CMYA 2021 – Schools over £20m

GOLD: Fergus Brown MCIOB – Heron Bros

Project: Early Years Expansion 2020, East Renfrewshire
Scope: Construction of five 120-place nursery schools, completed in 76 weeks
Client: East Renfrewshire Council
Contract: JCT, design and build
Value: £22m

With six successful projects for the client already under his belt, Fergus Brown won the tender for this one – five nursery schools at different sites – by challenging the piling assumption. He identified that precast concrete-driven piles for the Eaglesham scheme would be noisy and disruptive, suggesting quieter vibro compaction instead.

Other finalists

Roderick Graham MCIOB  Kier Construction, Ponteland Schools & Leisure
James Gray MCIOB  BAM Construction, School of Science and Technology, Maidstone
Ben Harvey MCIOB  Willmott Dixon, St Nicholas SEN School, Wiltshire
Martin Horton MCIOB  VINCI Construction UK, King’s School, Macclesfield
Dale Parker MCIOB  Willmott Dixon, Green School for Boys, Hounslow
David Tomlin MCIOB  Kier Construction, Regional Building Eastern, Katherine Warington School, Harpenden

Staggering the start date of each project by two weeks meant he could be on site for each of the initial site setups and lessons learned could be cascaded through. The result was minimal defects at practical completion.

He repeatedly shrank time, cost and risk. He overcame storm water discharge problems at three of the sites and substituted a dry stack with a geogrid retaining wall in place of a bulky brick retaining wall at two of the schools, cutting cost, time and earthworks.

On a project that involved the concurrent delivery of five buildings on five sites, the complexity and challenge were high. Fergus’s leadership of a 34-strong professional team including five site managers, five engineers and five foremen – not to mention five head teachers – demonstrated an open, collaborative and determined ethos that again brought success with his seventh project for the client.

SILVER: Lianne Lawson – Willmott Dixon

Project: Dixons Trinity, Chapeltown, Leeds
Scope: Construction of combined 420-place primary and 560-place secondary school, completed in 64 weeks
Client: Department for Education
Contract: JCT bespoke design and build
Value: £22m

Lianne Lawson’s determination and inspiration on a school scheme with myriad stakeholders was rewarded with early completion, a 10/10 quality score from the client, and an elated end user.

Probably the biggest change headache of all came from the last-minute instruction to include a bridge across the A58, which separated the school’s car park from its main building. She found the extra cost within the existing budget by value-engineering the foundations, changing the steel erection sequencing and rethinking an extensive cut and fill operation.

The client has awarded her another school project following her success on this one.

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