Name: Darren Pettitt
Employer: McLaren Construction
Project: City of Westminster College, London W2
Of all the many disasters that can make the construction manager’s job such a bed of nails, there can be few so catastrophic as that which befell Darren Pettitt: his employer, Verry Construction, went bust with the construction works already under way.
Young, highly skilled and with a belief that good communications and a no-blame culture could overcome all challenges, Darren had made collaborative partnering the key theme in selecting the management team and supply chain. He had created a team with integrity and a clear understanding of their individual roles, empowered to make decisions, focus on delivering a high-quality building on time and to budget, and to enjoy doing so.
He had created sustainable value with workshops that reviewed all options and an incentive programme for the savings achieved. When it had become clear that the original power supply would not be able to meet the daily demand, he championed a CHP plant, which increased capital costs by £500k but lowered annual running costs by £70k.
In fact, it had all been going so well that the client was determined to keep him despite Verry’s demise. A major factor in awarding the unfinished project to McLaren was that it wanted to take Darren on as project leader.
Darren maintained the structure of the management team (made redundant while contractors competed to win the job) to ensure continuity for the client. His keen relationship building was also successful in renewing the collaboration and enthusiasm of a supply chain initially demoralised at the loss of Verry.
Despite the delays caused by the appointment of a new contractor, along with undertaking 130 client variations (with individual values as high as £700k), Darren still achieved the key handover date in time for the client’s academic term start. Given his quality control strategy, which did more than just conform to the client’s requirements, this was a superb achievement.