Garden Museum, Castle Cary

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