Employer: Willmott Dixon

Project: Royton Leisure Centre, Oldham

It’s not hard to see why Mike Walmsley’s client was thrilled by his outstanding management on this leisure centre project with pool, gym and dance studio. Defect-free delivery two weeks early with quality build and finish helped greatly in defusing the opposition generated by the closure of two other pools in the town.

Mike was proactive, flexible and user-focused. He refused to be daunted by never having installed a Myrtha pool (stainless steel frame and panels, with internal PVC lamination). He made it his business to get to thoroughly understand what would be required, visiting a site in Glasgow where one was being installed.

Mark got the supplier to re-design the panels for the sloping section of the pool. That way, he introduced flexibility as to how the sections of floor for the pool could be poured and so reduce any potential damage. Similarly he found a lightweight aggregate to backfill behind the panels of the Myrtha pool rather than pea gravel, again reducing the risk of panel damage as well as cost and time.

He moved a 1,500-litre water tank from the roof to the ground floor to reduce the size of the foundations and steelwork required. He replaced the blockwork for the lift shaft with precast, allowing the lift install to start early. And he rejected in situ concrete for the leisure centre’s retaining walls in favour of hollow concrete blocks fitted over starter bars and then filled with concrete. It eliminated time and budget-consuming shuttering and temporary works.

And it wasn’t just time and cost that were constantly bettered by his initiatives, quality also gained. Mike ran detailed design workshops to identify interface and buildability issues. He gave each of his managers a tablet for snagging and got them to use it daily to raise and address snags instantly. Zero defects on an early-completed and within-budget project is a great achievement.