Dwayne Rice is the guy on site who doesn’t say much but does plenty. His talent for finding a new path to project equilibrium when seemingly insuperable obstacles emerged was his uniquely crucial contribution to this scheme to build the secondary school element in a large all-through special needs school.
Right from the start, challenges arose outside of his control when the design development period was slashed from 12 weeks to 2. With a significant six-week site strip leaving just enough time for a condensed design development period, he focused the design team on the big-ticket item – the 12-14 weeks lead time for the steel frame. Successfully getting the steel into manufacture within four weeks of project award is impressive work, but with the steelwork still 12 weeks from delivery to the site he also resequenced works to allow the ground-floor slab to be poured before the steelwork went up.
Then, with the build making good progress and the M&E start date approaching, it became apparent that the assumed occupancy levels of four people per classroom were wildly off. The classrooms, it emerged, needed to hold four pupils plus a teaching assistant apiece, doubling the occupancy level and scuppering the M&E design. More ductwork, bigger air handling units, greater electricity demand – one thing led to the potentially programme-exploding next.
Avoiding the blame game, Dwayne broke the building down into bite-size chunks for the M&E designers, outsourcing the BIM element so they could fully concentrate on the system re-engineering. The success of his strategy effectively absorbed a £116K variation within the original programme time.
Other notable aspects of his handover of the project two weeks early with zero defects included well-considered insight into the user group. With most of the pupils on the autism spectrum and potentially easily distracted by construction noise, he kept disruption to an absolute minimum by installing a 4m-high acoustic fence to isolate the site from the existing school building, reducing noise pollution and acting as a visibility shield.