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Andrew Miles MCIOB

Kier Construction

With late government decision-making throwing a hefty spanner into this replacement school’s programme, Andrew Miles found robust ways to pull back time and budget. He moved works off the critical path to get the superstructure up and the fit-out in progress. He quickly assimilated complex problems, and leveraged relationships to deliver success, delivering high standards and an early handover that delighted the client. He made the finances work through determined value engineering and a skilful earthworks strategy.

About the Project

Croesyceiliog School, Cwmbran, Wales

Client: Torfaen County Borough Council

Contract: NEC 3 option A

Value: £29m

The Welsh Government’s long delay in deciding whether this replacement school should cater for A-level students threw the heftiest of spanners into Andrew Miles’s project. Deep into the preconstruction period, with the decision finally made that the school would be GCSE-only, Andrew was able to review the design and find ways to pull back 10 lost weeks of programme.

He realigned the enabling works with the main works, moved works off the critical path to allow the cut and fill to plateau and piling mats to be formed early, and drove the piling completion. Not content with recovering those 10 weeks, he completed not merely a further two weeks earlier to meet the client’s aspiration for a half-term handover, but six weeks prior to that to offer the softest of landings to help get the new school up and running.

A further complication arose early in the construction phase with the decision to keep an existing school block on the site for A-level students until completion of a post-16 college in the town. Andrew needed to make the financials work for the resulting redesign of the new car park, access, fencing and services. A reduction in the number of laboratories and the omission of bleacher seating were inevitable cost-cutting moves, but Andrew’s skilful earthworks strategy was the budget key.

He went for a shallower foundation solution to reduce the excavation work and concrete volumes. He rationalised the drainage design. He eliminated the removal of 13,000 cubic metres of waste from the site by raising the level of the football pitch, by soil-stabilising the ground so it could be used in the substructure and piling mats, and by introducing a swale to downsize the attenuation crate volumes.

The cost savings exceeded £400,000 – enough to protect the budget and deliver the project. Combined with his early handover and quality standards exceeding requirements, Andrew’s input delivered a highly satisfactory outcome for the client.