Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

Insight

Construction Manager of the Year Awards 2020: Schools

4 January 2021

Photo: Adam Davies

  • Gold winner: Andrew Miles MCIOB
  • Kier Construction
  • Project: Croesyceiliog School, Cwmbran, Wales
  • Scope: Construction of three-storey replacement school, completed in 92 weeks
  • Client: Torfaen County Borough Council
  • Contract: NEC 3 option A
  • Value: £29m

Andrew Miles only found out deep into preconstruction that Croesyceiliog School would be GCSE-only, rather than catering for A-levels as well, meaning he had to review the design and pull back 10 lost weeks of programme.

A further complication during construction was the decision to keep an existing school block on the site for A-level students until completion of a post-16 college.

Miles realigned the enabling works with the main works and moved works off the critical path to allow the cut and fill to plateau and piling mats to be formed early. He redesigned the car park, access, fencing and services, and saved costs by using a shallower foundation solution and rationalising the drainage design, which reduced excavation work and concrete volumes. 

He avoided removal of 13,000 cu m of waste by raising the level of the football pitch, by soil-stabilising the ground so it could be used in the substructure and piling mats, and by introducing a swale to downsize attenuation crate volumes. 

His cost savings exceeded £400,000 – enough to protect the budget – and the project was delivered six weeks early.

  • Silver winner: Graham Thompson MCIOB
  • Willmott Dixon
  • Project: Harris Academy Sutton, Surrey
  • Scope: Construction of four-storey Passivhaus school, completed in 89 weeks
  • Client: London Borough of Sutton
  • Contract: JCT D&B 2016
  • Value: £38m

Harris Academy is the biggest school in Europe – and first UK secondary school – built to the Passivhaus standard and Graham Thompson led a collaborative effort with architects, engineers, client and end-users to embrace the demanding quality required. 

He built a full-size mock-up of a section of the building, testing it ahead of the programme to reduce risk, and to agree quality standards and benchmarking. This was the key to the exceptionally airtight envelope requirement of no more than 0.6 air changes per hour. 

When issues including drainage design, bad weather and a factory breakdown took a 10-week bite out of the programme, Thompson changed the sequencing, completing the wings of the building first and temporarily waterproofing the roof and facade so the internal finishes could be brought forward to recover lost time.

Other finalists: 

John Blundell MCIOB
TJ Evers, Teaching Block & Amphitheatre, Dame Alice Owen’s School, Potters Bar

Daniel Morrish MCIOB
Morgan Sindall Construction, Lexden Springs School, Colchester

Mark Prince
Eric Wright Construction, Queen Elizabeth Studio School, Kirkby Lonsdale

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