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Gold winner

Employer: Willmott Dixon Construction

Project: Woodmansterne School, Lambeth

Delivering this new-build block eight weeks early, 10% faster than the contractor’s benchmark, defect-free and with a very young team is Andy Pritchard’s proud achievement. Along the way, he delighted stakeholders and offered the client great value for money.

It was a triumph in sharp contrast to the user experience of the replacement primary school that had just been constructed on the site as the first step in the creation of a large all-through school. The primary had been handed over two years behind schedule, with the ever expanding school roll squeezed into temporary accommodation and stakeholders viewing Andy’s secondary-school scheme with understandable trepidation.

He aced it. He split the programme into seven sectional completions to give the user an early phased escape from the existing heavily squeezed space. Every sectional completion was achieved on time or early and all were defect-free.

His well-considered temporary waterproofing strategy allowed the internal works to get going early. The drylining had been done and the M&E installed on the ground floor by the time the concrete was being poured for the fourth-floor roof.

Even more time was gained by his redesign of the concrete frame to introduce precast columns, twin wall and staircase. His use of roll-out reinforcement mesh for the slab reduced the number of steel fixers needed from 10 to 2 and further shrank the programme.

The sheer youth of his team – at 33, Andy was the eldest – was turned into an advantage. He had them all visit every single regional Willmott Dixon site to borrow the best ideas – and improve on them. It’s where the project’s plot production method came from: normally only used in hotels and housing with a small number of room types, it involves a sequential list of items by trade, room by room, as the job progresses. On Andy’s project, it allowed errors made by trades to be identified before they spread throughout the works, and enabled trades to work simultaneously on the same floor.