CMYA Finalist

Employer: Bennett

Project: FiftySeven East Kingsland, London

Nothing suggests success so much as repeat business. Despite being four months from completing a commercial-cum-residential project next door to this one, Gerald Ward had already made such an impression that the client offered him this new contract for a 15-storey residential tower with accompanying four-storey block. Not surprisingly, he lined up the best of his team with him for the new project.

With the constrained site bordered by railway lines on two sides and a Eurostar rail tunnel below – not to mention a red route at the front of the development and offices on the fourth side – his previous relationship building paid dividends in negotiating with the train and rail infrastructure operators.

Simpler, though, does not always mean smooth. With rail operator approval for the tower crane base design delayed, Gerald kept the project moving by bringing in a 360-degree teleporter to pour the concrete frame of the four-storey block and sinking a shaft for the tower crane so it could be erected ahead of the full basement dig.

He spent time understanding the client’s needs and budget constraints. Indeed, the project had only been made financially viable because he didn’t assume unrealistic levels of risk, as rival contract bidders had, because of the interface with railways. The savings he advised did not diminish sales values. For example, he reduced the amount of heat recovery (designed to target overheating) after a thorough review gave him better understanding of the overheating issue. He also chose offsite prefabrication of six bespoke rooflights for tower roof, and stripped out the finishes to the main staircore in favour of a trowelled concrete finish, reasoning that residents were much more likely to use the lifts.

To deliver the exceptional quality the client required he built a 6m-high offsite mockup of the curtainwall facade for testing, and another of the steel cladding to ascertain the best shingle interlock pattern. He also constructed a benchmark apartment for the four-storey block that was snagged by the client and helped highlight minor tweaks. And he went on to build a show flat in the tower to best present the finishes/scale of apartments for sale, which was particularly well received by the client’s sales team.