Name: Gary Gibson MCIOB
Employer: Colorado Group
Project: Starlaw Distillery, West Lothian
In the complex but comparatively small world of distillery construction, Gary Gibson is a very big fish. He was approached for this project by the client, having innovatively re-engineered warehouse layouts to gain an extra 30% storage space for the company on a previous job.
This time round, Gary’s success in constructing the buildings for a £35m plant lay in a brilliant interfacing of a very large number of construction packages – earthworks, piling, drainage, ground slabs, structural steelwork – and co-ordinating the plant specialists. He confidently identified an unpromising location as the site, and then proceeded to resolve the substantial planning, earthworks, discharge and services challenges with flair.
He offered the flexibility and trust essential to accommodate the different styles of 22 specialist contractors from Spain, Germany and Italy. He held back on the final design for as long as possible until the process design had been fixed so that he could constantly fine-tune the works to maximise efficiency, reduce cost and prevent rework.
For example, he built the process building on a raft with finished floors laid to falls to act as a rainscreen for the in situ fermentation tank fabrication, and then saved £120k in epoxy floor coverings by protecting the finished floor until completion. He helped design a silo base that allowed the use of polystyrene formwork. And his championing of site bunding allowed clean earth to remain onsite, saving £1.1m in disposal costs.
His resulting delivery of the distillery 30% cheaper than projected has, not surprisingly, led to approaches from other distillers in search of the secrets of building such a complex plant in so short a time.