Cometh the hour, cometh the man: this outstandingly difficult project drew an outstanding contribution from Stephen Roome.
‘Difficult’ is an understatement. The risk profile was enormous. To make this 1930s building in the heart of the city house 1,400 staff rather than 250, a complex strip-out was required and the roof would need to be supported during the 12 weeks it would take to remove and insert the new glazed facade. Service replacement, total reconfiguration, and the formation of a new 500-tonne steel structure within the old structure were also on the agenda. Oh yes, and there was a river with a high water table 10m away, plus an eventual £1.5m of client variations. And it all had to be completed to exacting quality standards in 68 weeks.
The construction team’s commitment, enthusiasm and will to win were driven by Stephen’s endless energy whatever the challenge, problem or issue. To de-risk the programme, he got the roof and new steel structure in place in a phenomenally fast 12 weeks by instigating 14-hour shifts and bringing in more cranes. He launched an early investigation of the new steel frame connections to the existing structure. And he laser-surveyed the old building to produce a digital model so that the two structures could be coordinated early on. By removing the old roof felt and slate tiles in small sections, he was able to replace each area on the same day, keeping the roof watertight and allowing work to progress constantly on the internal finishes. He replaced ground-erected scaffold birdcages in the atrium with a woven nylon netting that was used as a high-level working platform while allowing full access below for MEWPs to work simultaneously. He installed a temporary road over the existing services to form a one-way offloading area, scheduling every delivery into site without delaying road traffic.
Despite over 6,000 deliveries and 850 skip movements out, there was not a single incident or complaint from the public. A highly visible and effective team leader, Stephen finished this challenging project on time and to budget and to a standard that makes it feel every inch a landmark building.