Allan Cameron’s calm and measured management style was key in delivering this colossal 1,000,000sqft office development.
Six years and half of Allan Cameron’s working life were spent building 1,000,000sqft of office space for this mammoth project. Its colossal scale demanded from him an extraordinary level of communication with the client, the 150 designers, a swarm of consultants, 200 trade contractors, thousands of site operatives and his own 100-strong management team. Allan developed a range of styles to reach all of these audiences effectively.
But what astounds most of all is the sheer number of ‘never been done befores’ that he delivered without the cost overruns, delays and legal claims that can dog the most ambitious construction projects. His successful innovations included such tours de force as a bronze-clad steel ramp spiralling through the floorplates, folded aluminium petalled ceiling panels with integrated services (heating, cooling, lighting and acoustics), timber floors magnet-backed onto traditional raised floor tiles, and hollow bronze fins on the facade to naturally ventilate the building.
Allan even found a technical solution for a scenic lift that consisted of 18 glazed lift cars in a shaft open to both external facade and internal floorplate, with no cables attached to the car roofs, and surrounded by bronze and stone cladding to conceal the lift workings. Another solution was his delivery of high-quality fair-faced finishes for a four-level-deep concrete box in the basement for a new London Underground station, using powerful concrete admixtures to prevent water leaking in from the Thames.
To give an idea of how he made all this cutting-edge innovation work, consider that spiral ramp. Because of the lead-in period, the manufacture of its bronze cladding had to start months before an as-built survey of the ramp could be undertaken. The survey revealed a host of potential clashes for the as-designed position of the cladding because of the differential building movements and deflections.
Allan worked with the architects to agree a line of best fit for the already manufactured cladding. Then, using setting-out instrumentation from the space industry, he positioned the cladding’s hanging brackets to a tolerance of 0.001mm. By doing this, he avoided the need to cut and amend the steel structure, giving a substantial programme saving.
Eight different facade types with a combined package value of £190m, over 6,000 change requests/instructions worth £120m, a restored Roman temple in the basement, 106 work packages to be signed off as complete before the project could be handed over – Allan’s project numbers are mind-boggling. It makes his ability to deliver stupendous quality and budget control to a thrilled client even more laudable.
He pushed all the boundaries of construction, innovation, quality and sustainability. He even helped develop an early warning process that was so successful it has subsequently been rolled out across the company. His competence, coordination and communication were excellent on what was an exceptional project.