CMYA Finalist

Employer: McLaughlin & Harvey

Project: Roslin Primary School, Edinburgh

After spending nearly 20 years with a single contractor, John Campbell upped his game by joining McLaughlin & Harvey for this new-build school.

Having worked for a very long time with a single contractor on a wide variety of projects – education, retail, commercial, health and custodial – John Campbell joined McLaughlin & Harvey for this 180-pupil new-build school. He quickly turned the initially worrying prospect of a first new employer for nearly 20 years into a great career move. Given full autonomy to run his own project, he sought to do things differently, taking a particularly constructive relationship with client, community and supply chain.

Arriving in the very early stages, with drainage and foundation works progressing well, John brought the subcontractors on board much earlier than normal. It gave him the time to scrutinise their proposals and designs early on, so they could start on site with the potential issues already ironed out. His early engagement with suppliers brought the benefits of minimal packaging with deliveries, smart design of prefabricated roof components, modular door sets and partitions, and prefabricated toilets.

John broke the building into three zones, focusing on finishing them one by one so that follow-on contractors could move into each zone in turn. The first zone was a sample classroom that the client was delighted to be able to assess early in the build.

He treated the sustainability requirements for the timber-kit build as more than a set of procurement tickboxes. For example, he didn’t just ensure that 80% of the insulation in the building envelope was responsibly sourced, but paid particular attention to delivering continuity of insulation between walls and roof. Getting this right fed into other areas with sustainability targets such as air permeability. On an air leakage target of 4, he achieved a value below 2.9, while a thermographic survey showed no cold bridging of any significance.

With the site bounded on three sides by residential properties, and on the fourth by the existing school, the logistics were not propitious. Access came via a main road and down a quiet residential street, and there were concerns about heavy construction traffic. John first established a series of time slots throughout the day when delivery vehicles of a certain size were forbidden. He then came up with the solution of a clearly marked escort vehicle that guided lorries to and from site through the residential area one at a time. No delivery could proceed unless the site was ready to receive it, and the control car prevented any unexpected deliveries from entering the site until the scheduled delivery had been completed.