CMYA Finalist

Employer: McAleer & Rushe

Project: Isambard Court (Block E) & Durham Wharf Drive (Block F), Brentford

Despite extensive value engineering to make this second phase of the scheme financially viable for the client and to secure the contract, Ryan McShane chased value rather than savings in building this pair of seven-storey residential blocks.

He even took on higher costs for the sake of programme gain in deploying a pair of sheet piling rigs and rotary bored piles to advance the basement construction. Fearing the failure of the architect’s full-fill cavity insulation, he also swallowed the cost increase of traditional insulation board and a drained cavity to eradicate the risk of moisture getting in.

Yet it was his removal of £2.5m from the overbudget bid submission that most impresses. He swapped the bespoke precast balconies for fair-faced poured insitu units, and changed the roof from structural steel with standing seams to poured concrete with raised seamlike lines. He also reduced the basement dig on the brownfield site by reorganising the layout and the ground-floor podium transfer structure.

When the selling-point spacious two-sided corner balconies constructed by another contractor during the first phase showed signs of excessive deflection, he found a robust solution that maintained the intended design. He beefed up the connectors and the steel structure, increased the number of fixing points, and incorporated bespoke connection plates.

The quality is impeccable, and the scheme has collected a long list of quality awards. Ryan advanced the completion of one apartment as a benchmark, implemented a robust inspection and snagging process, deployed desnagging software, and locked down completed units well in advance of the sectional handovers.

Not surprisingly, McAleer & Rushe has won substantial repeat business on the basis of this performance, allied with the collaborative environment and good working relationships Ryan fostered. The client is now negotiating with the contractor the final £105m phase of this development, which will involve the construction of 350 residential units in four blocks.