Name: Alan Blewett MCIOB
Employer: Laing O'Rourke
Project: Mint Hotel, London, EC3
Alan Blewett gave a masterclass in 21st century building techniques with this project. His use of cutting-edge frame construction, a modularised envelope and preassembled finishes brought in the 583-bed hotel three weeks ahead of schedule, saved £4m, and delivered an exceptional quality of finish.
Value engineering and buildability were key, and Alan exploited his long industry career to provide them. His frame, pod and cladding innovations cut some 10 weeks from the tender programme.
He changed the in situ tunnelform concrete frame to twin wall and lattice floor slabs with structural topping to make programme gains. He had the guest bathrooms manufactured as pods and installed fully equipped, aligning their delivery to site with progress on the concrete frame.
Likewise the cladding panels were made offsite and delivered to site incorporating Jura limestone mullions, spandrel panels, windows and zinc rainscreen cladding. By designing each panel with a halved joint to overlap the adjoining panel, Alan also eliminated the need for external access.
He captured further programme gains and even bigger savings by his alert challenging of the building’s key sustainability features. Instead of digging discrete 100m-deep boreholes for the ground source heat pumps, as originally envisaged, he incorporated the pipework within the structural rotary piles.
And he slashed from 15 months to six the lead-in time for the huge ‘green wall’ that wraps around the building’s top three storeys and runs from the second storey to the top of one elevation. Instead of planting in boxes at intervals, he planted modules positioned more closely together; the plants therefore required less growth to achieve coverage, and so could be grown much faster and cheaper.