Employer: Morgan Sindall

Project: All Saints Green, Norwich

It had to happen on a Friday the 13th, didn’t it? A single-decker bus veered off the road, smashed through the site hoarding and embedded itself firmly in the scaffolding around Matt Bidewell’s nine-storey student accommodation project.

Work came to an immediate stop. The resulting four-week delay on a build until then bang on programme for an immovable deadline just seven months away could have written completion off as comprehensively as the bus. But by innovatively rescheduling works, implementing a new glazing installation method and accelerating the works with the help of the supply chain, Matt absorbed the delay and delivered on time.

That recovery ability comes as no surprise when you consider Matt’s track record by mid-project. He finessed the logistics early on by insisting on a mobile crane rather than a tower. It gave the project a shorter lead-in, derisked the lifting, dispensed with oversail licences, and brought hoist flexibility across the building footprint.

His innovative solution of a Van Thiel scaffolding system meant the huge 300kg glazing units could be installed from hoists inside the scaffold while the hand-laying of the 200,000 bricks in the facade continued at the same time. From a previous student accommodation job, Matt took the idea of offsite-manufactured bathroom pods to save programme time and maximise construction quality.

He had helped get the project off the ground in the first place after a previous contractor had been unable to find a buildable price. By value engineering the out-of-sight areas he saved the £750,000 that was enough to get going. The ventilation was redesigned, the frame changed to lightweight steel, and new door access controls devised.

Matt delivered on time, safely and on budget to a customer so delighted with the results it is looking to bring Morgan Sindall into another project in the city.