Employer: Mace

Project: One Bedford Avenue

His open and collaborative procurement effort in a rapidly heating market

Budgetary challenges can break projects, but David Wells emerged the stronger for them on this seven-storey office block new build. His smart procurement initiatives in a rapidly heating market made his reputation early on with the client as a proactive, customer-focused and non-adversarial manager who could be trusted to the hilt.

Dave fostered an open approach with the client’s project managers, cost consultants and design team to collaborate in a transparent and diligent procurement process. He set up workshops with the client’s team, the design team and Mace to ensure all parties could contribute to and review tender scope. Because everyone had an influence on (and could see) what was being priced, the tender packages were robust and thorough, which was reflected in subcontractor pricing. All post-tender meetings with subcontractors were held with the full team present to allow open interrogation of the price.

He then encouraged the appointed subcontractors to identify cheaper alternatives to the specified products. Always a compromise between cost reduction, buildability optimisation and design intent/quality retention, this value engineering allowed Dave to offer the client £750,000 of savings on a project under severe commercial pressure due to budget creep in a suppliers’ market.

Having won the initial costs battle, Dave then took on the technical challenges. Identifying the lack of a single point of responsibility for passing the air leakage test, he found a way forward through a full audit of the cladding drawings. The resulting installation of an additional vapour membrane saw the block pass the Part L test first time round.

When a tolerance clash emerged between the cladding fixings and the holes cast in the steelwork for them, he instigated an on-site fix. He developed a steel plate that could be welded over the original builders work hole and widened to give the additional tolerance required.

Indeed, the litany of Dave’s success stretches right back to even before the construction proper got under way by his derisking of the groundworks. The existing basement walls needed support at all times – including against one of the busiest roads in London – while the basement was excavated 2.5m deeper on a site with hardly any room to store materials, spoil and equipment, and with ultra-constrained logistics. Dave’s solution encompassed four types of temporary works undertaken in an eight-step sequence within 17 predetermined zones. The result was the safe and punctual completion of the basement and slipform cores to allow the steelwork in turn to begin on programme.