Successful delivery of this 150,000sqft mixed-use cut-and-carve retrofit of an office building required all of Mike Perera’s strength, conviction and drive.
Successful delivery of this 150,000sqft mixed-use cut-and-carve retrofit of an office building required an enormous amount of strength, conviction and drive from Mike Perera. The constraints were mind-boggling: the site was opposite the country’s second-busiest railway station, sandwiched between two listed buildings, and surrounded by six conservation areas. There was an operational pub at ground level, working hours restrictions on account of a theatre next door, and construction took place within an existing building whose footprint filled the whole site.
Mike arrived on site with construction already under way, scaffolding erected, and the old facade and lightwell removed. Realising that the scaffolding methodology would prevent the project from hitting the crane removal date necessary for the on-programme completion of the internal works, he changed the planning logic and reprogrammed the works.
He confronted his team over working practices, bringing an end to some managers agreeing works without a detailed plan and with minimal regard for cost. Yet he was far from being a micromanager. While he would challenge methodology to ensure the best solution, he never imposed his own thoughts on his managers, knowing that stifling their ability to manage would be detrimental to the development of the individuals and the team as a whole.
The first to identify issues on site, Mike’s natural response was always to try and resolve them rather than stand on contractual niceties. That in turn fostered a collaborative approach from the professional team and subcontractors, allowing everyone to focus on delivery rather than process, and satisfy a demanding client on a demanding site.