CMYA Finalist

Employer: BAM Construct UK

Project: UK Hydrographic Office, Taunton

Dermot Parkinson brought the substantial heft of nearly three decades of construction experience to this project for a pair of three-storey office blocks linked by an atrium to forge the collaborative relationships and winning mentality that delivered success.

With the central atrium the key to the critical path, Dermot decided to construct its floor slab early and erect the precast beams from outside the building from a larger crawler crane rather than build from inside the atrium. It saved six weeks on the programme and allowed atrium fit-out to progress earlier. And by changing from a sand cement screed to a gypsum-based alternative for the atrium floor, he saved a further four weeks, mitigating delays that had been caused by the weather.

But his greatest success on programme delivery was to reduce the original 12-week timetable for the new highway entrance works to 72 hours over a single weekend. It was a success underpinned by his engaging with all parties and significantly reduced the impact of the works on access for the client’s 900 staff, who continued working from the site during the project.

Back in the atrium, Dermot’s key innovation was to span the curved structure and support 200 roof lights with precast beams. He discounted the original design of a steel lattice clad in plasterboard (the architect did not want to see any structure) as difficult to construct and likely to raise long-term maintenance issues for the client. All 100 precast units were fitted together safely on site to create a fine aesthetic inside and a robust roofing solution externally. With the gutters waterproofed to the beams in the factory, there was no need for hot works 16m up in the air.

Dermot’s value engineering achieved £1m in cost savings without compromising the design intent or quality. The big moneysavers came from using aluminium rather than timber for the brise soleil, perforated plasterboard rather than timber for soffits to bridges, and redesigning the network-controlled lighting.