CMYA Finalist

Employer: Sir Robert McAlpine

Project: Platinum Mall, Gateshead

Value: £4.68m

Having worked on various Gateshead MetroCentre contracts for seven years before leading this thoroughgoing makeover on its main mall, Andy Oliver knew precisely what the client was looking for – and delivered it.

Given the scale of the job – replacing all the two-storey structure’s finishes with GRG ceilings, Corian column casings, limestone flooring, pewter resin feature framing, glazed balustrades, and more – Andrew made the key decision to build a mock-up of the proposed mall above a live shop. Why was it so crucial? Well, there were the expected reasons: its construction gave him and his team a better understanding of the dust control required, the complexities of the materials, achieving the fine tolerances required and simplifying the installation. But it also furnished some unexpected conclusions, including the identification of budget and programme savings by streamlining the detailing of the balustrade connection with the existing structure, and the decision to switch to alternative subcontractors for the main works.

Having learned some valuable lessons, Andy then proceeded with confidence and despatch. The project challenges included working by night, with that night made shorter by extended Christmas trading hours, and no site storage forcing materials and plant to be moved to the workface at the start of every nightshift (through a restrictive roller shutter 250m away from the scheme) and completely removed at the end. Add to all that the live services in a still operational mall, the need to ensure a completely clean mall for the start of trading every day, and carrying out all the works from MEWPs with multiple trades in a restricted area, and you get some idea of the difficulty. Andy’s zero-defect high-quality delivery has been impressive enough to persuade the client to look at extending the refurb to the other malls in the centre.

What Andrew Oliver brought to this project to replace all the finishes in a live two-storey mall was accuracy, enthusiasm and attention to detail. His willingness to collaborate and his strength of leadership drew the best from all parties and created the one-team approach needed to tackle the many complexities. His zero-defect high-quality delivery has been so impressive that the client is now looking at extending the refurb to the other malls in the centre.