With 35 years in construction, Graham Marshall is under no illusions about the substantial downtime risks of a winter build in an exposed coastal location. On this seven-storey retirement block right on the seafront in a flood risk area battered by 100mph winds coming straight off the Solent, he got his weather and location retaliation in first.
When it emerged that the proposed standard uPVC external doors and windows did not meet BBA exposure rating requirements, Graham had to work under considerable time pressure to find a compliant alternative. Ultimately, he found his supplier of double-glazed composite windows and doors in Norway, and drove the design approval and manufacture to ensure site production was not held up. His completion of the facade with EPDM rubber waterproofing around interfaces, marine-grade metalwork, and acrylic-render cladding made the building itself weathertight for the future as well as for fit-out.
Even more impressive was Graham’s planning initiatives to prevent weather disruption to on-programme construction. He introduced prefabricated mesh matting, precast columns and preformed rebar for the floors to reduce the number of materials lifts required. Floor construction time was halved, and two months taken out of the frame construction period.
Before the scaffolding went up, he loaded out the canti-decks with the external cladding blocks and doors, fully engaging the cranes early on so successfully that the first tower crane was released five months early and the second seven weeks early. Bringing forward crane dismantlement realised big savings, freed up site access and fit-out manoeuvrability, and ensured materials were already at the workface when high winds inevitably enforced long periods of crane downtime.
With no mechanical means other than the cranes to unload and move supplies, Graham insisted on deliveries arriving with unloaders built in. All the drywall panels came in on trucks equipped with mini forklifts – with the site sucking in 25-30 packs of plasterboard a week at peak production, it was yet another valuable initiative.