CMYA Finalist

Employer: Morgan Sindall

Project: King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester

Value: £4.56m

For most construction managers, the archaeological dig is a pre-start sideshow with a rich potential to strew further difficulty and delay across a project’s path. For Richard Bishop, it initiated this project to turn a vacant Victorian school building into an exhibition centre to showcase the most astonishing archaeological discovery in the UK since the Anglo-Saxon splendour of Sutton Hoo – the lost grave of Richard III – and remained its constant focal point.

Richard dealt with the public side of this hugely high-profile project extremely well. Despite the site closures required by the many press visits, his professionalism and diplomacy kept Channel 4, the site archaeologists, local media and VIPs on short-notice site visits all onside just as much as the client, the architect and the users of the still operational car park where the king’s skeleton was discovered.

And while juggling construction progress and difficult logistics (nothing bigger than a skip lorry could get within 400m of the building) with camera crews, he also put in more than the site management fundamentals. He increased value by realising that all the ornate banisters to the stairs of the existing building could be retained, by using a robust copper-zinc alloy rather than pure copper for the stunning roof, and by redesigning the new-build extension’s stone wall as traditional construction rather than a hung system.

He coordinated and tightly managed a raft of subcontractors brought in, among other things, to make the glazing-supported copper grave roof look like a floating lid. Some were so specialist they’d never worked on a construction site before. Reliable, efficient, conscientious and personable, Richard furnished the management approach, leadership and communication that delivered a first-class outcome.

Richard Bishop juggled construction progress and difficult logistics with short-notice visits from camera crews and VIPs to turn a vacant Victorian school building into an exhibition centre for the grave of Richard III. He was astute in adding value and tightly managing a raft of subcontractors so specialist they’d never worked on a construction site before. Reliable, efficient, diplomatic and personable, he furnished the management approach, leadership and communication that delivered a first-class outcome.