Employer: Berkeley Homes (East Thames) Limited

Project: Noble and Perkins House, Kidbrooke

Eamon Melia has delivered four blocks at Kidbrooke Village over the past five years and risen through the ranks.

Over the past five years, Eamon Melia has delivered four of the blocks at the Kidbrooke Village development and risen through the ranks as a result, from site manager to assistant project manager. On this project for 21 townhouses, a seven-storey block and a four-storey block, he put all the lessons of the previous builds into practice.

Preconstruction is, Eamon believes, the key to success on a scheme, the place where the job is won or lost. On this project, he optimised the value by incorporating fundamental changes after the grant of outline planning permission. They included increasing the number of private houses from 19 to 21 by introducing a crescent-shaped layout for one block, which optimised the space available. He also added an extra storey to another block, which allowed the delivery of another eight units.

Interrogating the design to achieve best value, he changed the roof from curved metal standing seam to flat brown (creating a habit for a variety of plants, birds, animals and invertebrates), which helped build up sustainability assessment points and reduce the amount of water run-off to the surrounding drainage infrastructure. He also reduced the footprint of the cores by 100mm, allowing for savings on the concrete frame package and facade materials while still meeting London housing design guidelines for usable habitable space.

Even when the project was in full flow, Eamon had his share of difficulties to overcome. Issues with subcontractors meant several processes had to be repeated, including waterproofing the concrete and painting the facades. He kept his cool, engaging independent specialists to assess the problems, and employing a diplomatic approach to keep the project on track.