Meet the finalists

Higher Education
All Finalists2019 Winners

David Clarke MCIOB

Wates Construction

Totally committed to this complex and prestigious project, David Clarke motivated those around him with the same passion. Budget uncertainty, building use changes and design redrafts inspired him to collaborate rather than flee for the protection of the small print. On a project where no two rooms are the same, and no single room went unchanged in some form following the contract award, he drove value, momentum and relationships

About the Project

Quarry Hill Campus, Leeds

Client: Leeds City College

Contract: NEC option A

Value: £41m

Change is the construction manager’s constant companion. Faced with budget uncertainty, building use alterations and design redrafts, there is a temptation for the project leader to take refuge in the contract’s small print. But on this scheme for a 15,000sqm further education college, David Clarke put his faith in collaboration to drive value, momentum and relationships.

The modest budget was unequal to the original design aspirations, so David took millions out of the tender price by thorough value engineering. He removed two floors by relocating accommodation spaces to lower levels. He reduced floor to ceiling heights (and so shrank the facade expanse) by redesigning M&E distribution and slab construction. And he moved from unitised to stick curtainwalling, with cladding panels on rear elevations.

Once the build began, change came thick and fast. Room layouts, floors and ceilings, entire structures underwent substantial alteration, with revised occupancies forcing heating and cooling strategy revisions. Photography studios were added, as was a late 200-seat theatre fit-out. On a project where no two rooms were the same, no room went unchanged in some form or other following the contract award.

David promoted close communication with the client, design and construction teams at every level so they fully understood the implications of the change management process without losing confidence or focus. This formidable skill fostered a rare spirit of teamwork. Forward-thinking and solution-focused, he proactively managed the continually evolving build with a can-do determination that allowed the project to complete on time and within budget.

He overcame the mid-contract insolvency of the facade contractor through careful programme control. And his innovative deployment of BIM-integrated snagging software on tablets drove quality. It allowed live on-site coordination via a virtual display as the professional team and subcontractors moved through the building.