Late land purchase delayed Paul Marlow’s already tightly timetabled scheme for a 14-storey complex of 759 student flats by a seemingly disastrous two months. Rather than glumly inform the client – who needed the original completion date to fall in with the start of the academic year – and put in for an extension of time, Paul looked for solutions.
His switch from a post-tensioned concrete frame to reinforced in situ addressed the programme challenge. But the critical move was his adoption of 7,000sqm of Gebrik lightweight brick cladding for the facade. It eliminated the extensive tower-crane hook time required by a precast solution as it could be installed from scaffold, mast climbers and cradles. And just to put the cherry on the cake, Paul smoothly incorporated 30 large copper pop-outs in the facade through a series of taxing design co-ordination workshops.
Just as noteworthy was his close and effective management of the extensive third-party liaison required with the railway operators and the utilities. Live rail lines ran less than six metres from the site, and the operator required 24/7 access for its maintenance teams. Meanwhile, with no more power capacity available locally for the project, electricity had to come in from a mile away.
Paul not only hit the completion deadline, but delivered a building with the wow factor. The aesthetics and the quality of finish were both exceptional. As a result of his successful efforts on this job, the first-time client has awarded three further large-scale contracts to McAleer & Rushe.