CMYA Finalist

Employer: Kier Construction

Project: Callywith College Bodmin

On this scheme for a brand-new campus in a brand-new location, Stephen Lee hit the all-important programme despite the remote moorland location throwing up serious resource and bad weather challenges.

Hitting the programme was Stephen Lee’s big challenge on this construction of a brand-new campus in a brand-new location for the client.

Sited on the edge of Bodmin Moor, the project faced the risk of being substantially delayed by bad weather. Stephen made hay while the sun was actually shining, pushing ahead with the envelope works during the summer. While getting the concrete laying gangs to complete floor pours four weeks ahead of the programme was no easy feat, it created enough float to keep the client’s opening date when the high winds of winter delayed the installation of the huge precast concrete panels and roof sheets.

In an area where the scale of the project could badly stretch local resources, Stephen showed flexibility in changing the procurement strategy to cope with a preconstruction downsizing to £18m with the omission of two buildings, followed by an upsizing in week six of construction to £26m.

His value engineering included specifying cost-effective retaining wall types galore on the site, a former campground on the side of a hill. King post retaining walls supported the cut, and timber crib-lock walls (planted up with mature hedgerow) supported the fill. Walls over 1.8m high (and some were over 6m tall) were reinforced concrete poured in situ, while blockwork was used for all walls below that height.

Stephen also put his shoulder to the wheel for the client, helping to market the campus to potential students. With a student interviewing facility onsite required but little budget to fund one, he repurposed an old modular building of the client’s. Concerned its location was too remote, he then moved into the prime position of his own secure site compound and extended his site office facilities to it.

He hosted numerous site visits and events from the interview building, welcoming local schools and sixth form colleges. He co-ordinated events such as turf cutting, topping out and key handover ceremonies with the client’s marketing department, driving up the campus’s media profile. He even helped bring a TV crew to site for a series of interviews with key college staff and himself, which proved hugely successful for the client.