Name: Andy Lee, Kier Wallis
Employer: British Medical Association Refurbishment
Project: Tavistock Square
Contract: JCT 2005
Two months in and this project had already lost its first two site managers. But with confidence in the contractor draining away from the disconcerted client, the arrival of Andy Lee soon provided welcome reassurance.
He addressed the understandably strained relations with the client by straightaway adopting an approach of honesty and regular communications. He remained approachable, cheerful and helpful despite what must have been unbearable pressure at times. He frequently made last minute alterations to accommodate the client’s needs in its continued operation from the live building, even suspending noisy site works altogether on occasions.
He supported the client’s position when the council planning department’s protracted consideration of resubmitted details, prompted by a design change, prevented work progressing in a key area. It was a frustrating wait, but one that prevented a planning breach compromising the client.
Andy divided the project into three areas, empowering the separate teams with responsibility for delivering them. He held informal half-hour catch-up meetings every day to keep everyone aware of progress, and formal meetings once a week.
And each time the building threw up its own many surprises, he rapidly reprogrammed to minimise the disruption, often shifting operations from one part of the building to another to maintain programme momentum. The unexpected discovery of steel columns encased in brickwork walls destined for demolition was a particularly heavy blow, but Andy recovered magnificently. His clever resequencing of the hastily revised programme lopped four weeks off the 12-week extension of time granted to deal with it.
His value management and buildability input brought constant gains. A joiner by trade, Andy simplified the design of desks for the council chamber that had been holing the budget and damaging the programme. Likewise, he streamlined the chamber’s ceiling detail to cut costs and maintain programme.
And when the only option left to keep on programme was to commit to longer working days and weekend working, Andy carefully managed his resources onsite to maintain quality. He himself worked long and hard, directing operations during many of those busy weekends.