You might think that delivering a complex and individual office and engineering workshop for sophisticated users with exacting needs, and with major client interventions during the build, would leave the construction manager faint with relief at handover. Not so Tony Richards, who rejoices in having never enjoyed a job more in his 30 years in construction.
He started as he meant to go on. With the precontract period proving lengthy, and the project completion date critical for the client’s ongoing business, Tony ran an eight-week enabling works package – dilapidation and geotechnical surveys, site strip and reduced-level dig, cut and fill, and drainage works – concurrently with the finalisation of the cost plan and contracts.
On a project where the client prioritised quality, Tony demonstrated that value engineering is not necessarily a cost-focused discipline. He challenged the architecturally led ‘wood wool’ ceiling material because it would have looked scrappy when cut around the structural steel beams and circular bracing. The client agreed and the replacement looked tidy, had good acoustic values and gave a high-quality finish.
Tony’s early identification of a failure to allow for lateral stability in the steel frame when the precast concrete units were loaded onto it avoided a subsequent major programme and cost hit. He also shared with the architect the fully integrated and federated building model he created to manage the service-heavy building. The shared BIM accordingly paid further dividends with the facade design and all its junction complications created by such diverse materials as polycarbonate, metal profiled roof and wall, rainscreen, curtainwalling and louvres, not to mention 5m-tall roller shutter doors.
And when, with the steel frame up and the roof cladding on programme, he was told to stop all work on the foundations for the on-road vehicle behaviour simulation and testing workshop over concerns about the effect of vibrations from its operation on the rest of the building, his quick thinking kept the project moving. He resequenced the cladding installation, redesigned the workshop foundation wall as a ring beam between the pad foundations for the wall cladding to sit on, and isolated all services from the workshop area. With the workshop halt lasting eight long months until the completion of geotech investigations and a redesign of the foundations to incorporate hefty reinforcement and sheet piling, it allowed the rest of the build to complete on time.