Meet the finalists

REFURBISHMENT & RESTORATION Over £10 M
All Finalists2020 Winners

Dale Harris MCIOB

Morgan Sindall Construction Central

Dale Harris’s challenges of the design status quo on the refurbishment of a listed building saved nearly £1m and delivered a no-defects completion that the client scored 10/10. Tenacious and enthusiastic, he brought the best out of the delivery team to ensure the start-of-term deadline would not be missed. And while innovative techniques were understandably sparse on the project, he showed his mastery of modern construction with the off-site fabrication of a new main entrance from modular components.

About the Project

Pantycelyn Halls, Aberystwyth

External restoration and internal refurbishment of grade II-listed building, completed in 67 weeks.

Client: Aberystwyth University

Contract: JCT 2011, design and build

Value: £16m

This refurbishment of a grade II-listed building on a limited budget imposed extensive value-engineering requirements. Dale Harris’s careful challenges to the design not only protected the finances – his initiatives saved the client nearly £1m – but also delivered a no-defects completion that the client scored a perfect 10/10.

The big moves included changing 178 full-size doorsets at the rear of the ensuite bathrooms for smaller, cheaper access hatches. He also ditched the planned bathroom pods (which would have far exceeded the budget as the existing layout allowed for few standard sizes) in favour of in-situ construction.

His reduction of the acoustic insulation for the internal drylining saved the project over £100,000 while remaining spec-compliant. And by introducing full-height wall cladding he still created the modern feel of a pod student room but at 60% of the original cost, creating a sample room to demonstrate the finish.

With the subfloors differing by up to 50mm over two metres every which way, and installing a structural topping out of the question as the slab couldn’t take the weight, Dale found the solution by laying an extra coat of latex. He supplied the enormous amount of management and control required to drive this through successfully, with the team working weekends for nine months to ensure the start-of-term deadline would not be missed.

While innovative techniques were understandably sparse on the refurbishment of a Grade II-listed 1950s-built structure, Dale showed his mastery of modern construction techniques with the off-site fabrication of the reception and main entrance from modular components. Arriving on site in countless pieces, they were assembled over a structural steel frame and clad in aluminium rainscreen.