CMYA Finalist

Employer: Willmott Dixon Construction

Project: Birchin Way Custody Facility, Grimsby

Stepping up as acting project lead after the original construction manager moved on two weeks into this police custody suite project, operational number two Colin Tilley expertly took on the role of construction manager. Holding the fort for 10 weeks until the replacement construction manager arrived on site, he then took over again just eight weeks later, after the relief manager suffered a serious domestic accident. Proving himself so thoroughly up to the top job, Colin was given it, and saw the scheme triumphantly home.

He rapidly put his own mark on the project. With the precast cells requiring a six-week grout curing period that would bring all other finishing works in each cell to a standstill, Colin accelerated the first-fix M&E procurement so that the cabling and pipes were already in place before that shutdown.

He eliminated the handling difficulties of loading sheets of mesh across the first-floor metal deck by making a cost-neutral switch to fibre-reinforced concrete. And his introduction of a spacer and wedge system for the tiling of the cell walls not only ensured there were no legacy ligature issues but also gave a superb finish.

Quality was Colin’s signature contribution on the scheme. Perfection was his benchmark, and his ‘Would you accept that in your house?’ challenge of any below-par work was the inevitable prelude to it being redone to a higher standard.

He got that the project needed to give the client what it (for very good reasons of its own) wanted. That understanding underlies not only his painstaking explanations of the proper finish quality process to the trades but also his ability to make the client’s team feel part of the construction team rather than third parties to be kept ignorant of any issues on site. The client, unsurprisingly, was delighted by the project’s process as well as its outcome.