Me and My Project: Mike Smith MCIOB

12 July 2017

Mike Smith FCIOB, managing director of Corniche Builders, on a church project with groundwork and financing issues.

Chartered Building Company Corniche Builders recently carried out a renovation of an ecclesiastical site: the restoration of St Johns Church Hall in Redhill, Surrey.

It was a project that had been conceived a long while before it went on site with the project architect Thomas Ford & Partners.

It was an unusual project for Corniche, says Mike Smith FCIOB (and CIOB trustee). “The project was the pinnacle of our estimator’s skills in that he had never tendered for a complete new build for a church project.

“It comprised a single storey traditional church hall adjacent to the original church built in 1840 by John Loughborough Pearson RA, a Gothic Revival architect. The works were tender on a traditional Bill of Quantities by Synergy LLP and awarded after interview.”

Every project presents challenges but not too many involve digging in a graveyard to 4m for a waterproof basement, as well as an archaeological dig during the build and re-interment of graves for remains post-1915.

Less gruesome problems included dealing with a client with incomplete funding to complete the fit-out, and a design change to incorporate an additional floor within the programme. “It posed a real test of collaborative working with non-adversarial approach, but that is the way we work,” says Smith.

The build was a basement, part steel frame/load bearing masonry, insitu concrete (the basement is a box) and timber floors, traditional cut roof all wrapped in traditional stone with flint and lime infill.

The windows are metal with antique glass (both single and double glazed). Services have been brought in ready and opening made for lift but stair installed.

The project was run on site by John Long with Anna Bataille as construction project manager with a team of direct employees and subcontractors.

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