Name: Paul Nash
Employer: Leadbitter Group
Project: Aardman Animations Headquarters, Bristol
Contract: JCT 2005
Virtually every wall and walkway is angled or symmetrical. There’s a 48-seat state-of-the-art cinema, an artist-designed staircase, natural ventilation, a grass roof and a wildflower lawn. The external cladding ranges from panels of sweet chestnut and larch to bronze sheets and handmade white-glazed blocks imported from Wyoming. In short, no single aspect of this building is ordinary, and it took an equally exceptional construction manager to deliver it.
Paul Nash brought the brimming confidence, the vast experience and the enormous practicality that turned the concept architect’s ambitious designs into stunning reality. The tangible feel of quality and unbending attention to detail comes from Paul’s ability to focus the entire team’s creativity and expertise.
He put faith in the supply chain and the experience of his team to spot potential problems and devise solutions. And his buildability input was second to none. The walkways, for example, were designed to sit on cantilever brackets bolted to the frame, but the team determined that the specified bolts were inadequate. Paul’s solution was to incorporate self-supporting brackets shaped to fit over the concrete upstand, with the bolts fitted to maintain the design.
And with some of the more unique elements, he stepped in to make live adjustments onsite. When the two sections of the flexible glulam staircase were about to be fitted, it transpired that the bolts to attach them to the floor − the holes for which had to be drilled with the staircase in place − were too small. Paul sent a team member off to a local motorbike supplier to get high-tensile bolts that would do the job.
He continually consulted with the client and built a fantastic relationship. It undoubtedly profited from his constant search to add value to the project. Uncomfortable with delivering the cinema fit-out post-contract, for example, he went through the programme again and realised that by installing the risers early it would allow the IT services to go in, which in turn allowed the building to be delivered complete, on time and on budget.