CMYA Finalist

Employer: Dawnus Construction Holdings Ltd

Project: Lon Las Welsh Primary School

Hadley Hands is Swansea Council’s go-to man for delivering high-quality 21st-century school projects.

When it comes to 21st-century schools, Hadley Hands is Swansea Council’s go-to man. After successfully project-managing six back-to-back primary schools, he was given the job of overseeing all Dawnus’s 21st-century school projects in central and south Wales, and was finishing Burlais Primary School for the client just as he embarked on the precontract stage for Lôn Las. It’s very much a case of lessons being learned, a good understanding of the client’s aspirations and expectations, and excellent relationships.

Hadley’s experience at the 17-classroom (11 of them in the main building) Lôn Las makes it clear why the client repeatedly returns for more of the same. He added value to the project through optimisation, designing out waste, and designing in quality and sustainability. He held early workshops to interrogate decisions made to date and to investigate opportunities to value-engineer the design of the foundations, substructure, frame, and M&E, and the finishes.

The multiple cost savings he identified took well over £1m out of the costs. For example, he raised the height of the reinforced concrete detailing by a metre to allow 5,000 cubic metres of contaminated material present on the site to be retained rather than taking it all off site, and rationalised the cut and fill. He changed the design strategy of the steel-frame building from traditional purlins and diagonal bracing to a diaphragm steel deck. He reduced the perimeter of the covered play area to remove the need for an external sprinkler system. He replaced underfloor heating and screed with traditional radiators and a power-floated slab.

And he quickly moved to help the client manage the process of organising a temporary school while Lôn Las was under construction. His efficient management of the design and planning application for the temporary school ensured the move went ahead on schedule. By altering its design to create a simple courtyard arrangement with six linked units on a podium slab, he also significantly reduced cost and time by capturing service location efficiencies. This in turn greatly reduced site levelling and earthworks requirements and saved well over £150,000.

Hadley also ensured minimal disruption to the residential properties near Lôn Las by keeping the site tidy, distributing up-to-date newsletters, programming deliveries at off-peak times, and managing all offloading within the confines of the working site. Pedestrian access was segregated from vehicle routes, with pedestrian barriers and suitable signage. Just two complaints were received. One was about the vibration from the groundworks, which he solved by replacing the rigs. The other was about the workforce dropping litter, which he countered with a whole-team address and a litter pick.