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Silver winner

Employer: Osborne

Project: Hackney Town Hall

The reappointment of a project manager through successive phases of a major project represents a massive vote of client approval.

Matthew Coleman’s self-assured, well-organised and highly methodical approach has kept him at the project helm since 2012. On this final stage, his technical innovation was as supreme as on the previous phases. The highlight was his substitution of an ETFE structure for a barrel glass roof, cutting 10 weeks off the programme and capturing substantial budget savings.

The tripling of the value of this contract between tender and final account reflects a project that underwent an immense volume of design change during its final phase. The self-assured, well-organised and highly methodical approach of Matthew Coleman – at the project helm since phase two in 2012 – ensured that the progress and quality of the works matched the growing ambition for this restoration and modernisation of an Art Deco town hall.

Because many technical challenges became apparent only once areas had been opened up and could be physically viewed, design information was regularly revisited and amended to accommodate what had been found. Matthew’s well-established collaborative relationships with the architect and engineers allowed design resolutions to be reached on the spot.

But project rescoping was also a product of the ongoing success of Matthew’s management, which fuelled the repeated realisation of opportunities he identified during the course of the works to maximise use of space. For example, he transformed what would have been empty basements into areas for catering facilities, an electricity substation and print rooms by proposing a reduced-level dig for the two new atriums. As a result of the expansion and rationalisation of the corporate estate, occupancy has risen by 67%, boosting the client’s revenue.

Matthew’s technical innovation was supreme on phase four. Take the ETFE roof constructed over two external courtyards to allow events and ceremonies to be conducted outside. The original design concept was to form the new atrium spaces by installing a barrel glass roof spanning the width of both atriums as well as the roof of the council chamber. Given the vast amount of secondary steel support and increased roof ring beam work required to transfer the loads around the building, it would have proven wildly expensive. Matthew proposed a less intrusive ETFE roof, which has the same thermal performance and visual identity as glass, and would be much quicker to install and easier to maintain.

It saved 10 weeks on the programme. By rationalising the design of the concrete ring beams to allow the roof of each atrium to be independent rather than span both courtyards, Matthew greatly reduced the transfer load to the existing building – and the associated costs. It also gave more roof space for a bigger M&E installation that had previously been dismissed due to lack of room.

The reappointment of a project manager through successive phases of a major project represents a clear vote of approval from the client. Matthew, though, has won an even wider recommendation from the Hackney Town Hall project: he and his site team are now working on a £22m mixed-use regeneration scheme in the neighbouring borough of Islington.