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Gold winner

Employer: Kier Construction

Project: The Greenwood Centre, Kentish Town

With his new employer giving him responsibility for his largest team by far in a decade-long career in construction management on a project over triple the value of any other he’d led, Matt Davis commenced with a certain trepidation. Given that the three-storey social care centre build also presented him with his first concrete frame, his first basement construction and his first tower crane, it was a response that was entirely understandable.

The traditional construction management experience of conjuring something substantial from the most unpromising of material ensued. Matt made the project deliverable by taking £1.5m out of the over-budget cost plan. A planned hydrotherapy pool in the basement was scrapped after he highlighted the importance of the building’s revenue-generating capabilities. The resulting reduction in the size of the basement and its position within the building footprint simplified construction, took £1m out of the build costs and removed a major risk to party walls and existing buildings. Extending one of the lifts down into the reduced basement also allowed him to remove one lift from the scheme altogether.

Following longer than expected groundworks, Matt made the big call to reverse the build sequencing. Instead of starting with the substructure for the now much delayed basement and moving on to its superstructure and frame, he began the internal fit-out with the other wing to give more time for basement completion. His move ultimately prevented the programme slipping back five weeks.

And through it all, he waged a constant battle for space on a building footprint that was so tight to the boundary that the bricks were double- and even triple-handled for lack of laydown space. Matt’s daily co-ordination meetings, online delivery booking system, and careful allocation of tower crane and hoist time got the project through, on time as well as on budget.