Name: Chris Edwards
Employer: BAM Construction
Project: C4.1 South Fifth Street, Milton Keynes
Contract: JCT 1998
With over 400 high-spec apartments and the biggest Sainsbury store in Europe to build, Chris Edwards faced the biggest challenge of his life. He had to achieve 16 sectional handovers, including early occupation of the 14 apartment blocks, within a 12-month period, while meeting the retailer’s rigid timetable for relocating its existing store.
Chris took immediate control of the methodology and made the crucial decision to change the construction plan. Instead of building the scheme in tiered layers, as originally envisaged, he adopted a vertical approach. By sequentially constructing sections of the foundations, car park, store and apartment blocks, he was able to begin the fit-out earlier, and take advantage of the maximum storage capacity on a cramped city centre site and bring in mobile craneage to supplement the tower cranes.
He devised and delivered a strategy that integrated a complex series of works packages to meet the demanding schedule. It allowed him to hand over the superstore five weeks early and the car park 10 weeks early. With cashflow an important issue for the client, this satisfied a key objective at a very early stage.
Chris identified the need for specialist subcontractors and offsite manufacture. He took the opportunity to use system-formed walling for the lightweight upper cladding of the residential blocks. And his procurement of bathroom pods made offsite brought big gains in materials handling, onsite labour and quality. His excellent co-ordination of the design, supplier management, offsite quality checks and strict delivery regime ensured that the 670 pods arrived in time for installation before the floors were screeded.
Throughout the job, he remained the client’s best friend. He incorporated 180 significant client-led changes with a total value of nearly £7m. And right at the start, after thoroughly sifting every value-engineering option available and still coming up short, he agreed to twin-track the tendered scheme and a value-added enhanced version while the latter was being developed.
The design and procurement difficulties this caused were immense. Chris had to ensure that the foundations under way could accommodate the extra structure, that the taller buildings would meet fire and building control requirements, that the supply chain would be ready to raise its output when instructed, and so on. But in successfully surmounting the problems, he delivered the key to project success, risk minimisation and efficient site operations.