Employer: Wates

Project: Erith Park Regeneration

When you can quote the client as saying the construction manager has achieved the impossible, you know you’ve struck project gold. Lawrence Baxter earned the rave review on the first phase of this massive £120m regeneration scheme to demolish five 1960s tower blocks on an undulating brownfield site and replace them with 584 homes all told.

The ‘impossibility’ arose from the government funding conditions imposed. Half of the first phase’s 342 homes had to be delivered by the financial year end, some 16 months before the end of the contract. Lawrence was the only construction manager out of all those who tendered who would commit to this deadline. He convinced the client he could pull it off, and then delivered.

And how! The client didn’t just get 169 units midway through the contract, but more than 230. In fact, the entire contract was delivered a massive 40 weeks early.

Lawrence’s success stemmed from his clear focus on the critical path and appointment of a programming expert. At the same time as he was executing a cut and fill of 30,000sqm of hazardous soil, he was recycling the vast quantities of waste concrete from the tower blocks’ demolition and constructing the new homes.

His early and highly detailed programme development allowed for flexibility in the construction phase. And when those ‘impossible’ verdicts started ringing uncomfortably loud in his ears as that all-important first-tranche handover deadline came near, he changed the roof from a traditional to a modular prefabricated build. It was the decision that delivered the contract successfully. That success is clear from the client’s confirmation of Wates’ appointment to phase 2 – as long as Lawrence remains on the project.