Terry Kirby can put his successful completion of the final two phases of this Surrey Quays regeneration project down to a bit of advice he was given nearly 40 years ago.
An apprentice bricklayer at the time, he was put to work with a well-seasoned brickie, who told him: ‘Every time you lay a brick, try and lay the next one better, and you won’t go wrong, son.’ The sage advice stuck with him throughout his career; now, instead of laying each brick better than the last, he looks to complete each unit better than the previous one, with his holy grail being the delivery of a snag-free unit to the customer service team.
On this project, he managed the quality through a plot flow chart, with key stage sign-offs indicated. To eliminate the risk of having to carry out destructive electrical remedial works at unit delivery close-up, Terry introduced an extra electrical dead test at the pre-tape and joint stage alongside the more usual one on practical completion of the unit. Remedying a problem (such as a screw having hit a cable, or a cable having snagged on the flat plate) identified by the first test made gaining access a matter of just unscrewing a board.
He also introduced cable protection to all areas where the cable could snag on the metal stud or flat plate. This proved so successful it has been introduced as a standard detail by the developer.
When he noted by the third floor of one block that repeat snags were cropping up, he brought all the trade supervisors into the next unit for handover and snagged the unit with them to highlight the repeat snags. Again, this worked so well Terry has adopted it as his standard approach for repeat snags.
With quality very much a site worker issue, Terry managed the mid-contract demise of the M&E contractor with exemplary skill. Reluctant to lose a good M&E site team, he started off trying to keep the contractor afloat and the works progressing by purchasing the radiators upfront. When it became clear that all his efforts could not save the business, he persuaded the replacement contractor to take on the existing staff, retaining the high installation quality as a result and eliminating any new learning curve.