Name: Hamish James MCIOB
Employer: Sir Robert McAlpine
Project: Buildings 005, 014, 016, Porton Down, Salisbury
Contract: Design and build
Slap bang in the middle of nowhere, and so security-conscious that MoD experts had to be present during construction to ensure covert listening devices were not hidden within the structure as work proceeded, this project was anything but straightforward. Hamish James responded admirably to the unusual challenge.
Undaunted by the discovery of both live and spent ordnance on the site, which was right in the middle of a large operational campus, he ensured all excavator banksmen were trained to identify threats and take the agreed emergency response. It was indicative of his highly proactive approach to offering solutions that allowed the project to progress while minimising delay on a very limited and tight programme.
An impressive leader, focused on outcomes, Hamish brought to the project a close and engaging manner that helped build a truly collaborative relationship with the architect. Ultimately counterproductive for quality, adversarial situations have been the downfall of many a project, but Hamish discussed solutions to problems openly and readily with the design team. It all helped achieve compromises that were decisive yet friendly.
By consciously viewing issues from the client’s perspective, he ensured that areas of concern were resolved to the client’s satisfaction. When the project was faced with complex design challenges, he insisted on a solutions not problems mentality. And while he took a fair but firm approach to subcontractors, he also made sure that they were looked after, and so maximised the performance of the supply chain.
Hamish clearly defined the changing role of all individuals throughout the project. His introduction and regular updating of a staff responsibilities matrix has since been adopted by other Sir Robert McAlpine projects.