Technical

CMYA 2021 – Schools under £20m

GOLD: James Wood MCIOB – Morgan Sindall Construction

Project: Vandyke Upper School, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
Scope: Construction of three-storey teaching block and remodelling and refurbishment of existing school, completed in 33 weeks
Client: Vandyke Upper School
Contract: JCT, design and build
Value: £11m

This three-storey new-build project demanded a fearsomely fast construction programme to open in time for the new academic year. James Wood met it by turning to modular construction to achieve a 20-week improvement compared to a traditional build. By splitting the erection sequence for the 87 modules into two complete halves, he was able to start external critical path works earlier.

Other finalists

Andy Barlow MCIOB  Skanska, Kingsweston SEN School, Bristol
Finlay Black MCIOB  Robertson Construction (Northern), Merkinch Primary School & Family Centre, Inverness
Nigel Hayes  Kier Construction, Treorchy Comprehensive School, Phase 3B
Wayne Stokes  Stepnell, The Cornerstone Academy, Poole
Mark Turner  Willmott Dixon, Hornchurch High School, Essex

James worked closely with the modules supplier to tailor the factory work processes so that risks associated with installations could be minimised. He also sent at least two team members to the factory every week to witness quality assurance processes.

James made major time gains in the new build’s ground by using the existing stone surface for the piling mat. Likewise, he tweaked site levels for four netball courts, eliminating hundreds of muck-away lorry movements, and changed the position of the attenuation tank to enable installation early in the programme.

On a super-tight programme, James delivered on time – handing over the new build fully commissioned and snag-free on the Friday, with students starting classes the following Monday – and to a standard that matched the client’s high expectations.


SILVER: Andy Mitchell MCIOB – Willmott Dixon

Project: Ropemakers’ Academy, Hailsham, East Sussex
Scope: Construction of two-storey school, completed in 66 weeks
Client: East Sussex County Council
Contract: JCT 2016, design and build
Value: £13m

On a difficult site, Andy Mitchell meticulously planned a fine success. He visualised the entire build in his head – from the piled foundations and concrete raft to the steel frame, composite floors, single-ply roof and brick cladding.

He engaged the supply chain with collaborative leadership and had thoroughly detailed the design before even getting to site. Changes to groundworks, drainage, roof details and swapping an in-situ concrete staircase for a precast one were some measures that improved the ease of build.

The project finished two weeks early, delivering budget savings and a level of quality that delighted the client.

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