Meet the finalists

SCHOOLS ABOVE £20 M
All Finalists2020 Winners

Fergus Brown MCIOB

Heron Bros

A proactive and solutions-focused leader, Fergus Brown concurrently delivered five separate buildings on five separate sites. His open, collaborative and determined ethos drove the project team’s ability to make gains, while his practical and pragmatic management solved issues promptly and effectively. He repeatedly shrank time, cost and risk. His challenge of the piling approach, shrewd water discharge design and expert groundworks initiatives rewarded a repeat client with repeat success.

About the Project

Early Years Expansion 2020, East Renfrewshire

Construction of five 120-place nursery schools, completed in 76 weeks.

Client: East Renfrewshire Council

Contract: JCT, design and build

Value: £22m

With six successful projects for the client already under his belt, Fergus Brown won the tender for this one – the construction of five nursery schools at different sites – by challenging the piling assumption. Identifying precast concrete driven piles for the Eaglesham scheme, which was being built close to an operational school, as noisy and disruptive, he suggested using quieter vibro compaction instead.

Fergus’s confidence in being able to deliver the five schemes within the timescales resonated with the client. He staggered the start date of each project by two weeks so he could be on site for each of the initial site setups, so the QS team could prioritise the projects, and so the lessons learned on the first could be cascaded through. The result was minimal defects at practical completion.

He repeatedly shrank time, cost and risk. With storm water discharge proving a particular problem for three of the schemes, he found viable routes to nearby water courses in each case. His substitution of a dry stack with a geogrid retaining wall in place of a bulky brick retaining wall at Crookfur and Glenwood not only cut material costs and improved the programme, but also minimised earthworks.

When it emerged that one scheme’s initial roof design did not provide adequate ventilation, he revised the roof buildup. While the redesign took place, he progressed other on-site works.

A proactive and solutions-focused leader with the benefit of an architectural background, Fergus brought a practical and pragmatic approach to the construction issues, managing the many issues promptly and effectively. On a project that involved the concurrent delivery of five separate buildings on five separate sites, the complexity and challenge were high. Fergus’s fine leadership of a 34-strong professional team that included five site managers, five engineers and five foremen – not to mention five head teachers, all requesting changes as the schemes progressed – demonstrated an open, collaborative and determined ethos that again brought success with his seventh project for the client.