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Employer: Wates Construction

Project: Sammy Ofer Centre, London

On this refurbishment of two listed structures as an academic facility, Dave Nott threaded 21st-century services into a century-old building where no structural plans existed.

He cured the ‘Regent Street disease’ of the steel-framed building, where steel corrosion over the years had destabilised the Portland stone cladding, with an innovative cathodic protection solution. And his evident enthusiasm for a high-quality finish and genuine passion for restoration issues such as the timber panelling heartened the client.

On this refurbishment of two listed structures as an academic facility, Dave Nott had to twist and weave a mass of very different project strands together without tying himself up in knots.

The manifold challenges included the need to thread 21st-century M&E systems and audiovisual and IT equipment into a century-old building where no structural plans existed. The two buildings being refurbished had been constructed very differently, with their potential to move at different rates making the construction of steel beams in the link building particularly problematic. The site borders included a heavily trafficked road and the homes of borough councillors. And he required a huge team of trades – there were 72 subcontractors and 300 site workers on the job at one time or another.

Dave not only managed it all with great success, but also found solutions to the surprises and challenges that always emerge in a project. When the initial quotes for the glazed curtainwall came back well overbudget, he found a subcontractor that not only delivered a 20% saving on the package but quickly demonstrated that it understood the technical requirements of the complex design. In total he delivered over £3m of value engineering by reconsidering cladding, services and finishes as well as the structural items.

And he brilliantly executed the project within a project of treating the ‘Regent Street disease’ of the steel-framed building, where the rusting of the metal over the years had destabilised the Portland stone cladding. With the local conservation authority reluctant for the facade to be removed to expose the steel frame for treatment and repair, Dave turned to cathodic protection of the steel. With no expertise in the team in the process, he himself researched the topic and found the specialists to install it and furnish a 100-year guarantee.