CMYA 2015 overall winner

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Gold winner

Employer: Lend Lease

Project: National Theatre - NT Future

Value: £48m

Dennis Wilson ably contained the drama put on by this massive refurbishment of a grade II*-listed theatre. He ushered the difficulties and challenges that abounded on the scheme towards the exit door and then safely out of it.

And these were sizable challenges. His root and branch refurbishment involved extensive asbestos removal – 70 tonnes of the stuff – demolition and fit-out in the huge backstage areas, and the installation of new entrances and a complete refit of the front-of-house areas.

It all had to be done while the building and its three theatres remained 100% operational. That’s seven days a week for two years, during which the construction impact on 1,000 staff and an average of 2,000 visitors a day had to be minimised.

Dennis had just a three-hour window daily to undertake noisy works so as not to disturb the evening performances, the two daytime matinees each week and the daytime rehearsals pretty well constantly in progress in six different locations around the building.

What’s more, that was just the regular stuff. He also had to make extraordinary efforts to work around a festival of celebrations to mark the NT’s 50th anniversary and a mid-project visit from the Queen.

Not surprisingly, he had to schedule a great deal of work at night. While doing so, he not only had to juggle the particularly large cast of stakeholders who were responsible for the building’s day-to-day operations, he also had to fit 27 trade contractors around them.

Managing, coordinating and harmonising different sets of people with different goals is never easy, but Dennis stayed calm under the considerable pressure. Never confrontational, he constantly searched for solutions. Able to see the bigger picture, he was also a strong and highly motivational project leader whose success has earned a sustained bravo! from the client.

Dennis Wilson ably contained the drama put on by this massive refurbishment of a grade II*-listed theatre. He stayed calm under the considerable pressure of juggling a large cast of stakeholders responsible for continued day-to-day operations with his 27 trade contractors. Never confrontational, he constantly searched for solutions. Able to see the bigger picture, he was also a strong and highly motivational project leader whose success has earned a sustained bravo! from the client.