Employer: Willmott Dixon

Project: The Fusion Building, Poole

On his first job for Willmott Dixon, and the contractor’s second job for the client, Mark Pitman brought the sound management that made a success of this four-storey campus hub with teaching and social spaces.

Traffic and logistics were key considerations. The site was at the centre of a live campus with 10,000 users, and bordered by two roads, a walkway and an existing building. The building fully occupied the site footprint. Mark broke the access and storage stranglehold on the project by incorporating a construction-phase lay-by into the works, and minimising the impact of deliveries on the client.

By improving the proposed logistics and sequencing, and starting works early, Mark reduced the construction timetable by eight weeks early in the project. This considerable time buffer came to the rescue deep in the construction phase when the steelwork contractor went into administration. With the steel designed, in fabrication and partly erected, Mark bought what he could from the administrator and then had enough time margin to procure an alternative contractor without trashing the programme.

It’s all about being prepared, and Mark’s mock-up maximisation emphatically proved its worth. The facade mock-up revealed issues with fixing the secondary cladding to the curtain walling envelope, as well as with the cladding panels’ flexibility. This early identification of problems allowed them to be resolved cheaply upstream rather than expensively downstream. The cladding material was switched to a composite sheet, and folds added to the panels to confer greater rigidity.

Mark’s value engineering was equally succinct. He amended the internal acoustic products to give greater sound absorption. And he respecified the rain water elements as aluminium rather than cast iron.

He made the valuable suggestion to the client of incorporating its audio-visual and data fit-out within the main contract works rather than after. It eliminated the finish and cost hit of removing large areas of raised access flooring and floor coverings. It also allowed the building to open far earlier than originally planned.