CMYA Finalist

Employer: Berkeley Homes (East Thames) Limited

Project: Duncombe House, Royal Arsenal Riverside

Having worked on multiple phases of the Royal Arsenal Riverside development, Alan McGinley has got residential tower construction down to something of a fine art. But on this phase, for a 20-storey tower with ground-floor commercial, he found himself caught between a rock and a hard place logistically. There was a Crossrail station under construction on one boundary with 24/7 access rights through his site, a major six-lane road on another boundary, and the London City airport flight path overhead.

Having worked on multiple phases of the Royal Arsenal Riverside development, Alan McGinley has got residential tower construction down to something of a fine art. But on this phase, for a 20-storey tower with ground-floor commercial, he found himself caught between a rock and a hard place logistically. There was a Crossrail station under construction on one boundary with 24/7 access rights through his site, a major six-lane road on another boundary, and the London City airport flight path overhead.

These public interfaces on a tight site demanded determined management input. Take just one example: the removal of the site tower crane when the job completed. It took Alan 19 months of engagement with two councils, TfL, London Buses, the Highways Agency and the airport to agree a date, which required shutting four lanes of the A road and diverting 20 bus routes for three days, as well as mapping London City’s airspace back to its position before the crane went up; there were even three backup dates in case something went wrong. Something did go wrong. Exceptionally high winds forced the cancellation of every one of those four hard-negotiated dates, and Alan needed all his skills of persuasion to get speedy agreement to a new crane-out time.

Even though the Woolwich development builds have been engineered over the years to pretty well peak efficiency, Alan still managed to find a little more room for improvement on this scheme. His drylining package switch saved nearly £100,000, but even more notable was his development and roll-out of a dust-extraction air bench. He added extra filters to the AirBench used in the paint industry to capture the dust from timber and MDF cutting on site, made it small enough to fit through apartment doors, and fitted it with lockable castors for easy manoeuvrability.