This live-fire training centre posed three surprisingly extreme problems for Paul Limb.
First, there was nothing comparable anywhere in the world, so no accurate benchmarks existed to help with design and preconstruction. Second, the level of security was so ferocious that there could be no defects on handover simply because no construction staff would be allowed back on site after that date. And third, the remoteness of the location meant staff had little option but to work away from home during the week, which made recruiting colleagues and subcontractors (the nearest, the steelworker, was 1.5 hours away) and keeping them motivated a big issue.
Paul aced the uniqueness challenge by working tirelessly with the end-user to fully understand the training requirements and develop a design fit for purpose. Bespoke design solutions included movable ballistic walls and floors. Despite no technical calculations existing for the ventilation of the enclosed space of the 360-degree firing range, the post-completion smoke tests recorded above-expectation ventilation performance.
He achieved zero-defect quality through a cocktail of methods. Regular site inspections were carried out using the SnagR tool. He worked closely with the supply chain to promote a right first time approach, with weekly quality reviews recognising good work and providing feedback. He employed two clerks of works, for M&E and the build, who worked closely with the client’s supervisor. And he had independent inspections of the roof and cladding carried out.
For the isolated location, Paul brought strong yet human leadership. He offset the long site hours he persuaded the team to put in from day one by arranging a house share big enough for the team to live together a short distance from site, with a gym, a pub, a large garden and plenty of countryside available for walks and mountain biking. He even persuaded his wife to visit site every fortnight and cook home-made dishes to stock up the freezer with wholesome evening meals.
Paul took the client’s brief and made it work. He took £1m out of the original project costings by optimising the solution from the start. All the buildings were merged under one roof, three firing ranges were reduced to two, and the relocation of the soft skills area into the plant room zone allowed the removal of a storey. It reduced the quantity of foundation, facade, and cut and fill without affecting functionality. His 12 weeks’ early project completion brought the client further delight.