Name: Kevin O'Brien
Employer: Leadbitter Group
Project: Earlsdon Park, Coventry
Twelve weeks into the 57-week programme, Kevin O’Brien, new to the company, arrived on this project to remodel a three-storey Art Deco college as offices and, with the construction of an extra storey, a hotel. He found a dismaying prospect.
The programme was seven weeks in arrears, floor plans had not been frozen, little had been done to get the M&E ball rolling, and there was no co-ordination between design, procurement and construction. Even worse, client relations had become tense as negotiations on significant design alterations for the hotel had stagnated.
Kevin took decisive charge. He took steps to ensure the fragmented team were singing from the same project songbook. He reprogrammed, linking in the design procurement. And he held a series of meetings with the client and design team to pull the project back from the brink.
With so much time already lost, he determined to build the new storey using a modular approach, with fully complete room modules, cassette walls and a roof sitting on a steel grillage. He also persuaded an initially reluctant tenant to use finished bathroom pods in all 100 hotel bedrooms on both the existing second storey and the new third floor.
Assertive and motivational, he then swept his way through the programme. He redeemed his quality promises by a rigorous set of benchmark inspections of a finished room at the factory, an installed bathroom pod and a finished second-floor room. The final snagging list was minimal and the hotel operator has since become a convert to pod and mod construction.
His powerful, effective project leadership rebuilt the relationship with the client and the hotel tenant. The new trust engendered is clear from his convincing the hotel to spend money on refurbishing the badly deteriorated Art Deco stained glass laylight in the atrium roof as a way to add real value to the building.