CMYA Finalist

Employer: Ridge

Project: Coombe Cliff Conservatory refurbishment project

Brought in at a late stage to progress this Victorian conservatory refurbishment, Ruth Wells was forced to question the scope of the design and realign the professional team’s work to deliver the budget as well as the programme.

Whatever the project size, change and challenge are the construction manager’s daily lot. Brought in at a late stage to progress a scheme that had to complete by financial year-end to avoid loss of the grant funding, Ruth Wells was forced to question the scope of the design and realign the professional team’s work to deliver budget as well as the programme.

Not surprisingly, the need to do so tested relationships. Her value engineering including putting the under-floor heating on top of the existing floor, and designing and installing above it a low-maintenance Victorian-style tiled floor to the satisfaction of the conservation officer.

Ruth’s task was made even more difficult by a lack of drawings. Engineering investigations into the structural base of the 1901-built cast-iron conservatory revealed a need for previously unidentified essential repairs. With no other budget available, those repairs had to be incorporated within the works.

Yet the inspection that uncovered the need for those extra works also revealed that the structure was built on a reinforced slab and a substantial number of piles. And that in turn gave Ruth the commercially advantageous opportunity to install the new tiled floor on top of rather than in place of the existing quarry tile floor, avoiding high excavation costs and damage to the structural raft foundation.

Ruth demonstrated the importance of evaluating the project plan, and when necessary changing it, no matter how difficult a process that might be. She diagnosed, devised and delivered the right solutions to address the constraints of this particular project, and by doing so, completed on time and on budget.